The inexpensive close up filter set (with the +1, +2, and +4 lenses
) available online does a decent job. Not fantastic, but usable. My wife has the Hoya set for her kit lens (on a Panasonic G1) and the +2 seems to be the most useful. I think it cost around US$50 for the 52mm set, or you can pay more for the multicoated version. For close up work I think I'd choose my kit zoom lens and then mount the close up filters. Image quality is not anywhere near as good as a dedicated macro lens, but for 1/10 the price you can start shooting now.
The 50/1.8 would make a nice portrait lens on an APS-C crop sensor camera like a 60D or Rebel, but you'd definitely need close up lenses to do any macro work with it. But for indoor portraits using available light, it would make a great choice. So it really comes down to what you think you'll do most.
On a personal note, I'm sorry to hear that conditions are so bad where you live. Good luck and I hope they improve soon.