Roberto’s cousin, Jose Raul, called the other day with updated figures for construction that were higher than the previous ones by about 2 million pesos ($1,100) and included the labor for the mason to basically put up four walls. Roberto was disturbed by that increase. Were we being overcharged because everyone thinks we’re rich gringos, even though Roberto is Colombian? Why the increase? So Roberto told his cousin that these new figures were over our budget and he would have to think about it and discuss it with me. Today he’s going back out to Sincerin with a calculator and a notebook to write down the itemization of everything–materials and labor. To me I look at this, not as a setback, but as a negotiation. If the mason wants the job, he’ll come down in his price. It’s not like we are in a rush. We don’t have to build on the farm immediately as we’re only here until mid-March anyway. I’m not worried. It’s Roberto’s cousin who seems to be in a hurry and Roberto is feeling pressured. He doesn’t like to be pressured into doing anything. We’ll see what happens today. It’s a hassle to keep going back and forth to Sincerin. You have to take the city bus to the bus terminal on the outskirts of Cartgena and then take another bus that will drop you off on the highway going past Sincerin. I hope that next week we can move into the apartment in Sincerin that we were promised by his other cousin, Fredy. That will make it much easier to get back and forth to the farm.
Jose Raul bought the former owner’s cows (see photos) and took them off our land already. I guess the horses are still there but those should be moved out soon.