We have been living in our house for a few weeks now. It’s not at all what I thought it would be like. It’s a work in progress still in the beginning phase. A seed. Unfinished chaos. Absolutely loaded with potential.
We moved in the day we bought the mattress and fridge. It was a last minute decision that came after a long day in town shopping. The truck was loaded and we had nowhere else to store the large items. V didn’t want to leave them in the unsecured house overnight, so there it was.
We arrived t the house with the second load as it was getting dark. We switched on the lights, unloaded the truck and quickly realized that we had a problem. With no glass in the doors and windows, we were suddenly being swarmed by large flying beetles. Many blankets quickly went up to cover the open spaces and we thought it was over… until we turned off the lights. The beetles that were still inside the house began dive bombing our heads. Nobody could sleep tht night until every last beetle was squished. The beetles are attracted to the light. If you go to bed when it gets dark, no bugs. Lesson learned.
The first week I cooked on a three stone fire with a piece of rebar to balance the pot. Currently the stove is evolving… different versions of wood fired cooking. Avocado wood smells different than the wood in the northwest. There’s an abundance here. So far cooking is slow and smokey and requires a lot of attention. I’m working on a more effecient design that looks promising.
We finally have a bathroom… sort of. It’s better than a hole in the ground, but it’s not much more than that. V built a brick and concrete platform with a half wall on one side of the house. There is a toilet that sits over a pvc pipe. The “septic system” is a pipe that flows down into a metal 55 gallon barrel with holes in it. The barrel is burried at the bottom of the hill. This tiny 3 foot by 10 foot room may eventually have a flush system to replace the bucket method, a shower with a solar hot water heater and hopefully a little more privacy. A beautiful flowering tree planted nearby would suffice.
Like everything else, the water situation needs improvement. The pila and tinaco are filled by a hose that brings water from the mountains. The water flows randomly, at different times, and not everyday. The little creek is another option, but it would require a substantial investment to bring the water this far. For now we are buying drinking water in five gallon bottles. I will probably start boiling water for drinking and cooking as soon as I can find a good stainless steel pot. Aluminum is prevalent here… Another tinaco is on the shoppimg list as well. This would bring water to the bathroom. Without the tinaco, we use buckets. Lots and lots of buckets.
We bought a mom and baby sheep. They are eating the brush and weeds. We need to get a good dog soon. The stray population here is out of control.They rampage our outdoor kitchen and jump up on the pila looking for scraps of food. Chickens are coming soon also, eggs are expensive here.
The corn is nearly waist high now. They plowed the rows with two horses pulling a hand held metal plow. Several men followed behind the plow replacing the corn stalks that were knocked down. It took three days to finish our field. It’s hot and dusty back breaking manual labor. The men are paid 150 pesos per day, that’s about ten dollars US.
There is so much to do here everyday. Washing everything by hand and cooking for my family and all the workers on the fire. Gathering wood, clearing land, building things… There are workers here most days. I am thankful that things are getting done, but I am looking forward to the sweetness that is just around the corner. When “man camp” is gone and my house is a home instead of a construction site. I want to plant flowers and make pathways and find my groove here.
It’s getting there…
We are still very much in survival mode. We have a 2-3 day supply of food and water at any given time. We eat what’s available. Town is six miles away. It’s a lot of hard work. Everything is simple but nothing is easy. At the end of the day we are all dirty and tired. But it is real. And we are really doing it. Sometimes in the rare spaces between the chaos, I catch a fleeting glimpse of what is coming. And it’s well worth all this craziness.
Big love to all my dear ones from this lush, tropical mountain paradise… I miss you all.