House-haggling, Strange new illnesses
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
48Trip End Nov 07, 2007
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During the week that I was sick before going to the capital, I had a little energy to decide that I needed to see how my plans for moving were coming along. My neighbor Anna and her son and daughter (who have come to be like a brother and sister to me) went to ask the owner of the available house when it would be finished and I could move in (they were fixing it up and putting a bathroom in so I wouldn´t have to pooh in a hole in the ground...by the way, i apologize that this blog has now included the word ¨pooh more than once¨). Well, of course they had put so much work into the house they were going to need six months advance rent at 2000 pesos a month! Consider this: when doing my community diagnostic, the average household made between 1-3 thousand pesos a month. So you can imagine this was quite expensive, especialy to pay six months in advance. NOt really caring at this point, and too sick to bargain, I said I would call Peace Corps for a loan. Luckily, when talking to my boss about the loan, she told me that I could, in fact, ,get a loan, but I would first need to make sure the house was safe, checking the doors and windows and such. It hadn´t occurred to me to actually look inside the house first, an obvious sign of my desperation to move. I marched over with my posse to look at the house to find it was quite the rundown shack. It wasn´t finished yet, but also, there was no place for a kitchen and the walls separating the rooms were particle boards. The doors in back opened from the outside and had rusty hinges, which anyone could take off easily. I asked if they planned on changing the doors and they said no. So I then told them I couldn´t live there because Peace Corps (note, it is always a lovely thing that we get to blame peace corps for just about anything which will offend someone or otherwise make them sour at you...not something you can usually do at every job. For instance : ¨I would give you a loan but Peace corps says I can´t¨ etc)would not let me live in an unsafe house. The suddenly got offended and said ¨Ya! Termina¨ Which means¨¨fine then, forget it¨ to which I replied ¨Esta bien entonces!¨ which means ¨Whatever I´m outta here¨ and then we split. Apparently, they also added that they had 20 people waiting for the house as well. Usually, I would have given in and said ok, and just tried to fix the doors later without peace corps finding out, but luckily I was sick which put me in a bad mood not really caring so much anymore. Then, wondering what I was going to do now, Anna told me of another house that was for rent, but not available until the first of march. We went and looked at it, and it was far better, with actual running water (when there is running water) and was far safer with bars on the windows and far nicer as well...not to mention cheaper by 500 pesos a month! With this, I decided to take it, realizing I could wait two more weeks if it meant living in a cheaper and a better house.
The next day, my surrogate brother Juan Carlos informed me that the owners of the other house came by and asked if I still wanted to move in, because they would go ahead and fix the doors afterall. One thing I have learned about being in the DR is that all you have to do is walkaway and you will always get what you want. He told them I found a cheaper and better house. Apparently, they didn´t have the 20 people in line for the house afterall...