Hi everyone, I know my blogposts have been long. And apparently I have been doing it all wrong. Lucky for you though, I will keep a more pleasant-to-read layout.
Today I would like to write about jobs. Again. In the life of a (previously) unemployed, non-beneficiary of social services, that just remains important. Are the extranjeros, the gringos, really held in such high regard? Or is it all just a scheme to attract foreign investment – which is arguably not at all such a good thing on the road to independence & to prevent pillaging of the country. So is it?
They were equals in the project. The Colombian man knew the University. The culture. The situation …and he got paid one third of what the Dutchman got.
After some months here, I am sure. Yes. There is a certain love for foreigners, also called Malinchismo, or malinchism. This concept refers to the attraction to one can feel towards foreigners, their values, in favour of the national culture and is used in a pejorative way. The term is derived from La Malinche, the indigenous lover of the Spanish invader Hernán Cortés in the early 16th century. She played a big role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, as interpreter, lover, advisor, and intermediary. Of course she is seen as a traitor to her own people, as of big importance in the spreading of Christianity, and maybe even saving her own people (the ‘Nahua’) from the Aztecs. Needless to say, she was a big catalyst in the conquest of Mexico. Without her it would have happened anyway, considering the warfare inferiority.
Where was I? Love for foreigners! From getting elaborate help in hospitals to careful occasion-guides in the streets, this is not just hospitality – people actually express their interest, excitement, and awe for the Western world, in ways of, e.g., asking whether we are really that rich, “right”, there are good social services, “right”, talking quite literally about their warm feelings about “our” culture and people, stating that Mexicans in general Mexicans are just nice to foreigners, not necessarily towards each other. I in no way mean that everyone has this attitude here, but it is definitely common.
So, how does this translate into hard figures? Salary? Get to the point!
Anecdote time. A Colombian friend to a Dutch professor of mine did a project together with him for the university he was working for, in Bogotá. They were equals in the project. The Colombian man knew the University. The culture. The situation …and he got paid one third of what the Dutchman got. Another anecdote? For Western ‘English teachers’ (meaning: they are in a way educated (just educated, no specifics), can speak English, and try to work with kids) it is not unlikely to earn three times as much as the national teacher who is actually studied in education.
Finally, I’m no longer a “ni-ni”!
So have I exploited this so far? Not totally! Although I have to say, I have started working. My god. Finally, two weeks ago, I started teaching Business English at Procter and Gamble, with HSBC probably following in another 1.5 week. It’s few hours, but it pays a little above Dutch minimum wage.
Finally, I’m no longer a “ni-ni” – a ni estudia, ni trabaja: not studying, not working. I am actually contributing to society… although I am still officially a tourist. Well, the minimum wage is 4.66 – 4.92 USD per day (although there are different minimum wages for more specific job descriptions). With my salary and the current 7 hours a week, I still make 3.5 times as much as 5 full days at minimum wage. And I need it, considering my girlfriend and I are going to find an apartment for just the two of us…!
All in all, at least I am moving forwards. Hell, this might start to get pretty good.