In the workplace Christos Batsis at work, 1968. Source: Gavaki Photo Archive
Repaying the ‘gift’
A man describes his job as a car mechanic and the difficulties he encountered because of the language.
S.Β.: I knew more or less how each car spare part was called. At first they put me as a test.
To see... do I know the job or did I lie! And after he saw, the German was more of a sub-foreman… inside… while the director was at the office.
He was seeing now that I knew the job, he was coming, bringing me. I was driving the car. Each one had his remise. They were sticking the work order on the window,
each one we had to take it, read it, see! They all looked like chicken scratchers to me, yeah (Laughs). But the German was coming and telling me
“Raise it, grease job, grease job”. And he said “Pssh, pssh”. “Come on” I say “Greasing”. Oils, greasing!
S.Β.: Check the brakes. Now, every mechanic had to have his own tools.
S.Β.: In the afternoon, I was grabbing any tool from here and there, in the afternoon I see the German, he brings me a box with all the tools.
He tells me “This is a gift for you” and he told me “Have a good start”. Eh, and slowly after two months I understood the character, how they wrote.
Oil chains, check the brakes, anything.
And afterwards, after I bought my own tools, all the essentials, I left that sector, and I went where they had better mechanics!
There I worked, not only for myself, but for the company as well.
Because, since it offered me work, without language, without anything, I was satisfied. I wanted to repay the company.
And when I left the company, they gifted me a disk, very large, silver, pure silver, and everyone put on their signatures, when I started and when I finished.
RE.: Yes, eh?
RE.: Very touching!
S.Β.: Yes! I worked as if it was mine, and foreign!