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Rural Poland Heritage

johnny reb  
24 May 2019 /  #1
We always talk about the bigger cities of Poland but my inquisitive mind wonders how people support their families in the very small country villages.

As poor as Poland is in some of these little villages, located far from the bigger cities, I can't imagine many jobs that would pay enough to support a family.

Are the school systems up to par with the bigger cities ?
Do students have the same opportunities as the students in the bigger cities such as being able to attend universities ?
What opportunities do the children have to compete in local sports ?
It just seems that the youth living rural Poland would be at a major disadvantage to progress in life.
Please enlighten me on the structure of these outer smaller villages in Poland to be able to survive and progress in life.
24 May 2019 /  #2
in the past it was pretty simple - people subsisted in their small farms but already during communist times with the baby boom people had to seek jobs in cities and towns - a lot of people used to commute to work (public communication was in certain ways much better than today) or for higher education - the situation is much different now - only a handful of people still run their own farms - it is even more pronounced in western Poland because most land there belonged to the state owned farms (PGR's) and since then just the owner changed for the land
OP johnny reb  
24 May 2019 /  #3
Thanks Buddy.
We Americans hear very little about rural Poland if anything.
Especially eastern Poland where my ancestors originated.
To me it is very interesting how poor people can live so independently and survive.
Eastern Poland sounds much more interesting then the big cities to visit.
I think that area would be where you would meet the real Polish people and learn the real Polish culture.
24 May 2019 /  #4
I hope not. The area where they cut down ancient woodland, tip rubbish at the back of their fields and pollute their own local country rivers? They need law and order - which is what they thought they were voting for.
OP johnny reb  
24 May 2019 /  #5
Is it really that bad there Doug ?
You cut down tress so new ones can grow, you dumb rubbish to make compost and how are they polluting the country rivers ?
And why would they vote to change what is working so they can march to their own beat ?
Sounds like they are doing the best they can with what they've got to work with.
24 May 2019 /  #6
You forgot about the fact that most villagers have their own houses [no rent] and a piece of land which brings them their own food and/or additional income from selling raw products to markets.
OP johnny reb  
24 May 2019 /  #7
Spike, I know it may sound stupid to you but what raw products besides minimum amounts of home grown foods and livestock ?
Certainly not enough to support a family who all have I-phones.
They must live a very conservative and simple life with no extra's.
24 May 2019 /  #8
It all depends - just like in cities. There are people who are incredibly rich, with average income and those who are poor.
Some make their living from land, tourism etc. Some - and that's mostly people I have come across - cultivate their land, have some crops etc but at the same time have regular jobs.
24 May 2019 /  #9
You cut down tress so new ones can grow, you dumb rubbish to make compost and how are they polluting the country rivers ?

Well yes, the question of tree felling went from one extreme to another. At one time, the landowner could face a ridiculously large fine for cutting down on a mature tree, but now it seems to be open season. The question of rubbish tipping is a clearer problem. Of course in this day and age when rubbish collection costs more and more, the rural landowner is going to tip his household waste out of his back door, and in the same way, his toilet would historically drain into the river at the end of the garden.

The solution there is free local tips in every main town, or recycle skips off the town square, because tipping in forest clearings is widespread. I would like to see local vigilantes out with their farm weapons facing up to the people who try this on, because the police will never act.

The rivers were heavily polluted from agricultural slurry and food processing plants just ten years ago when I toured the east extensively by bike. I would have thought the situation must be much better now, but I really wouldn't bet on it. And yes, the people need help of whatever type that maybe - regainin g the pride in their locality and self policing, almost being more aggressive in protecting their own lands.

I've never been chased off somebody's land here when out in the bog - when I probably ought to have been (obviously I didn't realise the area in question was in private ownership....)

Some make their living from land, tourism etc.

A lot of chaps are truckers....
24 May 2019 /  #10
Explains the huge houses that you find in the east, despite no obvious source of local wealth.

