STRAWBERRY DAYS

Strawberry days are long. They usually start between five and six in the morning and apart from a two hour lunch break they last the whole day. Like nearly 300.000 other migrant workers, Mariya, Aisha and their colleagues have come from Bulgaria to pick strawberries in Germany for the summer to supplement their meager income. They get paid 8 Euros per hour – but only for the hours they actually work. When heavy rain prevents them from working on the field they get nothing. To get the job, they have already paid 230 Euros to a labour agency back home and the same amount again for transport to the farm in the south of Germany. The farmer deducts a further 3 Euros per night for a bed in a container that is usually shared with three other women. This means a loss of nearly 500 Euros for the first week with an average income of less than 300 Euros per week… the women can only hope for good weather and a good crop to keep their job for enough weeks to make the trip worthwhile.

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