How I Spend My Money: Bulgarian Fruit Picker
WELCOME to How I Spend My Money, a totally original series on WWN that looks at what people in Ireland really do with their hard earned cash.
This week we chat to 40-year-old Andrey Petrov, who was flown into Ireland by a food producer in Ireland to work during a pandemic in a manner that in no way exploits him.
Occupation: Fruit picker (previously: engineer)
Location: I not know, they just tell me work in field now.
Salary: I just told ‘good money’
Monthly pay:I told again ‘Good money’ but to stop asking or sent home on plane right away.
Housing: Everyone share one room. I ask to change, I learn new Irish words from boss man ‘feck off’ and ‘some cheek’.
Household bills: I send all of the money home. In case it not clear I would not be doing this unless I had other options, now ‘feck off’.
Phone bill: I told if caught on phone, money take away my boss man.
Health insurance:I ask about test for virus. My new name is ‘trouble maker’.
Work. Work. Work. But I know this is deal. Hard work, but I think of family and money that I send home. Beautiful Irish weather today, hot. I only told about rain, some joker lie to me.
I ask when is break after 8 hours working with no break. I told new Irish phrase, boss man say ‘I take the piss’ and ‘fuck off and stop asking questions’. I was told Ireland had big revolution once, care about workers and vulnerable, some joker lie to me.
No breaks. No water. No food. I complain, boss man has so many new words and he say so fast and angry I can’t understand.
I decide, no health, no safety. I can’t do work anymore. I will leave. Boss man says he has my passport and says ‘check mate’. But I’m Bulgarian, not Czech. Oh, I understand now. Fuck. I beg and say let me go, Irish people do job instead. Boss man and friend laugh for one hour when I say this.
Man in bunk bed above me, sweating and coughing a lot. Boss man says no test, only cold. In Ireland cold is fine, no ‘big deal’. Tomorrow morning, I will run away. I think when Irish people find out they will say ‘big deal’.
I leave. I see men outside, they are proud men. I know this, because they carry Irish flag. They shout ‘Irish jobs for the Irish’. I think ‘what luck’. Now, I can do good, give one man my job because I decide to leave.
When I tell this angry unemployed man I can give him great sense of, how do you say, ‘purpose’? He runs away very fast, even though his large body suggests he has no exercise in many years. Very impressive, but also confusing.
I find man on road in car. I ask him for help. He is kind. I tell him we must tell how bad worker who put food on the tables treated. He looks sad, he turns up radio. Man on radio say worker like me bad man that shouldn’t be here. Kind man in car tells me that man on radio is big boss man called Tear Shock. If big boss man Tear Shock say it my fault, he won’t say I need to be helped. ‘Check mate’, I walk back to farm to work.
Man in truck say sad goodbye and “sorry, lad, it sounds like fuck all people are fighting for you here”.