Small rural villages in Spain, such as Freila in Andalucía, don’t get the same media coverage as the rest of Spain, or indeed the rest of Europe.
Reports in the UK media cover the 100 billion euro bail out of the banks, the miners strikes in the north of the country and the down-grading of the financial institutions. But, what’s happening in the tiny rural villages, what do they think about their future, how much of an impact is the crisis having on the people?
Our friend, Juan Calderon Perez is an economics professor in the institute Pedro Jimenez Montoya in Baza. Two years ago his retirement age was 65, now it’s 67, but does this matter? Pensions are precarious and there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient funds to pay his pension when he retires. He is a civil servant and the government are not freezing salaries, they are cutting them.
Some of his students were born in this tiny village, with an average age of 18, these young people are very worried about their futures.
Do they sit around and wait for the government to help them out? No, these young people are working hard and studying in Baza, Granada and Madrid.
Do they lower their standards and hope for a job in tourism, waiting tables or working in a shop? No, these young people are studying to become Journalists, Economic Teachers and Doctors.
Do they want hand outs and benefits? No, they want to work hard to qualify as professionals.
Do they hope to move to another country when they qualify? No, every one of them wants to stay in Spain and help to build the countries economic future.
Crisis, yes. Negativity, No.
As Juan said “the Spanish keep their worry inside and their happiness outside”
Looking at the smiling faces of Patricia, Fatima, MariCarmen, Maica, Cintia, Ainoa and Juan Antonio I believe this is true, but these young people show a strength and determination which gives me hope for the future of Spain and of Europe.
Apologies for not putting tildes as needed on some of the Spanish names, but I’m working on an English keyboard at the moment! Many thanks to Pete Dewhirst of pdimages ltd who provided the photographs. www.petedewhirst.com