chip wiegand

Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.

There are many who look, but only some who see.

-- Chief Dan George

Me I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

Chip Wiegand

I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

Visited Usiacuri, a new kitten, expatriots

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Finally, I'm updating my website. So what has been happening?

One weekend we took a day trip out to a very small town, here referred to as a village, called Usiacuri. It's about 25 miles south of Barranquilla. It's a nice little town with no large businesses of any kind. There's a park with a soccer field, and at the side of it a steep hillside to climb, and at the top of the hillclimb is a statue and a view of the historic church across the small valley. There are a few small tiendas (neighborhood grocery stores, but they are very small, usually one or two rooms in a persons house that have been converted into the tienda), one or two similar sized hardware stores, a couple similar sized restaurants, and a community arts center. Oh, and a similar sized shoe store. I didn't see any gasoline stations in the town. And the very old church that sits on top of a small hill overlooking the entire town. The town is known for the arts center, where many residents are involved in making baskets and other things from Iraca palm. The area has been populated since the early 1500's.

Hmm, what else has been happening in the last few months? I've been working a lot - I spend a lot of time walking to and from students. Though now my monthly walking distance has dropped (my students are closer to my home now) from 175 kilometers per month to only 100 kilometers per month. And I'm still working on the English learning website. Now finally about halfway finished. All of the lessons/quizzes/tests are finished for the A1 level, and I'm through the fitst 7 units for the A2 level. The one problem I will face is in recording the audio - I can't do it all myself, I'm going to need one or two more people for doing conversations. I haven't found another native English speaker here, yet, to help me with that. There are a few, not many, I just have to find them.

We have a cat now. One evening Sandra and I were walking to a supermarket, and we came across a kitten crying and wandering on the sidewalk, alone. We stopped and petted it, Sandra picked it up, talked to it, and then put it down and we started to walk away. The kitten followed us. We stopped again, picked it up and put it into a nearby garden, expecting it to stay there in the safety of the garden. We walked on, and the kitten followed us again. This time Sandra picked it up and asked me if she could keep it. She put it into her pocket, he seemed to be quite happy. We talked about it for a couple minutes and I said Okay. So we turned around and took the kitten home, put it in the patio with a bowl of milk, closed the door and left again for the supermarket. When we got home he had drank all the milk. The next day we bought it some food and he made himself at home with us. I got an empty box, cut it down a bit, and put in some dirt (actually sand, as there is virtually no dirt here, just sand). And the kitten took to it immediately. He has never gone potty on the floor. We believe he was born outdoors, a feral cat, and so never needed to be house trained. That was maybe 3 months ago. Now he climbs all over everything, even the security bars on the window, and climbs up to the awning, then onto the roof. He doesn't like going out front, it's too noisy and too many cars/trucks/busses. He doesn't like that. And that's a good thing. His name is Tom, he's black with white from his nose, chest, and stomach, and his feet. He's a wonderful little guy to have with us.

I've read that there are around 9 million U.S. citizens living overseas. These citizens are supposed to, are required (by law), to pay the US Government income taxes (actually, all taxes as if they are living in the US). Yet the US Government does not provide services to these millions of citizens, services that other US resident may receive such as roads, hospitals, unemployment insurance, etc. Nor do US citizens living overseas receive US government protection of local property (legal, courts, police, etc). Such services and protections are provided by the country in which these people are resident in and pay a fair share of taxes to. In other words, he US Government, in exchange for its taxation of these US citizens, as if they are residents of the US, does not provide any local services or local protection of property.

I believe, as do most, if not all, of the expatriates from the US, that the US claim of tax jurisdiction over residents of other countries is not justified.

An unofficial survey was done on Twitter about what term might be used to describe this double-taxation by the US government, and the term "Kafkaesque" won out over Orwellian, Catch-22, and Dystopian.

But I think another term, and a better name, for it all is "Tributary Slavery". Samuel Adams coined the term in relation to taxation without representation. Certainly today Tributary Slavery is a more applicable term to American citizens living overseas than it was to the Colonists in 1764. Today there are no services or protection of property in exchange for the taxation, unlike the situation 253 years ago. While US citizens overseas may vote, there is no representation in the true sense of the word as the votes get divided among the 50 states, and there is no representative only representing US citizens overseas. Therefore, the US Government to which we pay taxes does not represent me or the millions of other expatriot citizens. Evidence of this has been an enduring situation that Kafka might appreciate, and which Samuel Adams and the other Founding Fathers would find deplorable.

Please consider helping me help people here in Colombia. I am not a foundation or organization that will allow you to use tax-deductions for your donations, I am just a guy who is helping people improve their lives and the lives of their families. It's not easy to do alone, and there are needs that I simply cannot afford. So, if you feel inclined to help me in this journey, there are links in the right column for doing just that. I know many people won't send money, but you can still help, do you have any books that would be good for a new English learner? Beginner, elementary, and intermediate level books are something I need. Contact me for info about shipping books here to Colombia. Thank you.


Why I don't go to church anymore

June 6, 2017

Why I don't like to go to church

First let's look at the word "church". Where does it come from? What does it refer to? The Greek word "ekklesia" is the root word the English translated to "church". But what does "ekklesia" mean? The literal meaning is "called out", or "a calling out". It does not refer to a building of any kind, nor does it even refer to a place, or location. It refers to a group of people (Acts 19:30-41), the children of Israel (Acts 7:38), and the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:25, 32). In the bible ekklesia can refer to the group of believers in a particular location(1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1-2), it can refer to individual believers (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13), and it can also refer to the universal group of all people who have trusted Christ through the ages (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:23-27).

Some say: If you don't vote, you can't complain.
The real truth is this: If you do vote, you can't complain.