Having said that, it's a pretty miserable life being a Polish trucker - out on the road for weeks at a time in Western Europe in cramped living conditions. I can see how the Americans do it with those huge sleeper berths, but how they do it with the smaller European ones is beyond me.
24 May 2019 /  #11
They are not so bad.
Yeah, it's a tough life being a European trucker,.but Polish trucks now are as good as German,French or any other european nation.
OP johnny reb  
24 May 2019 /  #12

Modest hotels and restaurants ?
Cargo pants  
24 May 2019 /  #13
Yes JR,plenty of them mushrooming there.
25 May 2019 /  #14
@johnny reb
It's rural tourism or agroturystyka in Polish. Basically it's about visiting the countryside (fresher air, beautiful views ), showing kids what a cow (goat, sheep) looks like, remembering your childhood visits to the countryside etc.

Basically it's usually guesthouses - sometimes with some farm animals, sometimes they sell their home made products like fresh milk, honey, jams with no preservatives etc.
cms neuf  
25 May 2019 /  #15
I split my time between the town and the village and no doubt that living standard have increased a lot in the past decade in small villages - few main reasons

EU subsidies for farmers
Easier and cheaper to get a car, some possibility of credit for a car, which lets people work in nearby towns (flip side as someone said is a decline in public transport but even in old times while extensive it was very slow.

More flexible emigration - before 2004 you often had to go for good in order not to run into visa issues. Now people can leave the kids with Babcia, work a few months of the year in Germany or Britain and come back and spend it on some house improvements

You don't always need to go to a big city to find work - most market towns now have a few modern factories and you would be surprised at how low the unemployment rate is in those towns with say 30,000 people.

That said you will occasionally see living standards that are shocking and it's especially difficult for those who have to look after old parents or young kids in villages.

Another thing that needs to be improved is social mobility - yes those kids can go to university but it is very unusual to be in a meeting in Polish business and find someone who grew up in a small village - you will find plenty from provincial towns but few farmers kids. I think emigration will start to change that - for some village kids their few years in England teaches them as much as university would.
OP johnny reb  
25 May 2019 /  #16
It's rural tourism or agroturystyka in Polish.

The kind that is of interest to tourists that want to experience the REAL Polish people and the Real Polish culture.
Not saying the Salt Mines and War Museum wouldn't be of interest however to learn the culture of Poland agroturystyka would be the way to go.

Basically it's usually guesthouses

Again, a better education about Poland's culture then taking an elevator to your room in Warsaw out of touch with much feel for Poland.

Another thing that needs to be improved is social mobility -

It's great that you recognize this cms.
There is a lot of wonderful minds and talent out there that never gets an opportunity to develop into their full potential.
That is a sin.
You will find those shocking living standards, for some, in every country in the world.
We have them here in America too.
I wouldn't expect Poland to be any different.
25 May 2019 /  #17
And ppl living in cities are not real Poles and their culture not the Polish culture ?
OP johnny reb  
25 May 2019 /  #18
Not saying that Jaskier.
The big cities are becoming very Americanized with infrastructures, English speaking, latest technology, etc.
The people in say Warsaw have McDonalds and Kentucky Fried with modern conveniences (all which I can experience in Chicago) which helps lose old Polish culture.

While the village people are still accustomed to the old Polish culture which is much more appealing to tourists. (that I can't experience in Chicago)

When I come to Poland as a tourist I want to envision my ancestors culture before they were forced to run for their lives.
25 May 2019 /  #19
Then don't talk about REAL Polish people and Real Polish culture (you even felt the need to use capitals).
The desire to visit your ancestors land is understandable but changing a country into heritage park is not. People in those viliges have McD, use laptops ets the same as the rest of Poland.
OP johnny reb  
25 May 2019 /  #20
Really, do they have indoors flush toilets too ?
Come on Bud, those villages can't help but have stronger roots to Polish culture then a disco club does in Warsaw.
And that is what tourists like me come to experience.
25 May 2019 /  #21
Possible but both groups are REAL Poles.
And I'm not so sure. I think the problem you have is that you percive those two groups differently. Ppl living in the country are the real deal, proper salt of the earth and all that crap while ppl living in big cities, especially capital, are those useles, nasty ppl with no morals. Very simplistic.

