Bilbao by day
First of all, I would like to thank you people, who share my thoughts and experiences far beyond Spain. Above all, I write this because I think that us, the African Diaspora in the world, we should unite and share ideas and experiences in order to improve our situation where we live and, and therefore, where we come from.
Yes, I’m kind of Pan-Africanist. Viva Nkwane Krumah!
Secondly I would like to give you some quick insight on my Spanish daily life today.
This week I’ve been studying African History at University, and can see that even in the academic world, people still think of African people as children they can patronize; they look at this continent as a chaos that can hardly stand over its feet. It’s sad and dreadful. But, they won’t bring me down.
I have decided to drop off one of my small jobs at the end of May, because I need to focus on my university papers and final exams. People would say that, it’s a privilege I should not take, specially bearing in mind the current figures about unemployment rate in this beloved country. Newspapers report today that we have reached more than 6 million people in dole. It’s scaring!
It’s scaring for young people who are graduating along these years. They say that, for the first time ever, Spanish population has decreased. More than 200 thousands people flew away last year. And immigrants are returning home, especially those from Ecuador. But also, many people who chose to settle in Spain years ago, are re-emigrating to other European countries such as France, Germany or Norway– and of course the UK.
I can swear that in these recent years I have seen so many African people leaving Spain for France or Belgium that I’m not really surprised of these figures. From my inner circle, 5/12 people of my relatives have moved to France. Only those who were really ‘rooted’ here remain.
In a broader scale, many immigrants, mostly from Latin American countries, get the nationality and then move to another country taking profit as their new status as European citizens. Such is life down here. And you would read comment of Spaniards complaining about this. I can’t understand their point.
From the recent national census, I have also learned that from the overall 5.5 million foreign people who live in Spain, non-European citizens are over 60%, that’s to say, more than 3 million people. From these people, African descents are still the smallest group, and we are highly represented by Moroccans.
So, some people who ask why I leave my job within this context… Well: I’m gonna be double-graduated in a few months. I have managed to study away from home by taking 4 small jobs, the so-called “minijobs”. They pay very little, so I have had to work as an English teacher for almost illiterate adults (3hours/week) and as an extra-curricular activity for school kids (3 hours/week) or as an occasional interpreter-translator (hardly)… And I volunteer as a Spanish teacher for foreigners, that’s my non-profit contribution to the community. That’s to say: 6-7 hours/ week. And I should be grateful, they say, as I got a job and I do not have to beg for charity. Well, all I see is that taking these jobs was a way to pay my bills while living and studying out of home. Done. I needed to discharge my mum. She’s done enough. All I see is that I have accomplished my part of the deal, I was the best student of my High-school class, I successfully finished a University degree, I managed to learn a new foreign language more or less– to enhance my possibilities in the labour market, but all I can do is to accept jobs like these to survive or leave, as many friends of mine do. My best Spanish friend has just accepted an offer to work as an Engineer in Italy. There is no job in the construction sector here, no more. It’s sad, indeed.
Barcelona by dawn
But, I also think that we should be able to keep our expectations high. I’ve been in more than 10 different jobs during my short life; I worked as a basketball referee, as a private lessons teacher(Philosophy and History), a trainee journalist, a trainee translator, an Interpreter, a French teacher, English Teacher , Spanish Teacher, shop retailer, and so on.
From now on, I can keep on studying, which is maybe one of the best things to do in a short term, but I don’t see the need to get a doctorate nowadays apart from being a university teacher… I can also start working as a freelance journalist-translator meanwhile I decide if I wanna be a teacher of Spanish abroad or French teacher in a State funded Secondary School, in order words: a civil servant. Being a graduate civil servant still worth it, they pay well enough to live above the average, but we don’t know how long this will be possible, due to the tough economic crisis and the more than likely future bailout of the country’s economy. I’m happy I could prepare myself to work in so many professions and in different countries. I never imagined languages would be so crucial in my life.
As you can see, Spain today is difficult. But, as I always say, they won’t bring me down!
PS: If it doesn’t work as it should, then I may announce you my emigration process in a year. Who knows?