Monday, October 22, 2007

Flight of the Doofus

We got a new applicant last week -- a kid who came in to the office looking for work based on the recommendation of a Russian acquaintance.

This was kind of strange -- we don't get many walk-ins, as we're pretty out of the way here -- any foreigners that come to work here as teachers either come through the Internet, get transferred from a branch in Moscow or wherever, or come from one of the other schools in town, having known me socially already.

When I met the kid -- 20, I think he is -- he explained that he came to Vodkaberg to work on a charity project, through an internet website he found with the optimistic and utopian name "Volunteers for Peace."

The charity project, it seems, was simply working as a teacher at one of our rival schools, with nothing in payment except a room with a crazy old rich lady and whatever food they provided. This "charity" turned out to be nothing of the sort -- the school was taking a considerable cash payment from the students after his "lessons," which he was thrown into with no preparation or materials at all.

The kid was right off the vine, no doubt -- young and spotty-faced and floppy-haired and looking around with eyes of a rabbit about to be flattened by a Mack truck. As the Russian idiom has it, "He still has mother's milk on his lips."

Nonetheless, he found the courage, or desperation, to get away from the "charity project" after a couple of weeks, and he came to us; we agreed to give him an internship, which would consist of two weeks of watching classes and instructional seminars with me, while he stayed for free in one of our shittiest apartments. Then he'd begin teaching and receiving a salary on the third week.

He lasted a week. He balked at signing a contract of more than three months. He's now waiting for his parents to send him the money to get a plane ticket home. Out of pity we agreed to let him stay in our shittiest apartment, which nobody else wants to live in anyway.

I asked him, in our first interview, why he had wanted to come to Russia.

"I thought it would teach me something about life," he said.

Heh heh.

Once again, I blame the Internet. It's made it far too easy for any moron with a stupid idea to carry that idea out. And of course, it's also made it exponentially easier for those who prey on morons with stupid ideas.

A real cultural experience. Like having your corpse dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by an angry mob.

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