Again it is spring, but in Alcarràs (Lleida) spring brings with it many special connotations that make it different from other places.
The trees, as in many other places, bloom in these days, but the impression is different when you are surrounded by many miles of white, pink, red flowers … With them, the hope of working, too, blooms once more for thousands of African immigrants who collect nectarine, Paraguayans, peaches… And this work is done in groups, which leads to new friendships, welcome, warmth, fatigue. They come looking for a day’s living or even, for many, survival in this time of crisis, where it is increasingly difficult to find a few days of work.
What for us is beauty, the whole horizon full of rich colors, is for them transformed into the hope of working in full sun in July and August with temperatures of 40º and 45º, work that gives them the opportunity to send money to their families, to pay the debts for the rest of the year, to save some money for a room during the next months. Only a few are lucky enough to find some “Pagés” that is willing to hire him the whole year so as to be able to arrange papers, which means to become visible, legal, citizens.
What for us is an explosion of life and joy, for them is an offer of work that invites them to travel thousands of kilometers and not always brought to fruition as they dreamed. Many times they spend weeks or months without finding anyone to give them those days of work that they have been looking for. Other times, the conditions of collection are not the desired ones either. And many times they do not find a decent home to live in during these three or four months of the season.
For those who, from Caritas, and from our religious community, are concerned about them, the multicolored mantle is also good news because many will indeed see their expectations fulfilled; and the trip, the effort, the fatigue would indeed have been worth it. And although three or four months of work do not resolve anyone’s life, those who live on very little are actually able to share with their families and prepare for the winter. Our attention is directed to those who, increasingly, are not lucky enough to be “hired” at the beginning of the season and who roam the streets without a penny, for whom eating every day takes more effort than a day of work.
Enriqueta Seva fi, from Alcarràs