Basketball stars Moses Ehambe and Troy Devries: "Catalonia is one of the best countries in the world"
In a globalised world, immigration is a crucial factor to understanding how societies are organised. But there are different kinds of immigration. The most common immigrants are those who come to look for work. They are mostly workers from developing countries that are in a situation of poverty, but others come to do unusual jobs, in which they may earn big money and can leave their mark on local people. Moses Ehambe (Arlington, Texas, 1986) and Troy Devries (Mount Vernon, Washington, 1982) are basketball players for Fiact Joventut de Badalona and La Bruixa d’Or Manresa. Despite being foreigners, they prove that sport stars can adapt to the Catalan way of life.
Badalona/Manresa (CNA).- In a globalised world, immigration is a crucial factor to understanding how societies are organised. But there are different kinds of immigration. The most common immigrants are those who come to look for work. They are mostly workers from developing countries that are in a situation of poverty, but others come to do unusual jobs, in which they may earn big money and can leave their mark on local people. Moses Ehambe (Arlington, Texas, 1986) and Troy Devries (Mount Vernon, Washington, 1982) are basketball players for Fiact Joventut de Badalona and La Bruixa d\u2019Or Manresa. Despite being foreigners, they prove that sport stars can adapt to the Catalan way of life.
What is your previous experience as players in Catalonia, apart from this season?
Ehambe: No experience. I played in Orense in 2010, but not in Catalonia.
Devries: I played in Lleida in the season 2008-09 and in Girona in 2009-2010. Then I played in other parts of Spain, in Melilla and Malaga.
What did you know about Catalonia before coming to play here?
E: I only knew about Badalona because Ricky Rubio played here.
D: I didn\u2019t know anything. But I think that\u2019s normal. If I ask Catalans I\u2019m sure they don\u2019t know anything about the state of Washington, which is bigger than Spain, they probably won\u2019t know anything. People only look at what\u2019s in front of them.
And since you arrived, what\u2019s your opinion of life here?
E: I really like the fact that there are so many holidays here, I really think this is positive, especially for the working class. The people, food and culture are all great.
D: I really like the place, the people seem to be nice, and food and culture are absolutely fantastic.
Have you been to other places apart from Badalona or Manresa?
E: Yes! Badalona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Montgat, Tiana, Manresa, Olot... These are the only ones I know. I think Catalonia is amazing, one of the best countries in the world.
D: Definitely. My wife and I have been to Andorra numerous different times, to Montserrat... We\u2019ve made different friends here who\u2019ve taken us to different places and see different things.
Have you tried to learn Catalan?
E: No. My wife and I speak to our children in Spanish, that\u2019s what we know. But I can understand when people are talking in Catalan or in Spanish.
D: Not really. In the three years I\u2019ve played in Catalonia I hear a lot of English during practice. My daughter Alexia is three and she has gone to the Catalan school and was learning Catalan so she probably knows more than me.
Have you discovered and got involved with traditions here since you arrived?
E: Oh, yes! My family tries to celebrate almost all of the holidays. We\u2019ve celebrated the \u2018Cremada del dimoni\u2019 here in Las Ramblas in Badalona and others.
D: Most of my life is spent with my family and basketball. When we see a celebration with my family we go and we ask what\u2019s going on. We don\u2019t know many things, but we ask a lot of questions and try to learn.
As a part of this adaptation you may have tried different kinds of Catalan food.
E: I don\u2019t know if it\u2019s typical from Catalonia, but tapas are amazing here. It\u2019s worth living here just for the tapas.
D: I\u2019ve tried lots of different food. I\u2019ve tried tomato bread, and these kinds of onions, \u2018calçots\u2019. I liked them a lot. And I\u2019ve tried the snails too, but I didn\u2019t like those.
Talking about different things, you must have realised that Catalonia is not like the rest of Spain. What\u2019s your opinion about the political situation here?
E: I heard Catalonia doesn\u2019t want to be a part of Spain. This must be a very complicated issue, but there\u2019s no perfect country.
D: I don\u2019t know very much but I know people here are very proud and want their own country, because they have been mistreated in the past.
To sum up, what is your opinion about the experience of adapting to a new culture and country like Catalonia?
E: Some players try to live like people from here but some others miss home and they don\u2019t want to adapt to the culture here. My family has got a point: everywhere we go, we want to adapt to the culture because it\u2019s an amazing experience. You never know where you\u2019ll be able to travel and we want to soak in everything that we can. And we love it. When we\u2019ll leave, we\u2019re going to miss Catalonia.
D: It opens your eyes in so many ways. Because when you live in America, all you know is what is in front of you, you don\u2019t see the different cultures, you don\u2019t hear different languages. When you come to a foreign place, a whole new world opens up. You realise that the world is a big place; there are a lot of different people, a lot of different things... It\u2019s amazing.