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We had a project under our noses, and didn't even know it!!

As we have said before, we inherited a couple and their two bedroom house when we bought the property.  We have pretty much settled on what their jobs will be. She comes in once a week, cleans all three bathrooms, cleans and waxes all the floors, and hits the kitchen, especially the oven, and washes all the dozens of little windows, inside and out.  He takes care of the garden and does a bunch of odd jobs as they come up.  They both act as security.  Also, they open the big doors for us when we come and go in the car.  Well, we have had rental property since 1969, and we've never enjoyed inspecting our rentals when the tenant was still in them.  So, when we took over here, we just kind of let their home alone, figuring that they had been there 20 years, and they are not complaining, so why inspect?

Well, we got to talking to Agripina, the wife, the other day about paint, and she happened to mention that the inside of their home had never been painted.  We already had the exterior paint on hand, and Isidro, the husband, was all set to do that job.   So I went down to our local hardware store and got a couple of paint color brochures.  To say that she was overwhelmed by all the colors, would be an understatement.  Remember, that paint in Ecuador costs about a day's pay (per gallon)  for a skilled worker.  So Rox and I figured that now was the time to inspect the place and measure the paint requirements at the same time.

When we entered, the conditions that we saw,  could have easily been right out of the 18th or 19th century.  There are light bulbs hanging down by two wires in all the rooms, but nada mas, there is a broken down faucet for a 40 year old sink that is the only running water in the place.  They do have a gas stove and a fridge.  The floors are rough cement, or dirt.  There is no screening on any openings.

As we inspected we were surprised by how big the place was, but one of the largest rooms was unusable, because there were so many leaks when it rained.  As we were finishing up, I asked Agripina if the last door was to the bathroom, and she said no, it was another bedroom, and it was.  There was a door at the far side, so I asked if that was the door to the bathroom...it was then that she said that there was no bathroom!!

Well, we have a working bathroom and shower in the maid's quarters (which are not being used), so we were appalled to hear this.

So, we asked the obvious, what did they do about using the bathroom, and she said, that for all of these years, they have showered across the street at a relative's house, and then she took us around in back to an open fronted "bathroom" that consisted of  the base of a toilet with a faucet and a five gallon bucket next to it.   No toilet seat cover, even...

So...tomorrow, we are buying a new toilet, a ceiling fan with lights, the plumbing requirements for an outside shower, and a new kitchen sink and faucet.  (She doesn't even have a drain board for dishes, as the present sink is more of a wash basin for clothes)

We bought the interior paint Friday, and they beamed.  We don't think that anyone has ever treated them as anything but indentured servants.

We will change things in a hurry, now that we know...

By the way, does anyone think that having the type a litte bigger, would be a plus, or is the old size ok with you all?  Give me a hollar...

Posted on Sun, April 13, 2008 at 12:48PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Obviously all of your friends are older since you asked about the type size. I think it is great just the way it is. I almost cried when I read about your tenants quarters. As you said, probably no one has ever treated them other than being a servant. Kudos to you both for fixing up their place & making them feel human......but mostly for being concerned & being a friend. I can just imagine their delight when everything is done.

April 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterArnette

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