Monday, March 10, 2008

A really terrible situation...

Before anyone gets worried, I am not talking about something that has happened to Matt or myself, we are doing great. However, not long ago I learned about this horrible story that happened to a fellow foreign teacher. Actually, today I was going to go and make a donation towards his medical costs because we finally got paid (it seems like we have been waiting a lifetime for a full paycheck). This story has been covered in the Korean media and really brings to light some negative things, or at the least things to beware of, about teaching in Korea.

Bill Kapoun was 26, just like me. I never met him and now never will because on February 24 his apartment caught fire and he was left severely burned and disfigured. Fire safety is often distressing and laughable in this country (remember all the descending lifelines aka ropes I've taken pictures of? Remember the 2nd floor door that opened to a platform and a huge drop at our school last year?) and his apartment did not have a smoke detector, a fire extinguisher or even an alternative exit. Also, since he was working part time and didn't opt for or ask for health insurance he also was uninsured. This is often a huge problem here. I think we weren't properly insured last year, even though it was in our contract. This year we do have insurance (at least they are deducting a portion off our paycheck for insurance but I think I will double check) but looking around our apartment I realize we also have no smoke detector or fire extinguisher. We are only on the 2nd floor though so if a fire broke out we could jump out one of our windows and be okay.

Bill's family is going through a terrible time and they still are facing huge costs for the medical services that he was provided with. He just passed away over the weekend and I am really saddened by this news. His girlfriend also died in the fire. There are numerous websites dedicated to this story that you can access here and here. If you can, donate some money to the family because even though Bill has passed away the bills for the operations and procedures he went through are still staggering. Or at the very least, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It could have been us.

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