The story so far

I PACKED THIS MYSELF was a project working with migrant workers and local communities in Cornwall, which started in 2006. We found instances of exploitation, discrimination and outright racism. I PACKED THIS MYSELF brought people together to increase understanding. This blog is a record of the work done over the following five years.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A week at Penrice, St Austell

The second workshop this week at Penrice College, St Austell.  This is a busy week for Jo Grace, who is leading the workshops. And also a busy week on the land. Am caught up with other things but cannot but help notice the crowds of workers in the fields, picking daffodils or cutting spring greens etc.
Jo says that Penrice has been an extremely rewarding school to work with. She reports on her day:
"Today was our second day working at Penrice college. It is noticeable how different the students opening opinions about migrant workers are at this college compared to the other schools and colleges we have been working in. Penrice is a language college and they pride themselves on looking outwards, this shows around the school, where things like signs for the toilet are written in four different languages.

We are delivering workshops and a series of assemblies throughout the week. Yesterday we showed the Portugese suitcase in the year 7 assembly, today we talked to year 8 about who they think of as being a migrant worker. We focused on the UN's estimation that one third of the world's population are migrant workers.
In the workshops we have been pleased with the range of questions students have come up with to quiz Bartek with. Today I think we had at least 5 questions that we haven't been asked before.
   I thought you might like to read some examples of the student's work, so here are two letters written by yr 7 pupils, imagining themselves in as migrant workers on a farm in Cornwall.
By Jenna-
    Dear Mum and Dad,
                                I've had my first week at my job cabbage picking with the most wet cold weather. But don't worry the farmer gave me a coat to wear to keep warm. My caravan is cosy but slightly run down, but I don't really think about what it looks like when I get home because I am so tired! My back is aching from bending over for hours on end. The food here is better than Dad's cooking but not as good as Mum's. Sometimes I get homesic, but I've got used to it now. I have met loads of new poeple like Zoe the girl in the opposite caravan, she's really nice and we are good friends now. Granny would love it here with the water and the sea and the birds singing in th emornings. Maybe Phil can come and work with me when he finishes school to keep me company. Hope to see you soon, only 400,000 cabbages left to pic and I'll be home! Lots of Love, Jenna
by Kyle
Dear Mum, Dad, Brothers and Sisters,  I am writing home today to tell you about my job and what it is like. 1 week ago I started work as a cabbage picker, so far I am one of the only ones that are doing this job so we are having to pick lots so we can earn the money we deserve. I have a sore back because 75% of the time you are bending down to pick the cabbages up. It isn't easy and you don't get paid a lot but it's enough to have dinner so I am happy. Also it is cool because you get to meet new people and make new friends. The reason I moved was not to get away from my family but to meet new people from a different culture and so I could learn different languages and different styles of how to act.
          Yours sincerely, your son,
These students along with their classmates made a big effort to imagine how they would feel in this situation. After the workshop we had a glimpse at one of the entries into the competition the school are running in which students have to imagine what they would pack in a suitcase if they were going away."