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Bēhance

  • Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004. This resulted in a rapid increase in emigration as people sought a higher standard of living. In 2010 more than 83.000 people emigrated from Lithuania. That was the biggest emigration wave from the country. According to the Lithuanian ‘National Statistics Department’, the most popular countries for emigration are the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. To meet the travel needs of those Lithuanian people that live and work in the UK and Ireland, an informal network of mini-buses has developed, delivering parcels from door-to-door. People are transported also and usually with no insurance. The journey is often very uncomfortable and sleeping is uncomfortable as passengers are seated throughout the journey which takes 35 or more hours. Usually two drivers drive the mini-bus continuously. While one drives, another sleeps on the front seats. In order to make the business more profitable the trips often involve some smuggling and people transportation. The focus of this project is on the supportive link between relatives evidenced in the delivery of personal parcels, and also on people’s transportation and the smuggling of goods. The outcome of the work is a photographic document which explores themes around ‘Killing time’. The extent of the project is seen through a wider exploration of the nature of these extended journeys, including extreme tiredness, alcohol, as well as giving an insight into an industry that often operates on the fringes of an often exploitative and manipulative cheap labour market.
     
     
     
    Project is on "pause" at the moment.
    All pictures are shot in the Spring of 2011.
     
    © Eugenijus 'Giena' Barzdžius www.eugenijusb.com
     
     
  • Landscapes change as quick as they might on the Discovery channel, and roads lead to other new discoveries. 
  • 04:35 East London. The Driver’s daughter awakes from her sleep in the mini bus to help the journey resume by assist- ing in the rearranging of a parcel containing more than 200 motorcyclists’ clothes. 
  • Packing more is crucial for running a profitable business. 
  • To calculate less than 100 pounds can sometimes take longer than 15 minutes with drunken mathematical-debates. 
  • A Door-to-door service gives an opportunity to meet all social classes and nationalities, while all the passengers have to accept driver’s insistence on taking a 100 km. detour to pick an extra parcel. 
  • “I’m going back home, I’m from Kėdainiai. I had enough of living with ex-convicts and alcoholics, working that leaflet delivery job. Like a dog, always outside in any weather. I think I should go back to school, even though I was thrown out of 6 schools because I had to stand for myself. I’m not aggressive, but they put all the blame on me. I’m 15, and I stole my first car when I was 11. I need to live up to a better life, as my father did. He has his own company”. - Ermanas was telling his life experiences to everyone in the min-bus. 
  • The concept of a pick up or delivery time has little meaning to drivers. “To English on weekdays I come to pick parcels ‘till 22:00, but on weekends - any time. To Lithuanians - time doesn’t matter”, - confesses the driver. 
  • “Each of you has to pack to your bags with cigarettes and alcohol. Don’t ever mention my name. You are delivering for yourself!”,- instructions were given. 
  • 00:21 West London. “I don’t have a watch, since I don’t want to stress myself. And when receivers of parcels are calling me and asking ‘When’, I can only give an approximate time, as there can be so many unpredictable things, even in those few kilometers to the destination. So, I give only the remain- ing distance and leave them to calculate the time themselves that I will deliver”, - The driver explains the nuances of busi- ness. 
  • To have normal visibility, the front window has to be washed at least once a day. 
  • In another dimension this long and boring trip is easier to bare. 
  • 'Cars brake, but we want to go further!' 
  • “In Dover are most picky customs. I’ve lost the count of how much they took from me, but it is tens of thousands. What about others?”, - then the driver tells long stories about how his busses, and his colleagues were striped to the last ciga- rette. 
  • “You’ve lost!” . Playing card game 'Fool'
  • At the start of a trip. 
  • “With two GPS’s I can be sure that I will find correct ad- dress!” - ensured driver. 
  • At the end of the trip. After 52 hours with short naps on two front seats. 
  • “Scrooges! They wanted to send all these buckets and boxes for 30 quid?! No way! I made them pay 50!” - driver com- plained. 
  • Godspeed into the future! 
  • Mechanics sometimes set us a trap. 
  • Every saved cent is earned cent. “Fishing” diesel from truck driver. 
  • Hello’s and good-bye’s are followed by old customs. 
  • Minibus originally constructed for transporting goods and there is no heating apart from in the cab. 
  • Everybody is equal when joining the circle around the bottle. 
  • Change in another traffic side announces arrival going to be soon. 
  • Arrival. 07:42 East London. A top-up for UK of cheap labour.