by Randy Lankford

The middle of a cucumber field, under a scorching Texas sun, isn’t where most parents would choose to teach their children about values like integrity and compassion. But Zina Guerra’s mother and father didn’t have much choice. At five years old, Zina was already harvesting cucumbers alongside her migrant worker parents. It was either learn life’s lessons in the field or not at all. And not learning them at all wasn’t an option to Zina’s parents. Like all parents, they wanted their children, all eight of them, to have more opportunities than they did.

And when love, integrity and compassion are virtually all you have, that’s what you pass along.

“To me, summer vacation was an afternoon of swimming in the Sabinal or Frio River. Then, the next day, you went back to the field and picked another 200 sacks of cucumbers,” recalls Guerra. “I understood responsibility early on.”

Read more in the September 2013 issue of S.A. Scene.