chip wiegand

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

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

-- Mark Twain

I need a little help from my friends

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Just a half hour ago my landlady came here to ask me for the remainder of the rent money. Actually, they have been here twice today asking for it. But this second time was the ultimatum - pay up or get out. I tried to explain in my very basic spanish that although I don't have it at this time I do have 2 or possibly 3 more students starting, but not until March. They don't like that. They want their money and they want it asap. I will try to borrow some money from a friend here, but I don't expect him to be able to loan all of what I need, I do hope for half though. And I hope that will appease my landlady.

I would love to find a cheaper apartment but that is much harder to do. First, I don't have money for the remainder of my February rent, which also means I don't have money to get into another apartment. Second, apartments are hard to come by here. People just don't move about here like they do in some other countries. Once in a home, they stay put, forever.

I implore people reading this, please help me out here. I am doing what I can. It is not my fault the students I have are not dependable. It's not my fault they cancel every other lesson. I do have 2 more certain students starting March 2. And a third will start after Carnaval has finished. So I am not just sitting around doing nothing.

I also have a new flyer that I made to take to hotels. I have compiled a list of the top 30 hotels in Barranquilla. I have made a flyer that I need to get printed, but that will cost money that I don't have. I also will make a flyer for restaurants, but again, it requires money I don't have to get it printed. Barranquilla is not a tourist destination city like Cartagena or Bogota. But, Barranquilla is getting many more tourists every year. They estimate there were 1.75 million foreign visitors to Barranquilla in 2013. The majority come from the USA. I want to tap into that industry. But that requires money, something I just don't have.

I know people reading this can share, and a couple have, so this is not directed at them. I also know that many people will only share if they can get a tax break by doing so. So my question is this: Why is it that you only share if you get a tax break in return? Where in the bible does it say to share what God has given you only when you get something in return? Is it going to hurt you to share a little of what you have? Fact is, whatever you have is much more than what I don't have. Just an FYI - what do I have here? Let's see - a bed, a plastic beach chair (the low kind that is lower than a standard chair), a very small round table (actually more like a side table or end table) which is in the kitchen and has my two-burner cooker on it (I have no stove/oven), a very small "desk", which is probably more like a sewing desk, a small "RV" size refrigerator. That's all. The small desk is next to my bed and my bed is my "desk chair". I have no other furniture of any kind. Much of my clothes are still in my suitcase because I have no drawers to put them in. Oh, I do have a fan, one that is on a stand on the floor. But it's broken. A gust of wind blew through one day last month and blew the fan over onto the floor and one of the blads broke off. I don't have money to get it fixed. Hopefully I can get it fixed before the end of the "windy season", when it will be hot and the air will not be moving.

So what do I need in the form of a little help? Honestly, in dollars it is very little, in pesos it's a lot. In dollars it's just $250. That's 500,000 Colombian Pesos. It's 2000 pesos per 1 dollar. That will get me caught up on my rent, repay my landlady for paying my electric bill for two months because I didn't have money to do so. And it will give me money for food. Then hopefully in March the new students will pay at the beginning of the month, for the entire month, as they agreed to do (though other students have agreed to do that, but then they don't).

Ok, enough talk about needing money. Today I walked to Portal del Prado (a mall), a 1 hour 15 minute walk (I have no money for the bus), and then waited for my student, who didn't come. That happened once last week also. Oh, that reminds me, my cellphone died, completely, irrepairably, died. It's a very old Blackberry, which had been working faithfully for many years, but it apparently just had enough and it gave up the ghost. So I have no phone. So new students/potential students can't call me.

My new friends at church have helped me a bit - one family asked me to help them with painting a home they have, so I did earn some money that way, and used it to pay part of the rent. And the same family also gave me a couple shirts, that was nice of them, too. My clothes are getting worn out. They were old when I left Arizona a year and a half ago. The updates to my learning english web site are going slow because sitting here on the side of my bed using my laptop on this tiny desk is very uncomfortable. My back gets quite sore from the bad positioning. So I can't sit here too long, so progress is slow on the web site.

There's a cricket in my apartment. He's chirping away like there's no tomorrow, right now. There's also a cockroach running around here somewhere. I caught a glimpse of it, but it disappeared. I just squashed one of the buggers a little while ago. And these are the big ones, maybe 1 1/2 inches long. And they fly. Not very well apparently, but that is how they get in.

Carnaval is under way. Barranquilla hosts the second largest Carnaval in the world, only Rio has a bigger Carnaval. Last weekend was the first big parade. The big weekend is coming still, and major concerts (which are rather expensive). The city lights up for Carnaval, especially with lots of music, loud, everywhere, almost 24/7 for a week or more. This year I am not going to the parades. I did that last year. It's just too crazy there.

So, how do you help? There is a link on the right, the logo for Western Union. Click on it and a pop-up box has the instructions. That is the quickest way to help. The link to Crowdrise also works, but will take longer for me to get the money as it involves more work. So for these immediate needs use Western Union.

That's about it for now. Please consider helping me if you can. If you already have, thank you, again. Much appreciated!


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