Thursday, March 11, 2010
The architect was here today along with the carpenter that will build the roof structure and the doors for the house. We had the opportunity to discuss many things with Koki which makes us feel like we are making good progress. Unfortunately, Koki's last estimate for the second phase of construction essentially doubled the cost he originally quoted us. We understand the problems of construction in a local distant from headquarters but had also assumed (nasty word) this had been taken into account in the original estimate. Getting workers here has been an issue. In the summer months, it is HOT in El Nuro. It is also a time when the breeze dies down so there is little relief from the heat. These workers are from Chiclayo where the temperatures are 10 degrees less than they are here. It's an unfriendly environment this time of year. The weather is supposed to break in April, but for now it is difficult to find workers willing to work in these conditions.
The other expense has come in transporting materials. Things are quite a bit cheaper in Chiclayo or Piura than here in Los Organos, but then you have to consider the transport. We are supposed to get a final accounting of all costs before Sunday....
Wednesday is market day. It is the day the large trucks arrive with fresh produce and supplies. As these products get distributed, Thursday is generally the best day to buy fresh produce. We were traveling through Los Organos yesterday and noticed that our grocers were unloading their produce and supplies from the truck in the center of town. We stopped and asked if they wanted to use our truck for transporting their supplies to their store. They agreed, probably to the chagrin of the mototaxis awaiting. So, they loaded up the truck and we took them to their store where they unloaded. They wanted to know how much we charged for the transport and we said nothing. In exchange, they gave us a watermellon which we took to the workers for a treat. We felt it was something we could do for the grocers who filled our order each day.
One of the greatest things we have discovered in the market is a bag of vegetables for soup for S/.1. For about $.30 we get a sack of vegetables including cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, sweet potato, cilantro, broccoli, yuca, squash, and any other vegetable she has available. I have not tried it for soup, but Juanna, our cook for the workers, gets it every third day or so for soup. When the weather breaks, and it isn't so hot, I will definitely try this for a meal.
Doug and I aren't the typical gringos here. We offer rides to the locals as they travel from El Nuro to Los Organos. We have contributed to the local medical person who maintains a health clinic in El Nuro but doesn't receive a salary or compensation for food. Doug waves at everyone as we pass by and this subtle gesture has reaped many rewards; the least of which are the smiles on their faces. We celebrate their holidays with them in their traditional way and enjoy learning the local customs. We've befriended a few of the village elders; and they respond by including us in village affairs.
This afternoon we encountered a water truck in El Nuro. Remember that all of our water has to be trucked in. Usually we get a truck out of Los Organos which fills our tanks with non-potable water. This is what we get for our showers and in the kitchen for running water. It is TERRIBLE; very brackish and unhealthy. We've had to boil water for dish water and to wash veggies. We also think it has been responsible for ear infections and other maladies. So, this truck we encountered in El Nuro supplies drinking water to the village. It actually comes out of Paita and is potable water. This truck hauls nothing else; only potable water. The truck hold 4000 gallons of water. The cost for a truck load of this potable water is S/.280. We've been paying S/.300 for non-potable water for the house in El Nuro and for the construction site. Since Koki was with us, we were able to contract with this water truck for future needs. Koki will be buying the large tanks for water and filling these with potable water so Doug and I will no longer have to make daily water runs for the workers. The cost difference is for every seven gallons we've been paying S/.3.50; with this truck we will pay 50 centimos (S/.0.50); 1/7 the cost!
As far as the construction goes; the workers have been putting in the pipes for the septic system. All grey water from the showers and the sinks will be diverted into a separate (oooh, that sp looks weird) depository for irrigation of the garden. They have also been pouring the columns for the dining room/living room. They have also been preparing to pour the concrete beams from the master bedroom out over the studio.
As I said just a bit ago, I think we are ready to make another leap in the construction. Once all the cement work is done, we will be ready for the glass. What a project!!!