November 24, 2016

If you don't vote, complain

Think about this: The person who does not vote (and does so out of thoughtful deliberation and self-education of all the issues, rather than mere laziness), is governed without his consent. This person never took any positive action to accept this 'social contract'. If government gets its 'just powers' from the consent of the governed, then the government can have no just power over the person who didn't vote, or voted for the losing candidate. Yet the fact that the government has power over him is unfortunately undeniable, but there is no justice in that power - and so, no injustice in any actions the non-voter may take to limit or evade that power, except those actions which are, at face value, lawless regardless of the current status of the Government.


Chip Wiegand

I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

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Expat in Colombia - Where Expats Blog


To make a transfer via Western Union (do not use Moneygram) send it to my wife -

Name: Sandra Milena Cabrera Vargas

City: Barranquilla

State: Atlantico (may not be necessary)

Country: Colombia

Then be sure to send me an email with the MTCN number.

Free counters! - RSS Channel - Regions - Americas

Human remains found in the western Mexican state of Michoacán have been identified as journalist Salvador Adame, who was missing for more than a month, a state prosecutor said Monday.
Efforts to find 31 people still missing after a tourist boat capsized in northwest Colombia have been suspended overnight due to thunderstorms.
A 22-year-old protester died after being shot three times in the chest by a national guard at point blank range in Caracas, Venezuela.
While politicians in Washington debate building a wall between the United States and Mexico, Americans who've moved south of the border have a different perspective on the country they've come to call home.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck off of Guatemala's Pacific coast Thursday, the US Geological Survey reports. The quake was recorded at about 24 miles (38 km) from the city of Puerto San Jose, according to the USGS.
President Trump said designs for his proposed US-Mexico border wall are already in the works, telling an Iowa crowd the wall may be a solar panel energy saving wall.
Secretary General António Guterres' announcement that he would pull the $400 million plan designed to help Haiti's cholera outbreak, which the UN played a role in bringing to the island, is a huge betrayal, writes Stephen Lewis.
President Donald Trump rankled Mexico again, this time calling it the second deadliest country in the world. Mexico quickly countered, saying Trump's claim is wrong. So who's right?
Bruised, battered and facing financial ruin after the 2013 America's Cup defeat, the Kiwis have transformed themselves into the team to beat four years on.
Behind a bookshelf and through a hidden door in a Buenos Aires, Argentina, suburb, police have discovered a dusty, secret room holding a massive trove of Nazi-era artifacts.

Barranquilla Life


Winners of FICICA 2017 were announced this week. On Saturday, April 13th, the Cine de la Calle’s FICICA (International Short Film Fest) gave its last showcase of shorts in the acoustic conch of the Sagrado Corazón Park. During the six days, they had workshops, conferences, and of course short film presentations. This event brought together

The post Winners of FICICA 2017 Short Film International Festival appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


To come up with a cool, innovative present for my mom each year is not an easy task for me. I mean, there is her birthday in February, Christmas in December and Mother’s Day in May… plus any old day, I-was-thinking-of-you present, but those are easy because they don’t require planning for a specific day.

The post GUIDE: Bowling for Mother’s Day at The Fun Zone appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


It’s been a long year since I enjoyed a December-night of dancing to North and Latin American retro music with friends, who are now spread out across the globe. It was at the Oro Puro bar. I remember the lights around us; the menu full of cocktails and food; retro movie and series posters with

The post When was the last time you enjoyed dancing to Disco and 80’s retro music? appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


On Sunday, April 30th Children’s Day was celebrated on the streets Barrio Abajo with a series of ludic activities. Fabila Acosta and Faleimy Delgado from Fundación Casa de Hierro got together teachers who volunteered to give back some of their know-how to the children. The kids from the neighborhood had fun painting murals with artist

The post Photos: Children’s Day in Barrio Abajo appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


A cyclist controversy occurred last month. While the two biggest Colombian representatives of the sport that have given more glories to our country (Nairo Quintana and Mariana Pajon) heated the debate on the administration of the Colombian Cycling Federation, Sofia Arrieta and Gabriela Bolle stand out winning races at the United States Cycling Elite National

The post In the middle of the national cyclist controversy, two local riders excel in international events. appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


Outdated stereotypes and age-old mottos, unions and left-wing student movements amassed on the streets; a now established repertoire for international workers’ day demonstrators who are ironically there precisely to march against the establishment. Walking in complete calm and civility under the scorching sun and punished by the relentless heat, Barranquilla’s demonstrators completed the traditional march

The post May Day: International Worker’s Day March in Barranquilla appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


DJs Mr. Bignayo and Hoyo Negro brought down the house at the presentation night of the 17th edition of FICICA, the City’s Short Film Festival. The event that took place last Friday night at the Alianza Francesa started with a press conference at the AF Library, lead by the director of FICICA, Harold Ospina, and

The post FICICA, Barranquilla´s Street Film Festival opens on high note with an opening party and press conference at Alianza Francesa. appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


Santo Tomás, a town on the bank of the Magdalena river, neighboring Barranquilla keeps alive one of Holy Week’s most controversial and remarkable traditions.  Photos by: Pacho Manrique “The discipline” soars, drawing a semicircle through the air, before cracking as its’ beads find their fleshy mark. An aching body, swollen from physical punishment, is about

The post Culture: Peculiar Penance in Santo Tomás appeared first on Barranquilla Life.


Holy Sweet Season During Lent and the Easter season, Barranquilleros enjoy the most delicious sweets. These candies and treats are home-made, and have become a popular tradition in the city during this special time of year. Enjoy the combination of the sweets and the breeze while taking a walk around the city this Holy season.

The post A sweet tradition during Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa) appeared first on Barranquilla Life.