Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
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Oral Testimonies on the Seasonal Migration of Cheese Makers

“I worked as a cheese maker in Trikala for 26 years. I had a boss. Prior to that, I worked for a spaghetti maker in Filipiada. There were 3 or 4 of us. Back then we’d collect milk twice a day. It was hard work. We’d work fifteen hours a day, perhaps even more. After that I went to Trikala where I worked for 26 years for the owner. We made kaseri cheese. He had a factory. It was one of the first to open. We had 14 cauldrons that could take up to 1000 kilos. Back then we’d get 100 tons of milk. Sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and cow’s milk. The milk was local to that area. A staff member would collect the milk, put it in containers, load the truck and we’d work it. We were about 100 staff there.”

Petros Makris, Resident of Matsouki, July 2012

The work was difficult. You were captive. You’d be there from the morning until the afternoon. At five o’clock in the afternoon another load of milk would arrive and you’d finish at midnight. You had a good wage. Ten or twenty drachmas. When we’d finish our shift the retailer would give us a deposit that we’d send to our families. But the retailers were few. We were gone from our homes for a long time. Five months, six months. On one occasion I went to the fields with Yannis Rentzos, who is dead now. We went down to Fasrala, and once the dairies had shut we went to Anilio in Metsovo up in the mountain to work over the summer. I stayed there until the end of June when the sheep had dried up. You were always there. You’d never see your children and family.

Vassilios Gratsanis , Resident of Matsouki, September 2012