The most sophisticated artwork by (oh the horror) educated Poles is as much Polish culture as is some old folk song .
OP johnny reb  
25 May 2019 /  #22
I think the problem you have

No, it's the problem that you have because I think no such thing nor have I ever said any such thing.
You are projecting your own thought pattern to be mine.
I said that I wanted to visit the area of where my ancestors lived in Poland and that Warsaw would be of little interest to me besides the Salt Mines and the War Museum.

The most sophisticated artwork is as much Polish culture as is some old folk song .

I have no problem agreeing with that statement.
Personally though I could give a rats pa toot about sophisticated artwork culture, I personally prefer the roots of a culture like where and how my relatives lived in Poland before they were forced to leave.

Isn't that the thread title ?
25 May 2019 /  #23
very interesting how poor people can live

Why do you assume that people in rural areas are poor? Some are and some aren't!

Also, most people have TV, indoor bathrooms and toilets, ah and the internet too. Folk music is a thingy that townies dable in, disco in rural areas, there are exceptions.

Sure if you wnat to meet real Polish people guest hauses are a good idea.
OP johnny reb  
26 May 2019 /  #24
Why do you assume that people in rural areas are poor?

I guess because that is where a lot of the poor White people live in America.

Sure if you wnat to meet real Polish people guest hauses are a good idea.

Those are my full intentions at this point.
26 May 2019 /  #25
I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. There are indoor toilets, tvs, cars, smartphones and squads in the Polish countryside.
Of course there are some incredibly poor people but that happens in cities, too. In your country as well I believe.
As for agroturystyka, people who go there usually remember the countryside from their childhood. So they don't need to experience it. They know it. And they wouldn't pay if the conditions were poor.

Have a look at some offers,2.html
Some are traditional, some are kitschy, some are more, some less exclusive.
And real Poland is not only the countryside, but also towns and cities, both east and west of the country, south and north, the seaside and the mountains, the lakes and the forests.

I don't know why you seem so focused on what to expect. Have you travelled much out of the US? Because if that's your trip abroad, it may be some tricky .

As for McDonald's or Starbucks, of course there are some. Just like in most European countries. But who forces you to choose them? Unless you're tight on money.
cms neuf  
26 May 2019 /  #26
Johnny you will find it hard to meet a Pole under 30 who has never been to McDonalds - there are a few hundred in Poland. Small towns also have foreign supermarkets - even somewhere with 10.000 people would have a Lidl, several Biedrinkas and a Rossmann.

Country traditions are most in evidence at events - weddings. First communions, Easter etc - but it's more likely to be a table full of kotlety and Disco Polo on the speakers.

I think the region that is clinging in to its traditions most is the far east near the Belarus border. I visited in winter last year and had a good drive around and loved the small villages and the mixture of catholic and orthodox churches and modern and Tsarist buildings.

Another white spot is the area about equal distance between Warsaw, GdaƄsk and Mazury - towns like Szczytno, Nidzica, Illawa. There is not a lot to see except lakes and forests and the villages are neither rich not poor but it's out of reach of big towns.
OP johnny reb  
26 May 2019 /  #27
Have a look at some offers

Thank you so much kaprys, you can be such a sweetheart.
This is the kind of material that will give me a heads up on what to expect.

but it's out of reach of big towns.

Exactly what I am looking for.
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to explain these things to me.
It really is much appreciated.
26 May 2019 /  #28
Johnny you will find it hard to meet a Pole under 30 who has never been to McDonalds

You're writing it like it is some kind of "measure of civilisation"

How many McDonalds have you got per square mile? Uuu, so many? It must be a very civililised country ;-)
OP johnny reb  
26 May 2019 /  #29
Go read post #18 so you understand what cms was referring to.

You're writing it like it is some kind of "measure of civilisation"

Well it kinda is Spike.
When I come to Poland I want to try some Villagers homemade Polish sausage not try a civilized Big Mac.
26 May 2019 /  #30
McDonald's is a measure of globalisation not civilisation.
What region of Poland did your family come from, Johnny? If you're not sure check the place on Wiki. Traditions, cuisine etc often vary depending on the region.

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