Greeks head to countryside for better opportunities

Across the country, 1.5 million people are out of work, despite three emergency bailouts from the European Union and the IMF.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Notices on paperwork needed for state benefits are seen as people queue in the background at an unemployment office in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 (File Photo)

Around one in five people in Greece is unemployed – which is more than double the rate of the rest of the European Union. With opportunities bleak in the cities, people are moving to the countryside to try their luck.

For Vasilis and Joanna, goji berries are the ultimate superfood. They've been growing them ever since Vasilis found himself out of work four years ago. It's given them an income and a new way of life. But it hasn't always been easy.

"I started out making so many mistakes. I rented land that wasn't irrigated. So I had to water my field by carrying gallons of water from my house. I didn't have the right tools or machinery. We worked non-stop 365 days a year for five years. Now, this city boy has turned into a farmer," says Vasilis.

They're among many city workers who have moved to the countryside after the economic crisis started eight years ago.

In the cities, the effects of Greece's economic crises can be seen everywhere.

Greece has had a number of bailouts since 2010. The unemployment rate, pushed up by years of austerity demanded by international lenders, is still running above 23 percent, with youth unemployment hovering at around 45 percent.

TRT World’s Shamim Choudhury reports from Khalkida, Greece.​

TRTWorld and agencies