Thursday, June 4, 2009

No Tengo un Titulo o Fotografias

One thing I have become aware of as I converse with my teacher and walk the streets of Granada is how privileged we are in the United States to be experiencing an economic recession that has only seen unemployment at around 10%. There is a constant search for “creative” ways to make money here, because there are not enough legitimate jobs throughout the country. In the time span of an hour of sitting at a table outside of a cafe, a traveler will likely encounter the following vendors: a young boy making grasshoppers out of straw, young girls carrying baskets on their heads full of cigarettes and trinkets, a man with a limp presenting his small paintings on scraps of materials as he opens his pockets to show you his case of paintbrushes and colors, and boys with baskets full of cashews. At the same time, a traveler will likely see a variety of street performances throughout the night: a group of young boys breakdancing, acting, juggling, playing guitar, playing drums, etc. And the traveler may see the same kids still sleeping on the streets the following morning as he or she goes to school to learn Spanish. What is a traveler to do?

In Nicaragua, as in many other countries, the unemployment rate is often about 1/3 of the population, and there isn’t hope that the “end of the recession is just around the corner,” because high unemployment is the norm. My conversation teacher supports her mother and her grandparents, as she is the only one in her household with a job, and she is only able to work if there are international students at the school. Currently, there are four students and she works two hours per day. Sometimes there are no students, but two hours per day is pretty average for her.

I am one of the many who will soon be unemployed in the United States, and I have many friends who have been looking for jobs for months. This commentary isn’t meant to make it less stressful or less discouraging that there are not many jobs in the U.S. for people hoping to join the workforce, but it does offer a little perspective into what people throughout the world struggle with on a continual basis.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brooke! I love the picture you paint and the perspective you are gaining. love you! mom