Let the Building Begin

As many of you know we’ve been working on a project to build a house for mentally ill uncle who lives in the fincas of Media Luna near Puerto Barrios. So the good news: ConstruCasa agreed to start building the house before we have the full $3,200. They are giving us a month to finish fundraising the last $490 which I’m confident we can do before we leave for the SF Bay Area on October 1.

Here’s the email from Stefan Ege, Operations Manager at ConstruCasa:

Hi Kara,

Thanks for your call today.

I spoke with my team today, and it is possible to send two albañiles on Monday, Sept. 20th with you to the finca. They would then stay there right away, and build the house. They will buy their own materials. Here I need to ask you where they can buy materials, and how far away this is from where we will construct. Media Luna is about 50km from Puerto Barrios, is this correct? Please give me a call tomorrow, so we can speak about the details. As I remember from our past emails, we will build:

– A two room house (1 door, 2 windows), where one room can be used as a bedroom, and one room for living, dining and cooking.
– With a toilet, and a pozo (10 meters or so), since there is no drainage if I recall correctly. If there is indeed drainage, we would build a shower instead of the pozo.
– The regular Constru Casa house has no sink, electricity, paint or plastering. If you would like to add anything of this, it would increase the price.

The price we had spoken about was Q24,000 for the house, plus an additional Q2,400 for viaticos, since the place is quite out of the way. This is an estimate and could vary a bit. But as I said, we can start with what you have already fundraised, and then give you the final accounting so you can pay us the rest. I am looking forward to speaking with you tomorrow to settle all the details.

All the best,

We’ll be meeting with ConstruCasa on Monday, Sept 13 to work out payment for the amount we have so far which is $2,710 and get on the same page about next steps. I will be blogging about other logistics as they come up. I am including some of the possible plans for the two-room constuction of Tío’s house:

Part of the building of the house also include drafting up a legal contract for the use of my cousin Santos’ land to build the house which will be in both mine and Brad’s name for security purposes. The agreement is called Usufruto vitalicio which means lifetime use of the land even after inheritance. After Tío passes away, the agreement will also include, the title of the house will be changed over to Cousin Santos’ children as a way to thank them for taking care of Tío and providing him with a support network. Of course to make this happen Santos needs to go see our the lawyer, Luis Chigua, 5497-4078, in Puerto Barrios (recommended to use by our lawyer in La Antigua) carrying his land title which Chigua will confirm how the property is registered at Bismuebles in Guatemala City. If the property is not registered then he drafts the contract under a Right of Possession. While Santos doesn’t understand any of it, he is driving out the 40 kilometers from Media Luna to Puerto Barrios on Monday and I’ll be calling them when he’s there to figure the best way to draft the contract. Meanwhile, I am also plotting ways to collect the rest of the $490 before we pack up the house in La Antigua (get in the car and head out into the gang-ridden territory of Mexico) and find a side-kick to accompany me to Media Luna and back on the week of September 20.

Everything seems possible now and so much closer.

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