Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Can't Believe That I Forgot To Tell Ya...

that we own land in Petén! This is incredibly exciting for us. It happened over a month ago. We have been looking for a permanent place to live since we came here.

Rental houses are pretty hard to find here and can be expensive or cheap depending on what you are willing to put up with or live without. But the upkeep and initial investment on every rental here no matter what your monthly payment is TOO high. We have invested and are still investing in the rental where we currently live just to keep it functional and whenever the owner wants it back, she gets back a much better house. Good for her, not so great for us. For example, so far we've done things like...

Glue all the pipes together (since the plumber hadn't)
Run wires to outlets (since the electrician didn't)
Install inside doors (because those are nice to have on a bathroom or bedroom)
Install a cistern and pump (because I like water)
Pour an entrance (since our vehicles didn't like the ditch)
Install barb wire (because it helps us sleep at night)
Replace both faucets (because the most expensive faucet in Petén is still junk)
Seal the roof (guess what... rain sits on a flat concrete roof and causes mold i.e. my speckled ceiling)
So there it is. Our motivation to not have to do this all over again... and again... and again for the rest of our lives.

(El Chal is where we currently live)

Where in Petén?
We have learned a lot about the towns in this area. We knew we wanted somewhere safe and friendly for our boys to grow up. A place free from funny business. We found that in San Francisco. It is a town about 15 minutes from the tri-city area of Flores/Santa Elena/San Benito. It is where the professionals (lawyers and doctors) who work in the city live to escape all the noise and violence. The people there are educated. They live differently. They take pride in their homes and community and respect their neighbors. They have a town square with a park and basketball court where our boys could go and play. (Here we don't even take walks because we get harassed). We jokingly refer to it as the promise land. No matter where we have mentioned it people always say two things about this town. One, that it is "tranquilo" as in a quiet low key place, and two, that it is "fresco" as in it has a cooler climate than other towns around here. That second part always makes me laugh, but I am going to believe it... because I want to!

Where in San Francisco?
Once we narrowed down San Francisco we looked at properties there for over a year. We wanted to make sure we got the best location for the cheapest price. There are no houses for sale there, so we just looked at empty lots. The first time we looked at this lot it was covered with okra plants... yum! It has been used for farming, so it has good soil. It is completely flat and doesn't require any prep work prior to construction. It is part of larger "subdivision" owned by a family of brothers. They all want to eventually build a house there, one has finished construction with another in progress. It is not a real subdivision, but since they own all the land around it they can fence it off.

This is the entrance. They close it at night. They also go in together to have a guard/grounds keeper who lives on the property. He lives right next to our land and has young children! In fact all the brothers have just started their families, which is wonderful for our boys! We are talking about all going in together to buy a transformer so that we won't have as many brown outs. They were very careful about who they wanted to sell this extra lot to. They didn't want any "gun toating" person as they put it, living there, so they sort of interviewed us.

Here is our property. It is about half an acre. It cost Q50,000 which is about $6,000. Over the last couple years anytime anyone gave us money and said, "Use it on something for yourselves" we saved it. Also my parents helped us since payments are not really an option here.

One of my parents' friends just gave us $500 and with my birthday money from our parents Jimmy has already purchased supplies to start construction on our wall. Lico is our mason and is in charge of the other workers. Work will officially begin on it tomorrow! Jimmy had the property surveyed already to make sure we get it in the right place. After the wall we can be in our house for $30,000. It will take a little while since we will pay as we go. The best loans here are between 12 -16%, so we will not be going that route. Hopefully we will be in our "forever home" within the next couple of years.

So you will start seeing posts about our "forever house" hopefully not in the Crazy Item of the Day section. Either way, this will be an interesting adventure! Also like everything else here San Francisco has another name, San Pancho. So in order to keep people from thinking we are moving to CA, we will from here on out refer to it as San Pancho. Hope you enjoy our journey to rent free living. You'll get all the entertainment minus the headaches!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you are going to get a LOT of blogging mileage out of this! If I'd had a blog when we were building . . . well, probably good I didn't. :)

    Good luck! I hope we can see your new house in person some day.


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