Working far away

Blog

IRVINGVILLEGAS

Impressum

Senegalese worker pulling the nets where the olives are collected. Luckily, he is one of the few that have had a contract to work every year for the harvesting for the past 8 years. He has 3 daughters in his home country to whom he must send money. Spain, Jaen 2014

 The project concept began with this photo in Weiterstadt, Germany 2007.

These people working under intense heat which provokes that they do their activities without some of their clothes, one of them even in underwear.

The bus of the farm , where workers are driven from the hotel to the fields. In their last day in Germany the workers pack their bags, after 56 days they go back home and they can see their families again.56 days is the maximum time they are allowed to work on this farm in Germany, after the first group moves back, the second comes and finishes the season work.  Ovelgönne, Germany, 2013

These are workers who go where the work calls them. Some of them go only for one season and return to their country, others travel from city to city or country to country looking for more work, almost all of them do this for a better economic stability for their family.

 

My intention with the project "Working far away" is to document the circumstances of seasonal workers in different countries and not only their arduous work but also how they live during the working season. I want to show the things they must go through to obtain this type of job and to understand the necessity this people have to leave their country in order to obtain a better life for them and the family waiting for them at home. I intend to continue working on this issue in the months and years to come.

Chapter I. Asparagus Season, Germany 2013.

Every year approximately 270 000 workers come to Germany to reap the harvest, they are all foreigners, most of them from Poland and Romania - without these people, it would be impossible to reap because most of unemployed German people who are looking for a job are not willing to do it.

 

Foreign workers are allowed to work in Germany for about 56 days. They work every day, 10 hours a day starting at 5 o'clock in the morning. This year (2013), they get 27-57 cents for each kilo harvested and that depends on the size of the asparagus. They toil in sun, rain and cold.

 

This is a look into the lives of a group of harvesters in one of the many farms in Germany that bring foreigners for their annual reap. It shows us not only how they work in different situations and under the toughest conditions but also their leisure time, their life together and the lifestyle these people have during their work in Germany.

 

Germany April - June 2013

One of them said: We come to work, we want to make money and that‘s why we do not care about the weather or free days. Last season I earned 4,000 Euros and that‘s why I‘m here again this year.

Chapter II.

At Home, Romania 2014.

The Family of these seasonal workers has to wait for them in their respective countries, few families travel together searching for these type of job. In most cases somebody remains taking care of the house, children and even, if they have a farm, of the animals.

 

This photo series is focused on the family members of the workers who remain in their countries; on some workers who have stayed in home this season and some details of their life when they are not working in some other place.

Anutsa and her son. She has to look after the crops and the animals of her home while her husband, Vasilo, works during the asparagus season in Germany. Viseu de Sus, Maramures -Transilvania, Romania.2014

Different cities, towns, ways of life and histories but all of them have something in common; they work in another country where they receive a better wage then return home with their families after the season is over. Many of them have this work and survive with this only income all year until the next season starts. Some others have a job back home but very badly paid so this tend to be the reason why these people have to leave home looking for better payment for a better life for them and their families.

 

June- July Romania 2014.

When Rodica is working in Germany, her daughters Alina and Roxi have to do the housework. Marian, their father, works as a mechanic and truck driver.    Salciva, Hunedoara, Romania.

Chapter III.

Migrant seasonal workers in the Spanisch financial crisis 2014.

Years ago, immigrants worked in the olive harvesting because most of Spanish people did not want to make this arduous work. Now, since the crisis in Spain, people have begun to lose their jobs and the only option they have left is to work in the fields, leaving no vacant for the immigrants. Jaén, Andalusian city in Spain, is one of the stops for these seasonal immigrants who cross the country working in the different agricultural seasons.

 

This is the destiny of many immigrants when they arrive to Europe. After a long and dangerous journey to arrive to Spain they must find a way to make a living here and send money to their family in their home country.

 

November - December 2014. Jaen Spain.

„I‘m aware that we‘ve taken jobs form the hands of many of these immigrants“ says Angel, a Spanish citizen who used to have a very good position in a construction company and was forced to work in the in the olive harvesting after the crisis.

Ibraham from Western Sahara says; „where were the Spaniards 10 years ago when we, the immigrants, alone made the harvesting of the olives”

This young Senegalese has been working as seasonal worker for 8 years in Spain; he doesn‘t want to sleep in the shelter so he sleeps in an improvised tent in the darkness of a park. Often people don‘t want to sleep in the shelter as documentation is requested and some of them do not have it. He hasn‘t found a job in this city this year so tomorrow he will continue looking for a job in another town.

