Thursday, July 7, 2011


Mike and I thought we would introduce you to some people who are a regular part of our lives. They may be someone we see almost every day, once a week, or once a month, but they have all become special people in our lives. Let’s start with Златка Георгриева - Zlatka Georgrieva .

Zlatka is a 36 year old native of Plovdiv. We see here 3-4 times a week depending on how often we walk to the market. She has a fruit and vegetable stand in the bazaar. Neither her prices nor the quality of her produce are the best. I think what first attracted us to Zlatka was her smile. She always has one for us, and makes every effort to understand us and be understood by us.

We interviewed her awhile ago to find out more about her. She has been selling produce since she was 16 years old. She lives in the same neighborhood as the bazaar, but has only been in this location for the last two years or so. She spent seven years in Hamburg Germany, also selling fruits and vegetables.  She returned to Bulgaria when she was pregnant with her daughter.

Everyone sets their stand up in their own way. Zlatka has a narrow middle aisle just big enough to step into
to see what is further back on the stand.

Back side of her stand.
When asked if she liked her work she quickly responded “No”. Though not excited about her job, when asked what she would like to be doing, she couldn’t think of anything “I don’t know” she said with a look of resignation. Yet when asked if she would still be here in twenty years there was an equally emphatic NO!. She would like to return to Germany.  Escaping Bulgaria is a common theme among workers. They don't leave because they love to travel or because living and working in another country is a status symbol. They go to other European countries to work because there is work that pays so much more. Often only one member of a family will go from several months to several years, leaving the rest of the family behind. I hope Zlatka and her family are able to return to Germany for awhile.

It is understandable that she does not like her work when you find out she works 50 weeks a year, seven days a week, and about 12 hours a day. That changes a bit with the seasons. Her mother( who also sold fruits and vegetables most of her adult life) helps out by filling in for her one Sunday a month and for two weeks in the summer when Zlatka goes on vacation to the Black Sea. When I asked her about being outside in the extreme cold, she said the plastic she wraps the stand in keeps her warm enough. When asked what was the worst thing about the job she said it was listening to the people all day. (Bulgarians tend to complain a lot) 

 Everyday she goes to a warehouse to pick up her fruits and vegetables, loads them in the car, unloads them at the stand, spends the day standing in whatever weather elements are present , loads the car with unsold foods, then goes home to care for her 6 year old daughter, make dinner, clean the house etc.

I don’t know why Zlatka always has a smile for us. Maybe because we have one for her and we never complain about life’s woes!!!!!!  


1 comment:

Mirchica said...

Unfortunately you're right - we're always unhappy, we always complain, somebody else is always guilty - the Goverment or the neighbour, it doesn't matter. The truth is that we're burdened by communism, we're used somebody else to do the things instead of us and probably all this will end when we clean our awareness. And it will happen after few generations when therе are no traces of communism at all.
I'm not a pesimist but a realist :))