Posted: Nov 15, 2012 10:03 PM
Updated: Nov 15, 2012 10:32 PM
HIDALGO COUNTY - A boy in Hidalgo County is holding on to the dream of helping his family move into a better house.
Miguel Serna, 11, and his family live with the bare minimum. Their home is a small, blue trailer with makeshift additions. Miguel said it is just temporary housing. He is not letting barriers keep him from fighting for his dream.
Miguel lives near La Joya. He sees the positive around the family's meager dwelling.
"Space," Miguel said of the large lot where the trailer sits.
He likes to get his hands dirty helping improve the family's home.
"I had to make that hole all the way to there," Miguel said pointing to an area under the trailer.
His vision goes beyond what some would call realistic.
He describes how he helps fix the makeshift dwelling.
"Take away the stuff ... put new wood ... and build a ranch in the back," he said.
He optimistically sees what his home can become.
Elias Vasquez, Miguel's stepfather, said he wishes he could give his family more.
"It's not right ... because the trailer and all this stuff is a little tight," he said.
The small blue trailer is the epicenter of the family's existence. Miguel helps his stepfather use plywood, plastic tarps and other scraps to make additional areas for the family to use.
The structure is fragile. Reinforcement work is constantly required.
Life in the elements is uncertain. The family knows nature is not always kind.
Dora Vasquez said not all of her children have Miguel's positive outlook.
"Sometimes kids will say, ‘Mom, it's very small and when it's cold we are all in the little trailer,'" she said.
Miguel gave a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew a quick tour of the trailer. The dwelling is littered with life's necessities. It has a small area for cooking and two beds.
It didn't take long for Miguel to show his prized possessions - wrestling magazines and toys. Miguel was once again a child.
Miguel's 5-year-old sister Jenny shares her bed with her stuffed animals and her older sister Dora.
She doesn't mind sharing her bed, but wishes she had a larger place.
Behind the trailer the family keeps many items. Miguel said those items will one day be part of their new home.
Miguel and Jenny spend a lot of time playing at a pool table.
Their sister Dora is quiet. She spends a lot of time doing homework on the bed she shares with Jenny. She wishes for her own room. She said their previous home was more comfortable.
"It was big," Dora said.
Elias Vasquez and his wife decided to leave the modest home they were renting and invest in the future.
"I spoke to my wife and told her let's get (some) land ... Do something for the kids ... That's why we are trying to do all this," he said.
They bought a piece of land for $325. They moved to the lot with what they owned. Their plan is to one day build a home.
Elias Vasquez said it hasn't been easy.
"But we need to do what we need to do .... We need to keep on going," he said.
Elias Vasquez said he works, but he doesn't earn much. He takes odd jobs whenever possible.
"Sometimes, from the jobs I get $40, $30, sometimes $80," he said.
He wants a steady job, but his limited education keeps him from getting better jobs. He grew up poor and quit school in the ninth grade when his parents put him to work.
He said education is the way out.
The couple stresses the importance of education to their children.
Miguel already knows the path he wants to follow. He wants to be a builder.