Paradise in one village

(collage text to accompany photographs)

1.

Is it really possible to refuse a good, hard-working person the right to work, above all if they desperately want to be paid less? In all probability, this person loves to work, they worship hard labour, and into the bargain, they're far enough away from home and family to be able to work no less than 16 hours a day without taking any time off. Then their heart will leap with joy, their soul will sing with happiness!

A torrent of happy people, flooding in from faraway building sites, factories and farms is rushing back to this wonderful place. They return home, tired and happy, from all different corners of our continent, where, like bees gathering honey, they have been gathering something else for many long months. A lot of them managed to save something seriously worthwhile. Something to clasp carefully to their bosom, or to slip thoughtfully in advance to loved ones via others heading home. A few didn't manage to save a penny. But let's not talk about them!

Forged documents are child's play for the lucky ones. These respectable fathers of numerous children, these faithful wives, guardians of the home fires – they cross borders easily, as if they never existed. Invisible to the long arm of the law, they cross from one country to another, open to any offer of work. As far as they’re concerned, legal restrictions are a nonsense.

Who in their right mind would turn down these people's services? It's not as if they're orphans, who need to make their workplace their home. Let's not forget too, these wonderful people probably don't know what it's like to be exhausted. They’re made of different stuff. Don’t feed them bread, just give them real cheap gear, they’ll do anything you like – on time, and top quality!

 

2.

How important it is - for all of us - that these workers should always be busy. After all, these astonishing people's children grow up quite independently. Calmly and without problems, they reach working age without the government or their parents being the least burdensome to them. At 16, lots of them are already setting out on their first work trips.

Young and empty-headed they may be, but even at this tender age, these surprising people are ready to demonstrate to us their admirable quantities of experience, zeal and willingness to take on any task. Jacks of all trades, they are not weighed down by numerous talents, they rarely stay in a foreign country for good. They even save the immigration services any unnecessary bother!

 

3.

Certainly, it's a fair bet you already recognised this place. A certain idyllic hamlet nestling in the mountains most likely sprang to mind.

You were probably already thinking about making a trip. You'd love it, that is if you haven't already tried it, to lift your eyes at least once to the procession of hills heading into the distance.

You'd love to spend time surrounded by mountains, to rush downhill on skis, or to spend a few unforgettable cool days in summer, going for walks in the woods in pastoral surroundings, to dance a dance in a local bar.

You managed to make it after all. What's more, you grew up here. You live here.

 

4.

Somewhere not far away from these marvellous places, bright handy people quickly demolished a workshop. They actually managed to demolish a number of workshops, small and medium-sized factories, and nursery schools. They did this despite the fact that they ought really to have been building workshops, factories, and nursery schools here. They've always  been in short supply in this neck of the woods, there were never enough to go round.

Factories in our area usually don't look like this, as if they’re a part of the landscape.

The landscape got along perfectly well without factories, just as it has without other places where it might be possible to find perhaps even some sort of work, even work that wasn't worth doing.

 

5.

But it never got along without cosy new homes with patchwork tiles, almost as if you were in Europe, home to good, hardworking people. This is my home too, together with my family and my family's relatives, some of whom I've amassed by birth, some through friendship and so on, pushing the population up to around 4,000 people.

My name is Nina. I'm 24. I have two children.

A beautiful new three-storey house, beautiful new things, well-made brand new imported furniture, a new television that works, of a similar premium quality to the one the neighbours have got, new duvets, a new cot for the baby, new phone and car - preferably imported – everything is ours, and ours alone.

And I've got a good husband who works, and I belong to him too. We belong to each other for two months a year, and we're happy together. So we don't get bored. Exactly two months - four two-week slots. It's not too short either, we actually manage to make all kinds of plans for the future over the two weeks, as well as getting plenty done today! So long as my husband comes back from making a living abroad. So long as I don't do wrong by him, he'll definitely come back. Nearly everyone comes back, apart from those who never come back. And if you came back, then you'll definitely go away again, and it's great that we have a whole two weeks at our disposal for inseparable family life. What's more important than family?

 

6.

Nina loves waking up and going to sleep in a big comfy bed, which her husband ordered from the West. She loves the fact that the parquet in the hallway is sparklingly clean, and she gets no small pleasure from the gleaming tableware which decorates the shelves of her brand new up-to-date kitchen. But she only manages to enjoy all this in her free time. Usually on Sundays, when working is a serious sin. She can spend all day in bed with the kids then! Ahh! Never waste a Sunday. Just spend the whole day completely free, relaxing at home. Above all, because soon enough the years will slip by, the kids will go to school, and Nina will get on a bus carrying a full load of respectable people to some faraway country, where employers are waiting for them with arms open wide. After all, they so dearly love to work.

Nina is used to and likes keeping farm animals, she enjoys keeping house frugally and meticulously, looking after the children, taking care of old relatives, and Nina's garden is the best on the street, a real feast for the eyes.

And only a few unkindly types say that she doesn't actually keep home all that well, that their own daughter-in-law's garden is better. But let's be honest, their daughter-in-law's garden is a lot worse, the roses there aren't blooming. What's better about it?

(translated into English by Patrick Evans)