Happy Monday! Time for your favorite telenovela, set deep in the Guatemalan jungle. After the handyman debacle last month while we were away, we are so relieved he quit. Once he was gone, the carpenter who had been working as well during our month of absence admitted that he never saw the handyman when he came in at 7am or left at 4pm. The guy was supposed to sleep there every night and leave around 9am to come back at 4pm. Considering the super high electric bill, we think he came in around 6pm and just left all the lights on until early morning when he would come around to shut them down, pretending someone was in.
Our hens are back to laying one egg a day each, when they were barely laying one egg a day between the 9 of them when we came back, which tells us that he couldn’t be bothered to feed them. Strangely, he went through two 100lb bags of corn that he did charge us more than what we usually buy them for, so not only was he starving our animals, he was feeding his with our food. When he came back with his daddy on the day he resigned and his dad asked why we were firing him, knowing in retrospect everything he did and didn’t do in our absence, I think that was the highest insult to our intelligence to think we were so blind not to notice. So. Happy. He. Is. Gone.
His daddy had taken responsibility of his motorcycle debt, and we are almost shocked he paid it off in full. How he came up with almost $1,000 in three weeks is something we don’t understand, it is not like the man had income protection or three months of savings in the bank.
We replaced the dead rooster with a new one who doesn’t fight with the turkey or goose, but doesn’t seem much interested in the ladies or in a hurry to give baby chicks either.
The carpenter is now the only staff left at the house. He is a discreet teenager who always kept to himself even when half a dozen builders, including his brother, were working on the house. He comes every morning at 7am on the dot, in a place where punctuality is a rare occurrence. And he is a bright boy in spite of his shyness, he has suggested a few clever improvements around the house and has done a great job altogether. We asked him if he wanted to stay on as a full time handyman and he said yes, but that he would like a few days off here and there, as he bought a house on his own and needed to work on it. So we came to an arrangement that three mornings per week, his girlfriend would come clean our house while he did what he had to do at home, and between the two of them they would be one full time worker for us.
I have said many times before that I don’t like maids and didn’t want to have one, but BF was becoming really insistent and once again I had to pick my battles. The girl is Spanish, she came here with a Spanish boyfriend who owns a hotel nearby but left him for this shy teenage carpenter/gardener who seems to be the love of her life, and she is obviously not working for the thrill of a Guatemalan wage but to relieve the boy to go work on their house. She is discreet and efficient too, so no complaints so far.
We had another storm last week as well, thankfully we now have an emergency routine as soon as the wind starts to blow, to take the boat out of the water and bring everything inside the house. When the heavy rain followed, with the winds still strong, we were quietly enjoying the show from the comfort of the dry, solid new room… until it started to rain inside! The roof is a solid layer of concrete but the water was coming through the stones of the wall! For visual reasons we didn’t pour too much concrete in between the stones, thinking about all those old houses in Europe that are just stones and a little sand and do not get wet in winter. We forgot two things. First, the strong side winds have a similar effect when it rains to someone pointing a water hose with full pressure against the wall. Second, those European houses have wide roofs, while our roof covers exactly the footprint of the house. So even the slightest wind would make it rain against the wall.
It was really raining a lot and pretty impressive to see all the water running from the walls, but no damage was done, we will just have to figure out a way to close those holes while keeping the nice aspect of a stone wall.
Those storms should not be happening, BF and his family have owned ranches around here since the early 80s and he was just as surprised as I was with those mini hurricanes. Generally hurricanes hit Belize, sometimes the Pacific Coast of Guatemala but almost never the North of the country.
On the 90 acres development, things are slow. The mayor was supposed to give us a list of all the required documentation to provide so they can approve the development. Since there is no post office they haven’t, and I think it is weird they are taking 6 weeks to provide that list, as we should be treated like any other developer and the rules should be previously set for anyone to consult. I don’t like that we are getting the special treatment.
I am reading Atlas Shrugged from Ayn Rand at the moment and this is a fascinating read about how screwed the world would be if people like the ones working for this council had all power to stop private enterprise for the sake of equality between men.
The book talks about a man who has invented some kind of revolutionary metal but shouldn’t be allowed to produce it because all business opportunities should be shared with less successful entrepreneurs, and other kind of nonsense that makes me perfectly relate to his situation and frustration. Like when his mother comes to ask him to give a job to his inept brother and he refuses, she says:
“That’s your cruelty, that’s what’s mean and selfish about you. If you loved your brother, you’d give him a job he didn’t deserve, precisely because he didn’t deserve it—that would be true love and kindness and brotherhood. Else what’s love for? If a man deserves a job, there’s no virtue in giving it to him. Virtue is the giving of the undeserved.”
Read that book if you get the chance, it is amazing. There is a lot of resentment in my region for people who have more money, and understandably so because of the colonization, but that was 500 years ago and it may be time to move on, and recognize that some of us did have to work hard to get to where we are today and for that you can’t blame Christopher Columbus. Playing the victim and sitting there waiting for the government to give you a handout won’t get you far.
Anyway, we are still progressing with the works, the wall is finished and so is the entrance gate, we have closed it at the moment as many curious people came in, other were too lazy to go through the village and its speed bumps so they took the shortcut home through our land, and we aren’t maintaining roads for their freeloading comfort. The negotiations with the council will determine if we keep it 100% private or transfer the roads (and maintenance responsibility) to them so everyone can use them.
We are also maintaining the grass, after burning everything to the ground a couple of months ago, with the heavy rains the grass is greener and thicker than ever, it is too humid to burn so we had to hire a few guys with machetes to cut the grass and bushes and keep the land neat.
Oh and Mrs Duck had the cutest four little ducks this week :). They are much brighter yellow than the picture shows, like they could glow in the dark! Their daddy is white so I don’t know how they came to be that yellow with a black mommy but they sure are funny!