Jose Manuel Abel, unemployed for two years, decided to leave his family and his native Spain in 2012. He headed to Germany, with just 250 Euros in his pockets, in search of a job. It's a move his own father made decades ago, in the 1960s, when Abel was two. (He returned five years later.)
Following his father's footsteps paid off for the former salesman, who worked at a Spanish restaurant in Munich before landing a full-time position at a food warehouse. But his family remains in southern Spain.
Reuters photographer Marcelo del Pozo followed Abel around last year as he prepared to leave his wife and children for the big move. A year later, del Pozo found Abel again, this time gainfully employed, but clearly homesick and struggling to adjust to his new life. The warehouse worker has only been able to visit his family twice.
With an unemployment rate currently around 6.9 percent, Germany remains an economic refuge for many Spaniards like Abel, his home country still posting an unemployment rate that hovers around 25 percent.
The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.