Chapter IV.

La Rapa,

Galicia 2015.

The Polish shearers working in Galicia have to cross more than 20.000 kilometers during the three months of the shearing season (April to June) ; in their vehicle they travel from town to town towards the farms of those who ask for their services.

 

It takes one minute per sheep to shear, when the skin is dirty or has some disease it takes a little more than two minutes earning 3 Euros each. In a good day working with a big flock, they shear up to 500; with smaller flocks around 200 per day. Altogether, there are 30,000 sheep to be sheared in Galicia.

 

 

 „It hurts to have our family far away those 3 months, but now with the internet and cell phones it became easier to be in contact. 20 years ago, we could only make one phone call every two weeks from a public phone. The sheared season in Galicia is one of our main sources of income to live in Poland. In our country we can only get occasional - type of work, there is no permanent or well paid job back in Poland.“ Said one of the workers.

 

This is a 3-member team, two of them shear and the third catches the sheep and take them to the shearing spot. This is a family business, the team leader learned it from his uncle 25 years ago when he was the one catching the sheep. “The three of us are a family, we work, eat and enjoy together as a family would, and we share the place we live in.“

 

Competition is increasing; more and more people from Poland want to participate in the shearing, but the team has their routs and their clients know and receive them. The team consider of great importance to do an excellent job so they can come back the next season, even more, they need to keep in contact with their clients.

 

April Galicia, Spain 2015.

  “I’ve been coming to work for the shearing season for 25 years. Spaniards are not willing to perform this job, it is exhausting, and that‘s why I have a sure thing here.“- said the team leader.

„It hurts to have our family far away those 3 months, but now with the internet and cell phones it became easier to be in contact. 20 years ago, we could only make one phone call every two weeks from a public phone. The sheared season in Galicia is one of our main sources of income to live in Poland. In our country we can only get occasional - type of work, there is no permanent or well paid job back in Poland.“ Said one of the workers.

Contribute

Your donations will make my project possible, a project that speaks about hope, courage, hard work, survival and love for their family.

I have been trying to continue with this project but my resources are limited. I need money for bed and boarding, trave expenses and translation. That’s the reason I’m asking for your support. Your donations will make my project possible, a project that speaks about hope, courage, hard work, survival and love for their family.

 

With your collaboration, I want to develop two last chapters in Europe. (July and August)

 

The first one in Finland where I’m going to follow the travel of people from Thailand that come every year to work for a season. The second one in France where I will document unemploid Spaniards, young and old, that go to that country to work in the fruit picking sisons due to the recent crisis in Spain.

 

This is a project that allows us to know and to come closer to the life of these hard-workers that need to travel to strange countries in order to have better economic stability for their families.

€10

€21

€50

€100

€200

own contribution

amount

REWARDS

 

 

€10

To thank you for your support I will send you:

 

-Good karma

-Exclusive email updates with on-the-road pictures.

 

 

€21

To thank you for your support I will send you:

 

-a signed (10 x 15 cm) Postcard from the project "Working far away"

 

-Good karma

-Exclusive email updates with on-the-road pictures.

 

 

€50

To thank you for your support I will send you:

 

-a signed (15 x 21 cm) Printed Photo from the project “Working far away”

 

-a signed (10 x 15 cm) Postcard from the project "Working far away"

 

-Good karma

-Exclusive email updates with on-the-road pictures.

 

 

 

€100

To thank you for your support I will send you:

 

- A signed (21 x 29.7 cm) Printed Photo from the project “Working far away” on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Paper.

 (options noted in details or others if discussed)

 

- a signed 10 x 15 cm Postcard from the project "Working far away"

- Good Karma

-Exclusive email updates with on-the-road pictures.

 

 

€200

To thank you for your support I will send you:

 

- Two signed (21 x 29.7 cm) Printed Photo from the project “Working far away” on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Paper. (options noted in details or others if discussed)

 

- a signed 10 x 15 cm Postcard from the project "Working far away"

 

- Good Karma

-Exclusive email updates with on-the-road pictures.

a big personal thanks by mail.

Publications

How this Project started?

 

 

*read the article on The New York Times USA

 

*read the article on Huffington Post Italy

 

*read the article on The Guardian UK

 

*Interview über das Projekt in Das Lamm Schweiz

 

*La opinión de Ulises Castellanos y el periódico Mexicano " EL UNIVERSAL" con respecto de mi Projecto "Working far away".