chip wiegand


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

Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.

Don Miguel Ruiz

A mixed bag of thoughts and musings.

July 17, 2016

A mixed bag of thoughts and musings today.

To start with a short story. One typically beautiful day when I was walking to a students home for their lesson... I am walking along and up ahead of me, maybe half a block, are two women also walking, in the same direction. I didn't really notice anything special or particular about them as I could only see them from behind and a half-block back. But I see one of them stop under a tree alongside the road, between the sidewalk and the road. I thought maybe they were just stopping tO rest in the shade, it was a hot day as is normal here. But then one of the women starts jumping, so right away I knew she wasn't resting, and it was too hot to start exercising, even in the shade. But she was jumping and reading up as much as she could. I though maybe she was trying to reach a mango. Mango trees are everywhere in this city, along the streets; they are just shade trees. Often they are too close together for most of the fruit to ripen. So I am walking up there and I read the place where the women are, and the jumping women stops jumping, looks at me with a big smile which meant "please help me reach the fruit". I walked over to where she was and locked up, and there it was, not the red-orange-yellow colors of a delicious ripe mango, but a round, brown ball of a fruit. A fruit I have never seen before. At least I was guessing it was a fruit, because of the fact that the woman was jumping for it so exuberantly. I reached up and picked the fruit off the branch (no jumping required). I handed her the precious brown fruit, and she immediately held it tight and said "Gracias amor". I smiled and said "de nada. Que es esta?" The women replied "Nispero". I know nispero only as a raspado, and those raspados are delicious. I had never seen an actual, read nispero fruit before. And I must say, it didn't look like anything to get excited about. I was about the size of a peach. Round, not oval or oblong, but round, with a brown skin. Since then I have seen at least 4 more nispero trees along the streets that I normally walk along, and in all those trees all the fruit that is within reach is picked, so the upper half of the trees are loaded with nisperos that are difficult too reach without a ladder. This time of the year the fruit are ripe or ripening. The mangos, the nisperos, are ready to pick and eat now. The guanabana will be soon. And the few ackee trees that are in the city are close, maybe another month or so. The mangos and nisperos are common along the streets, the others not so much. But now is the time that fresh fruit are available everywhere, and these fruits are unbelievably delicious.

I love what I do here in Colombia - teaching English and seeing the lives of people and families improve because of it. But it isn't easy. I teach private students only. And the reason for this is because no school or business will hire me until I get legal. But getting legal is proving to be more difficult than expected. Even some of my students are surprised by this. But it is not difficult due to paperwork or other governmental issues, it is difficult due to a lack of money. Teaching private students is wonderful, but I cannot live on this alone. If it weren't for my landlord I wouldn't be here doing this at all. So I live from week to week on the little I earn, as it is enough for food, but nothing else. And I don't mind. Because, as I wrote above, I love doing this work. My students are very appreciative of my helping them improve their English. And improving their English helps them improve their jobs. If a persons job situation improves, then their entire family benefits, and this will last the rest of their lives. I may not make enough money to live on, but I am living, and I love what I do. I would trade it for any other job back in the States.

I have added more pictures to the Barranquilla photo albums.

Last week my cell phone fell into some water, and got completely soaked, and died. Even after drying for a few days, it will not turn on at all. I put the simcard in my ancient Blackberry, which has problems of its own, but now I have a phone again, even if it is very, very old. At least I don't have to worry about anyone trying to steal it from me. hehehe

Return to the list