Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Move to the Property

If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, click here. Today will make a lot more sense if you do.

If you did read yesterday’s post (and the two before that), you’ll know that the next morning, I was very relieved.

Raul decided to send the guys to the new property despite not being able to get a hold of Marlon. It would be a temporary situation until Marlon got back on Saturday and decided what to do permanently. So we all climbed in the truck with the boys in the back, covering themselves with plastic due to the rain and drove an hour north on the Pan-American highway to the property.

Also with us was a carpenter from the island who would be replacing the leaky tile roof of the old caretaker’s house, where everyone would be living, with a new zinc roof. As soon as we arrived, the guys unpacked the truck and Raul and I left to look for zinc panels and the miscellaneous items that were needed.

We arrive at the property

After looking in four hardware stores (two in Jinotepe to the north of the property, two in Nandaime to the south) most places didn’t have enough panels and none would take credit, only cash. So we bought groceries, took them to the property so they could start lunch, and we drove back to Rivas.

Home Sweet Home with the Roof Tiles Ripped Off

Once back in Rivas (an hour later), we went to the ferreteria (hardware store) where we had credit, bought the zinc, nails, hammers and a few random electrical items. After stopping by the offices again in San Jorge, we drove back up to the property to take them the materials.

Detailing this out isn’t for the sole pleasure of boring you to death. It’s simply to demonstrate that to get anything done takes a long time. Between long drives, businesses that aren’t guaranteed to have what you want, or take the method of payment you have, and the last minute decisions that are made (as a cultural norm), sometimes communicated, sometimes not, what may have been a day I planned to work on one project, suddenly is eaten up by a completely different project.

If you haven’t spent much time in developing countries, you may think that if people would just make decisions differently, plan ahead, research more, communicate better, things would go more efficiently, more smoothly. And you’d be a little bit right. But the fact is that every decision you make relies on information or actions from other people and if those people don’t have the same diligence you do, you’re still caught making last minute, relatively uninformed decisions.

Once we delivered the tools and materials back to the site, it was evening, and I needed a little break, so I stayed with them for dinner and drove back to the offices later that night.

I had wanted to stay the night with them, not only to be there for them, but because this was the beginning of work on 'my reason for being in Nicaragua', the construction of this property as a new home. But Raul was uncomfortable with me staying there with the lack of facilities, so I demurred for one night and was somewhat relieved when I did finally go home to my much more comfortable bed and bathroom.

The kitchen is black concrete from cooking with firewood. Raul bought a camping gas stove, but with most meals being for nearly 10 people, that was reserved for cooking rice and meat. The pot 'o beans was a constant fixture on the fire.

The are four rooms in the house, the kitchen on one side, which is a concrete add-on, the bedroom on the other side and two center rooms for serving meals and storing all the stuff.

First dinner at the new property. No matter what the circumstances, these guys will find a way to laugh.

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