Many of you may have read/heard/talked about the “crisis” that is occurring in Spain right now. If you haven’t this is the post for you! I have been wanting to write about the crisis for a while, but I really haven’t gotten much information from the Spaniards (Por sorpresto, ellos no quieren hablar sobre la crisis!).
As I have mentioned before, many people here blame many things on the crisis. There is even a saying in spanish that translates into “I’m doing,” like I’m surviving during this tough time. Spaniards blame the crisis for many daily incidents, such as their door breaking (they don’t have the money to fix it, or the carpenter will include the new tax on the price…), their fruit being different at the store (store keepers can’t afford the same quality because of the crisis), their children’s education is lacking (schools can’t afford to hire more teachers, hence why I’m here/classroom sizes are bigger/no money in the schools for supplies)….you get the point.
Things are getting un poco loco (a little crazy) here now because of this crisis:
-People have been protesting all over the country about various issues that are affected by the crisis:
-Today, October 18th, my students (mostly parents because primary school aged children can’t really plan a protest by themselves) went on strike. Yep. Hardly any students showed up to school today. The reason for this strike is about many things: the quality of education students are getting, lack of money in schools, the huge budget cuts by the Ministry of Education (which affected my program, CIEE as well!), and lack of new teachers. So today, students didn’t show up. In the secondary schools, the students have been protesting for three days now.
-Some stores were having sales before the new tax was implemented…this store in Bollullos wasn’t implementing the new tax for school supplies! Even the gym a joined has a “anti-crisis” deal where you can pay 60 euros for two months instead of 35 euros each month!
-A Spanish Mayor in a small town in Andalucia is now known as the “Spanish Robin Hood” because he steals food from the supermarket and gives it to the families of his town who can’t afford food.
Read all about it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/15/spanish-robin-hood-sanchez-gordillo
As I mentioned before, CIEE, the program I am working through has had to deal with the budget cuts with the Junta (the government of Andalusia). For the 2011-2012 school year CIEE placed 350 language and cultural assistants through Andalucia. This year they were allotted 100 spots for participants. Last year in my pueblo, there were 9 auxiliaries (auxiliary and language and cultural assistant are the same thing) at the schools here, this year there are 4. The Junta can’t afford to pay all of us (if you didn’t know, I am paid through the government), and they had to make cuts to the language and cultural assistant programs. That meant, they first cut all of the auxiliaries in the 16-18 year old schools, and then limited most other schools to 1 or, si suerte (if lucky), 2 auxiliaries for the year.
I should also state that I am not an expert at this issue, and I really am only skimming the surface of this topic. So, I did some research and found some articles for your enjoyment (EXTRA CREDIT!):
Euro Crisis: How to Save Spain-The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21556238
Spain’s VAT increase could affect tourism: http://www.selectproperty.com/2012/07/spains-vat-increase-could-affect-tourism/
Well I hope you learned something about the current events going on here in Spain! It can only go UP from here!