During many of our interviews in France, many of the employers and even immigrants mentioned that France has recently seen a large number of Eastern European workers immigrating to France for work, especially in the agriculture sector. Even though Eastern Europe is not where our focus is, I’m glad that the Mosaic group got a chance to meet with migrants from this area to gain some more knowledge of this emerging migration trend. Our last day in Moissac, Sunday, we went to a Polish cultural center and met in small groups with Polish immigrants of many different demographics.
Annabelle, Monica, and I met with Kamil, his girlfiend Marlena and her son Daniel who is 10 years old. They both are from Poland and work in the fruit industry in Moissac. Kamil arrived in Moissac 4 years ago from, Marlena arrived 5 years ago, and they met through mutual friends and have been together for a year.
Kamil says the cultural transition from France to Poland was pretty difficult to him. For example, he still misses Polish food and tries to cook it on his own with ingredients brought back from trips to Poland. Even though moving was hard, there are many positives to living in France that Kamil and Marlena recognized. For one, school is more affordable in France, because Marlena is not required to buy books and supplies for Daniel, like she was in Poland. Both Kamil and Marlena agreed that they were excited to move to France to work because France seemed like an exciting, exotic place to them, and the people were friendly and welcoming. However, this noted that French people would probably think the same about Poland if they were in the same position.
Overall, I really enjoyed speaking with Kamil, Marlena, and Daniel. I found them quite easy to talk to, maybe because they reminded me of my ancestors, but also because I could tell that they were a caring family. I was inspired by how well they adapted to a new culture and how brave they were for leaving behind their home country to find a better life. Like I mentioned earlier, I was also grateful that we got a chance to talk to this emerging wave of migrants from Eastern Europe, and compare them in the context of Mediterranean Migrations to France.