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Single mom makes real money working at home online

Fri, 6 Apr 2012 8:44:12
" You stick an ordinary knife in a guy-makes a slit." (c) patrizia albertyna

10 August 2007


Good morning,

I signed a contract to teach physics and chemistry at a private school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a landlocked country in the middle of South America. The past three weeks have been spent trying to find and set up a house, getting ready for school, and now teaching and learning Spanish.

Bolivia, or at least the city of Santa Cruz, are very different from what I saw in Mwanza, Tanzania. There's a lot of money here in the city and in the east of the country generally. Much less in the high, mountainous west and that is reflected in politics and society.

It is winter now in the southern hemisphere and when the winds come out of the south they bring cold air out of Antarctica so that on several occasions I was sleeping with a sweater, light jacket, hat, wool socks and pants. Like camping in my own bedroom. When the winds come from the north they bring hot and humid air from the Amazon and temperatures soar into the 90's and beyond. It's generally windy and this time of year very dusty. It rains occasionally but when it starts in earnest in is apparently torrential.

There's a movie theater two blocks away so I've already seen more movies here than in the past four years. Most are in Spanish but a few of the more popular ones (The Simpsons, Harry Potter) are in English with Spanish subtitles. Everybody goes out late. 9 or 10pm on a Sunday, 11 on Friday. I asked one of the Bolivian teachers when he finally went home and he replied "oh, it was about 7am".

I hope you are all well.

When replying please copy the following email address rfkadow@gmail.com and paste it into the send box.

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28 October 2006


I was in the computer room watching Hotel Rwanda with a couple of students on one of their laptops when a girl came up to me and said "Sir you know why I don't like to watch this movie?" I said no, I didn't know and then she leaned over and whispered something in my ear. I didn't catch any of it so I asked her to repeat it. Same thing. She had to say it four times before I finally got her; she is 'Nyarwanda' or in English, Rwandan. I asked her if her family was still there and she said yes, her grandparents were there but now they are dead, and she has or had some aunts and uncles. I didn't really know what to say so I said "I'm very sorry" and then some of her friends started talking about something in the movie. Although the movie plays up the guilt and spinlessness of the West I suspect that had everything somehow been opposite (for example, Belgians massacering each other with machetes while Nigerians and Kenyans and Namibians were leaving the country) it would all have come out the same. People are people.

There's a new bar just up the hill; thatched roof, plastic chairs and tables, pool table surrounded by a crowd of young guys who for a few minutes talk about the white guy that just sat down, more young guys walking around selling shoes and baby toys and clothes and newspapers and two waitresses talking at the bar without a care in the world for my eventually empty bottle. It's right by the road so I sit with a paper and watch the cars go by and the university students walking back from their classes and the chickens scratching in the flowerbeds and across the road two lean cattle mowing down the mostly dry grass and down the hill is a large tree is exploding with brilliant red blossoms and underneath one branch are three little stalls where women are selling cabbages and tomatoes and something very much like spinach and occassionally some onions or even a pepper and tiny dried silver fish that we might call sardines. "How far are you willing to go" - or something like that - is the slogan for the organization I'm with in my case the answer is "to the top of the hill".

13 September 2006



I'm the Teacher on Duty this week which means that,
along with another teacher, we're responsible for
everything that happens at the school. Which sounds
like a lot more work than it really is. For example,
this morning I was just sitting in the staff room
reading when a secretary came in and started talking
to me. The thing about understanding another language
is partly getting the words right but it's also about
anticipating the trajectory of the conversation and
I'm not very good at that. It took us about a minute
to sort it out.

At first I thought she said I had to write a letter
and then send a student to town with the letter. Then
it turns out I was to write the letter and send the
student to her house. Then I wasn't to write the
letter, the letter had been written. So I assumed the
student was being expelled from school but she said
no. Then I got a long explanation of how graduation is
on saturday which was confusing because everybody
knows that graduation is coming and what does this
have to do with anything. Well, it all came untangled
but it seems to me the whole thing, from the letter
(the man already knows he's to represent the parents)
to sending the student (the post or an email wouldn't
suffice) to telling me about it, was not really

Interestingly, they always have graduation before the
national exams so that the students can't riot after
the graduation. And by the time they finish their
exams they are mostly tired and simply glad to be free
so they go quickly and quietly.

Last night I was surprised to see the volleyball team
because they were supposed to have left in the
afternoon for the capital. It turns out "the plane
was broken" but I pretty sure I overheard people
saying that there just wasn't any money to support
them. It's not that money isn't there, it's that the
planning happened either the day before they were to
leave or possibly the morning they were to leave.

A similar thing happened to me once. A student had
written an essay and she wanted me to proof read it.
The deadline came and I hadn't seen her so I assumed
she had found somebody else or just sent it off as is.
In fact about 10am on the deadline day she came into
the office just as I was about to go to teach and
asked me if I could read it over just then and there
and then she would try to get someone to mail it that
day. I told her I'd have more time tomorrow and when
she looked crest-fallen I said maybe later in the
afternoon and she said it had to be mailed that
morning and I told her I had to go teach. As I walked
to the classroom I thought about the time in 9th grade
when I started my leaf project at about 6pm the day
before it was due. And the millions of people who
stay up all night doing their taxes the day before
they are due. That's why the world should be run by


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05 September 2006



The thing that really makes me homesick is country and
western music from about 20 years ago. A couple of
weeks back we were in the library marking exams and
one guy had his radio and I think he wasn't very happy
about marking exams according to a schedule, he
prefered to do it on his own time. The problem is
that when teachers mark the exams just any old time we
end up posting the results for the May monthly exams
around the first week in August. So he had his radio
tuned to some station and first we listened to the
Bellamy Brothers sing "If I said you had a beautiful
body would you hold it against me" and then Kenny
Rogers sang "Ruby, don't take your love to town" and
then others that I recognized the tune but I couldn't
tell you who was singing. I was glad I was the only
one at the table (we already finished marking I was
just handwriting the results on the report forms which
takes about as long as actually marking) because my
eyes were full of water.

