13 Jul

SECAP continues to suck

Yesterday, I went to SECAP to pick up my checks. Plural. We’ve been telling them repeatedly that they need to turn in the forms for June AND July at the beginning of July because many volunteers would be leaving before August 1st, when the checks for July are supposedly issued. Make sense so far? It’s really not that complicated. Did they have both checks ready? Of course not. Are they COMPLETE AND TOTAL IDIOTS? Yep.

No July check. Now what? The woman sho hands out the checks is super nice. She gave me my check after explaining that she had just gone to Canada to visit her children and Canadians are so nice. After the one check problem, she told me to go see Maritza Cabezas, who’s the woman in charge of screwing things up. I mean turning in the forms that get the long process of printing checks rolling.

Maritza claimed she had already turned in the form. Her secretary shuffled through two drawers full of unorganized stacks of paper placed on top of an array of pens, pencils, liquid paper, rolls of tape, and some staples. She finally found it and Maritza proudly showed me the official, stamped form. Take this to Mabel Ortega on the 8th floor and ask her where we stand, she said.

Ok. Mabel: “Well, this was turned in yesterday at 4:00. Look at the stamp. This won’t go through for a while.”

Anger rises; text messages are sent; I return to the mother of the Canadians. She sends a guy up to talk to one of the many Fernandos — supposedly an important one. When he returns, the guy nods and says, “ya,” which in Ecuadorian, means any number of things. Possible meanings:

  • “It’s ready now.”
  • “He’s working on processing your payment.”
  • “I talked to him.”
  • “Everything’s set. Your check will be ready by August first.”
  • “You really are a sucker.”
  • Mom of Canadians tells me not to worry. So I go down to Maritza Sin Cabezas to put on some added pressure. “You turned it in yesterday at 4:00. How am I going to get paid?” Some guy named Fernando is standing next to her, occasionally nodding to assure me I’ll get paid. Maritza explains that everything worked out fine with Preeti. “You know,” I say, “this is the sort of thing that will jeopardize the agreement with WorldTeach.” They nodded (especially Fernando). And then I got the guts to say to Maritza, “I don’t understand why you turned in the form yesterday at 4:00, nine days before I’m leaving. You know how long these things take. We told you six weeks ago that I was leaving on the 20th. For God’s sake, can’t you do anything right, you incompetent puta?” Ok, I didn’t actually say that last part, but I said everything else.

    Maritza defended herself by explaining that they make an exception for us, that they have to wait until the course is well underway (apparently meaning halfway finished) to make sure there are no problems, that they don’t ever do this with any other teacher, that this is a special case.

    Fernando nodded. “When will the checks be ready?” I asked. “This week?” He stopped nodding and said, “no, probably Monday.”

    Later, as I was leaving, I thought up some should-have-saids for Maritza: “I’m sorry biznitch, but we ARE a special case. We provide you with competent instruction by native speakers. And when have we ever had problems with the course? When you idiots were on strike, we had classes in students’ houses! I’m leaving in a week. And you turned in a form that normally takes 2 weeks to process a week before I’m leaving? The third week of a four-week class? Is “incompetente” a word in Spanish?”

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