Fear And Flowers (Part 2)

301345_10150759430445254_4708586_nAfter the initial shock that my new job involved facing my biggest fear on a secondly bases, I thought that perhaps I might calm down and become used to wading through fields of wasps trying desperately to distinguish between male and female flowers…surprisingly this became no more enjoyable. The only saving grace was that after two more days we moved to a different field where the flowers and wasps were only at knee level not eye level, but I became no more calm about the situation, every day was a struggle and an ordeal, I had to remind myself every second of every day how much I wanted to stay in this country.

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The job was made more difficult by the fact that aside from one lovely Irish man the rest of our housemates made no bones about the fact that they did not want us there. They had spent months living together doing a much harder job and simply did not want newcomers, they advised me every day to leave. So with every day being terrifying and feeling unwanted every night I needed a drink. We headed to the local bar and crashed some woman’s 50th birthday party, it was a fantastic night, I was at a hillbilly bash and I wasn’t invited; There was crazy dancing, glass smashing and fight starting. I met the birthday girl in the loo, I went to wash my hands in the sink when a crazy toothless lady yells at me in an Australian accent so thick it’s a miracle I understand anything:

“HEY DARLING, I WOULDN’T DO THAT I WHERE YOU!”

“Why?”

“I JUST PISSED IN THAT SINK”

Low and behold the sink was full of yellow liquid.

She ran off singing a rendition of it’s my party and I’ll do what I want to…it’s how I know it was her birthday.

I leave the bathroom and hear “OI! BEE GIRL” it’s the sadistic farmer, he’s drunk and he wants me to come over, what follows is an uncomfortable conversation about how I am the world’s worst flower picker, and I should have been sacked…however I’m his favourite and watching me struggle apparently keeps up morale and is entertaining…. I knew he was sadistic!

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I had worked ten hours a day for seven days and was looking forward to my pay check lots of money would make this all worthwhile, a nice little nest egg to start my new life in Oz. I opened it and after all of the deductions I was left with $120. I couldn’t believe it, I asked my housemates and they had made even less as they owed the company more money. F**K this, I don’t want anything this much, they want me to leave then fine I will, I quit and within two hours of receiving that pay check I was gone.

On a more serious note: if you are planning on doing your farming for a second year working holiday visa be careful. Some companies are fine and pay a fare wage… however mine is a very common story of being paid below minimum wage, and nothing short of third world living conditions. I have heard of strong racism and threats to not sign off on the visa unless you work entirely for free. One of the girls left that farm in $3000 worth of debt.

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4 thoughts on “Fear And Flowers (Part 2)

    • Sadly no I didn’t, I don’t know why but in Oz I never felt as though my work rights mattered as much as if I had complained at home.

      • Huh, I’d have thought it was the opposite if anything. My parents have backpackers through their place fairly frequently, and if you do anything illegal (like above) the government imposes a big fine and/or jail time. I suppose there are a lot of people who do take advantage and do it all off the books, but they’re all scumbags.

      • I just met so many people who had been in the same boat, some had complained and got nowhere others like me just seen no point in complaining and just take themselves out of the situation, it’s the same in every country that certain employers will take advantage of foreigners e.g. the way some employers in the UK treat Eastern Europeans, in Oz some, not all employers take advantage of European Backpackers because they know we would do anything for that 2nd year visa. It’s a shame as it is the minority who do this and they are scumbags.

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