Friday, November 12, 2010

This past week two weeks, my mind had been racing with the preparation of a class both written and oral for an exposition in my Labor Economy class. As usual we teamed up to make this one task possible and in the process of researching, collecting and analyzing the data I came across two interesting facts. Our task was to show the tendency of the Panamanian labor force against the the current and mid-term job demand market and its effects over the country's macro economy.

In our teamwork, my job was to analyse the statistics and data found on the internet and make sense of it. One particular fact I found was the unemployment rate and its tendency over the past 20 years since we re-gained our democracy. It showed an almost stable rate of 14% until 2005 when it dropped dramatically to 5.5% . Did not give too much thought to it, until I mentioned it to my uncle who happens to be an economist and whom political point of view is against the imperialism of the developed and rich countries of the world and is more aligned to the cuban revolution and H.Chavez's socialism perspective.

My uncle and I got into a super heated argument about how this 6.5% unemployment rate could or not be true at all. He stated this was a mishandled figure and could not be trusted and went to explain all his point of view which are aligned to the humanistic and socialism way of thinking and I went to dispute the fact that he could not just say this figure is untrue without showing facts and proof that would validate his point of view. My uncle argument ed that even if the rate was that low, all you had to do is open the eyes and look the day to day activities and people and one would just find out that there was no quality life.

Yesterday during our oral presentation, our professor, Dr. Alicia Jimenez just blew my mind in about 15 min. Right before I mentioned the unemployment rate, she interrupted our presentation and explained how this figure was not to be trusted and showed us the formula that was used to come up with that number. In just 10 min. all my uncle had argument ed yesterday, she provided proof, facts and examples that are just irrefutable.

I came home yesterday at night and had to offer and apology to my uncle because he was right and I was wrong...yet again. I explained to him that I am a man of numbers and would not believe something if it is not proven or if it does not offer warranty of been true.

This all led to a whole different conversation, one of those that I will cherish in years to come. He described to me part of his childhood, my dad's and other two uncles' childhood.

He put his mind to work and reminded how not only they were raised to be hard workers but were raised to be smart and self-learners. Turned out that my granddaddy, was a self learner who only got to finish 4th grade, but knew more about philosophy and human history than most of the learned men of his social status. He inherited that to his children who though all different one from another are all wise. Remembers my uncle, granddad would always say, the best inheritance he could provide was to form men and women of good for this society. Now I see where my dad would take that line. Dad would often repeat that while I was growing up as a teenager with a new and much improved focus, namely, Christianity.

On the other hand, my grandma was a hard worker enterpriser and lovely mother and I will add grandma. She carved into my uncles and dad's mind and heart the way of a hard worker who would NOT give up NEVER. My grandma was a very wise woman as well, not only would she raise her four children of hers with ironing, selling goods, cooking fry fish and "tamales"on the flea market and all sort of interesting things apart from her job as a volunteer for the red cross association, but she would plan for the future of her children. She taught all of them how been poor was only temporal and in their mind and hands they had what they needed to overcome it, she taught them how saving every single penny was the best way to invest in the future and she put that into practice. Almost half century ago, when 10K was a ridiculous amount of money for a poor person, she and her family managed to put together that money and buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere, because she knew that in the future that would be worth much more. How does a woman who barely had any education and let alone any master degree in administration and strategy and all of that would be so clear? It turned out that that piece of land is NOW in the middle of one of the most expensive square feet land in the city and is worthed at least 40 times more than what it cost.

I got to see thru the past yesterday at my uncles's feet, maybe as a consequence of an argument that didn't ended well the previous day, but led to this amazing conversation and me thinking even further about it. What a blessing to see where one come and the reason why one is the way one is. I can find on the Scripture how generational curse goes generation after generation, and how Christ breaks the chain and makes us new beings. I am thankful for my grandparents, immigrants to this land who while not knowing Christ until very late in their lives, had values and taught that to their children, my dad and uncles who did just the same when my siblings and I were growing up. I hope to be up to the task when is my turn to raise a new generation of men and women of good, hard workers, self-learners and most importantly godly men and women who may continue pursuing the ongoing change some of us have embraced for this society and dear country.

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