Meet “la tienda”, the shop. This is the best stocked shop in the village. From tomatoes, onions, potatoes and a few jalapeno peppers to dried goods, cans, and basic household items, you can find many things without having to go to town. Your diet will be really basic, no fish, no meat, at best one kind of fruit when it is in season, and half a dozen vegetables. Products are between 10 and 20% more expensive than 6 miles away, up to 50% more than 20 miles away. The worst markup is on small portions. If you can’t afford a carton of 30 eggs, you can buy one egg, for 72% more. People buy small bags of flour, oil and even Maggi seasoning cubes by the unit at usury prices. But they can’t afford to buy a full 5lb bag of flour, so every day they come to the shop and buy enough for one day. Tomorrow, they will see. Those tiny bags hanging on the upper left corner are the smallest bags of chips and nachos ever, they cost only $0.25 so people can afford them, and if you compare the cost per pound with a family bag from Walmart, this is the biggest markup ever.
We pay our workers weekly, because they couldn’t make it through the first month without a paycheck, and if they were able to, they couldn’t make the next paycheck last through the month. They often resort to payday loans, at up to 5% monthly APR. They buy things on credit, even a $30 blender, and end up paying twice the price in 18 months. Big shops don’t want to end that juicy business but it is really sad to see most of their hard earned money go to finance stuff they don’t really need.
Land development update
We are on fire!!! The gate is ready, and we have also brought some white earth since that picture so the entrance looks really clean and the land is firm to welcome cars. It has BF’s phone number in case people want more info. I blacked it out so don’t try to maximize the picture, I am a jealous woman haha! You can email me if you want details :). About the land, not BF.
We had the workers clean the side of the road too, sorry I couldn’t find a before picture, but the change is quite impressive, it was only weeds and now it looks all polished.
All that you see to the right was 2-3 meter high of bush and weed, they cut it all and planted some grass. With the rainy season it should be green in no time.
Look how green and lush the land is, only two month ago we burned it to the ground! Some places you have pasture knee high.
Before (around March):
That’s me overlooking the caterpillar that did the roads. At $80 an hour, rest assured I was ensuring he put in the hours! We didn’t cut more than 5 trees but we had guys with machetes cut all those plants and leave the land neat.
After (June), only the pasture has grown back and strong. We have 200 or so tropical sheep (mix between a goat and a sheep) that come daily and eat the rest of the weeds. Win-win for us and the shepherd who gets free feed.
One block away from our land, on the other side of the road, the council was building a public beach and promenade for the village. It didn’t go too well. The money was stolen ran out and what was promised to be a 4 month project has been stopped since March.
It rained a lot and they didn’t protect the beach-to-be so the water destroyed their work.
And one of the trucks lost its brakes and destroyed another piece or wall before ending in the water.
One day, there will be a beach, but for now, it is just a sad, empty plot. This is what happens when you give a contract to your friends who over quoted so you could get a share of the pie too and don’t deliver.
Talking about our corrupt friends, it looks like we have been reported by our crooked politician neighbor anonymously for deforestation. A government forestry truck stopped by the land last week, they had BF’s name and details (when the cadaster after 3 months of procedure still hasn’t been able to change the owner’s name to us!) and came very angry that we were destroying the ecosystem. BF told them even more angrily that this had been a cattle farm for years, and the pasture was proof of it, you don’t grow pasture that easily when you just uprooted trees.
We have not done anything wrong but thanks to that resentful, bitter little man, we can be delayed for quite some time until we prove we didn’t kill any trees. They said we needed to get a permit before building a wall around the property, and a permit for our road. BF answered we were just rebuilding the old road that got buried in pasture and setting the limits of our property, the government gorillas walked away but I bet we’ll see them soon with more surprises. Strange that we have the nicest wall and land in the village (according to the villagers and our workers) yet they persist in trying to find something to stop us.
It could all go away by offering the guy, and/or the mayor a few plots “for their help and constant support” but all they will get from me is ignorance, maybe a middle finger if they insist. They can try and make our lives impossible, I will do what they ask, apply for the fake permits no one has had to apply for in the history of the village, and let them delay the project. They won’t see the first glimpse of a bribe.
So far, BF is on board with the middle finger project, which is surprising as he is usually one to get it over with and choose time over money. He has always paid fines even when he was arrested for no reason and the cop openly said “come on, just give me money to go get coffee, it will be cheaper than the fine” so it could end up being time consuming AND expensive. We’ll see.