Podcast Collection

Accents: The voices of our immigrants neighbors in the Berkshires



“Accents” seeks to, one by one, tell the unique stories of our 10,000 immigrant neighbors living and working here in the Berkshires.

Reinout van Wagtendonk, a Dutch-born journalist and longtime resident of Lee, is the host and producer of Accents, which consists of a podcast interview you can listen to online at BerkshireEagle.com, along with this story and even a special recipe provided by the guest that’s representative of his or her native country.

For more podcasts, check out our Berkshire Eagle Podcasts Collection

Meet Fei Wen Gang: Freedom and culture aside, he came to the Berkshires because of love

That thing about Chinese students being pushed by their parents to study really, really hard? “Yeah, it’s true,” says Fei Wen Gang.

Meet Cecilia Del Cid: Landing in Pittsfield was an international coincidence

They had this huge map of the United States with Post-It notes with the names of the schools people were going to. And I’m looking at Florida and California and Kentucky and then the highest up, farthest north Post-It was mine. And I kept thinking,

Meet Samniang Geller: A hard worker with a yearn to learn since her childhood

'Life in Thailand was difficult, not the same quality of life as here.’

Meet Aleks Gole: He fled the violence in Albania, found peace in Great Barrington

Violence was everywhere in Albania: “Everybody, children, they had every kind of weapon and they kill each other in accidents and, I don’t know, everything …”

Meet Jorge Aguilar: Growing a future in the US with a faith sewn in Ecuador

"I like it here,” Aguilar says about Pittsfield. “The peace I have in my hometown is the peace I have in this town.”

Meet Estervina Davis: A colorful journey from the Dominican Republic to the Berkshires

Her children are grown up now, but Estervina Davis is still not sure about the American custom of sleepovers. “In my country, you don’t do that,” she says. “Everybody sleeps in their own house. "

Meet Maribel Teyssier: Her English was put to the test — and it gave her power

My life here is pretty peaceful and quiet like it was in my town back home. I like to go to the gym as my hobby. I love to dance. I take hikes, but not in the wintertime. I like to read. I don’t even have a TV.”

Meet Thiago Oliveira: From Brazil to the Berkshires, with a God-given opportunity

“I don’t do it for money,” Thiago Oliveira says about his pastoring. “It’s a very emotional thing, just to try to help anybody that I can help. I am very honored that God gave me this opportunity to do what I love.”

Meet Dr. Tony Makdisi: With Syria in his heart, a hope for its return to peace

A Christmas visit to Syria was obviously out of the question for Dr. Tony Makdisi. He and his wife and daughters last went back in 2009, before civil war tore his country apart.

Meet Octavio Hernandez: A healthy, happy and musical life in the Berkshires

“I am a happy man who always likes to mingle with everyone, regardless of their beliefs and points of view. And certainly, the more musical they are the more my friends they are as well."

Meet Klara Sotonova: Her Czech family recipes make for popular US cookies

Today her American English is fluent, but recalling the stress of that first day brings out her Czech accent: “Somehow I took right subway, got to Port Authority and found bus to Great Barrington.”

Meet Camilo Manrique: Fled Colombia with his life to Lenox

Unspecified death threats became routine, but when the guerrilla fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, actually came looking for his father, Camilo Manrique and his family sought refuge in the Berkshires.

Meet Goundo Behanzin: From Ivory Coast to Berkshire-based business owner

Offering up the rough, calloused palm of his hand, Goundo Behanzin says, “Here, feel. I never worked with my hands in Ivory Coast. It was easier there. I learned that here in America if you really want to move up, you have to fight.”

Meet Elisa Fuller: Her journey from Ecuador to Pittsfield

Some immigrants to the United States “are fleeing


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