I came into town today because it's vacation, there
are very few of my students left at school and there
just isn't much going on. I could help the other
teacher mark his papers but they get paid about twenty
cents a script and he could make about $10 so I don't
want to cut into his profit. I walked into the
library this morning and poked around for a few
minutes. I figured if he wanted help he could ask for
it, if not he could just sit quiet. We really don't
have electricity these days except at night and
occassionally on the weekends. We used to have a
schedule: every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
we had electricity but these days it seems random.
For example, this morning we had it until about 9am
and then again from 10:30-11:30 and then it seemed to
go out for good.

So I came into town with a book and then bought a
magazine so I've got Huckleberry Finn in one hand and
this weeks Economist in the other hand which has a
picture of Manhatten just after the towers collapsed.
I can't decide if I prefer 19th century America or
21st century America but I guess it's not my choice

Last night I learned that a modern egg (meaning the
chicken which laid it was vaccinated and maybe given
some chemicals in the water ) costs about ten cents
and a regular chemical free egg which is a bit smaller
costs fifteen cents but tastes better but is only
available in town and a rotten egg costs about twenty
cents because these are used in witchcraft and the
seller knows the buyer is going to make some profit
from the egg. I'm pretty smart though, what I've
found is that if I buy a chemical laden egg for 10
cents and just wait for about a month it becomes a
rotten egg for free. The problem is nobody believes a
white guy can do magic. They'd find it hard to
believe how much money Ms. Rowling has made proving
them wrong.


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02 September 2006



Whenever one weather pattern phases into another the
wind gusts fiercely and randomly all night and since
plenty of things aren't bolted down (aluminum roofing
on the chicken coops, for example, is held down with
large, or not so large, rocks...hell, for all I know
my roof might be held down by rocks) it makes a hell
of a racket. Or wracket.

I went into the library this morning where teachers
were marking the terminal exams. I don't know why I
went actually, I've finished marking but I guess there
were people there and now that we're on break I wanted
to grab a couple of books. The school library has a
lot of books. But, like many personal libraries, it's
more for the look. Tanzania by it's own admission
does not have a reading culture. Though, like so many
other aspects of culture, that is starting to change.
So I grabbed Steinbeck's The Pearl.

This is a pefect example of a book I might have been
assigned in high school and would have thought awfully
dull. Read it too soon and it goes right by you, read
it too late and it's just a rehashing of things you've
already figured out, but get it at the right time, and
I think this afternoon was a very good time, and it's
an excellent book. So that's one day of vacation
down, 30 to go.

The school has a volleyball team and they are
evidently very good because won a regional competition
and in about two weeks are going to board an army
airplane (I didn't realize Tanzania had an airforce)
and go to Kilimanjaro for a national competition.
They even got a cup. Like a trophy. They are
remaining at school during break and practicing
several times a day. It's just like volleyball
practice when I was in high school except they don't
have uniforms (actually that's not true, you're tax
dollars - funnelled through USAID - purchased uniforms
that said on the back something like "sex is trouble"
and on the front "choose life". The front is probably
an easier sell. At least to the
"I'm-older-than-12-but-younger-than-85" crowd.) Right.
And we don't have a gym but the volleyball field is
outside down by the rice fields in the valley and in
the mornings and evenings when they practice (it's
cooler then) it is breezy and beautiful.

I, on the other hand, am getting fat. I am routinely
told by students that I am getting a belly and just
yesterday one tall pretty girl told me I had fat
cheeks. I assume she was talking about my face.


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18 August 2006



In the past few months I've started easing my way into
a job search and interestingly enough the thing I'm
most qualified for is intelligence gathering for the
department of defense (background in hard science and
international experience). I have to admit that
Mission Impossible 3 looked a lot more exciting than
Volunteers. There's that part where he's sliding off
the glass roof of the building where he wants to steal
the Rabbit's Foot and my Korean neighbor turns to me
and asks me "Is that possible?" I told her it's only
happened to me twice but that some people do it a
couple of times a year and that America is a very
exciting place and she ought to come to visit
sometime. She still let me use her bathroom (twice)
and we ate something that resembled dried fish skin.
It was really good with mayonaisse. But then what

Yesterday students started their exams so I went to
the place where I was supposed to supervise with
another teacher. I handed out all the exams and all
the papers and about 15 minutes after we started the
other teacher showed up. When we were finished she
told me she had to go into town and wouldn't be around
in the afternoon but she was sure I could handle it by
myself. So this morning I decided to blow of the
invigilation time-table and come into town myself. The
thing is money. Imagine how American schools would be
if teachers were payed $10,000/year. Or in my case

But listen, the point of this is that I'm coming back
in four months and I want a job. So if any of you hear
about a teaching position for physics or math at a
pretty good school let me know. The problem is that
the students here are extremely diligent. Teaching in
the US may well be climb up in pay and a climb down in
job satisfaction. Alternatively if you have wealthy
daughtors you're looking to have off I'm in the


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