- by Mario Bahamón Dussán
Who is Who?, seeks to highlight and make known the work of the hispanic residents in north Florida outstanding in activities useful to our society
In this edition, Eco Latino wants to highlight the Uruguayan writer and educator Jorge Majfud resident of Jacksonville. Author of the novels: La reina de América (2001), La ciudad de la Luna (2009) y Crisis (2012).
Doctor Majfud was honored with the Excellence in Research Award in Humanities and Letters. Was a finalist in the contest Casa de America and Juan Rulfo. He is one of the most important Latin American Writers from the new generation.
Ecolatino: How did you get to the United States?
Jorge Majfud: A professor of the University of Georgia, that had read my books, invited me to apply for a scholarship at his university. After the GRE and TOEFL, I started a graduate degree where I worked as a teaching assistant. It was an opportunity to devote completely to my first vocation.
EL: What do you miss most about Uruguay?
JM: My parents, my people, the value given to time as a human experience and not as financial resource, all of that doesn’t exist anymore and I can only visit it from time to time in my memory.
How did you get involved with Jacksonville University?
JM: After UGA, I taught for two years at Lincoln University, but my family and I aren’t made for cold weather, snow and shadows. I looked for a city in frontof the ocean and coincidentally there was a request for a Spanish and literature professor at JU. After the process of interviews, I got the offer to come here. JU has one of the most beautiful campus in the country, a team of very professional teachers and students with merits and respectful, in a city with a river, an ocean and a nature that allows outdoor life the whole year.
What message would you give to the Hispanics that want to succeed in the United States?
JM: I always tell my students not to believe me, I tell them to investigate by themselves. But if you ask me, I’d tell them to first reconsider what succeeding means. If it’s about a project that helps the passion for life, it’s welcome. If it’s about being rich and famous, it’s very probable that they’ll turn into poor and unknown. And if any of them gets rich and famous, perhaps he or she will end up like many of the rich and famous we know, which is very discouraging. Isn’t? In the United States there are many possibilities, a lot of good people, almost as much as the other ones. If we consider the terrible initial conditions of many immigrants, the fact that they can support their families, it’s already a bigger success than the one of any new rich. There are very few groups as hardworking and sacrificed as immigrants. Many illegal immigrants don’t even speak English, they don’t have documents, they don’t know the law and they don’t get many of the state benefits and despite all this, they find a job while others who prefer to stay home and benefit from the help of the same state complain that immigrants are taking their jobs. They are shameless. Then, the invisible immigrants expelled from their countries arrive here and are blamed for all the bad things. But the world has always been unfair, so until something is done to improve it, there is a lot that can be done to live the life that we have with as much joy as possible. That’s succeeding, according to me. In any case, the formula is very simple: acquire the sense of responsibility, sacrifice and joy of children. Without that, the rest of the skills are not as useful or are useless on the long run.