A couple months ago I made an agreement with our landlord to pay half of some needed repairs on the house that we’ve been renting for nearly 4 years now. The roof needed a coat of sealant and the exterior walls all needed masonry repair, sealant and paint. These two projects would cost about $1,000 (USD) combined. It’s a large house.
It’s been well over a month of having the contracted painter not show up as promised, and so when Juan called me last Friday night, it occurred to me that Juan has some painting skills. Perhaps, the owner of the house would allow Juan to paint the house. With our educational schedule winding down for the school year, I could even help out through using our truck to pick up the supplies and by helping him with the work and thus save Juan some time and effectively help him receive a better return on his time.
At this point, I am finally getting to the point where I explain why I brought all this up in the first place (I can hear the relief in your weary eyes!).
Juan doesn’t call me very often so I realized this was not a routine call. He called to ask a favor. You see…this jobless situation has really stretched their resources thin. It’s now to the point where they are selling their possessions in order to survive.
The one large and relatively expendable possession is their small 10+/- year old Nissan Sentra. They’ve already delivered it to a relative in Mexico City to sell for them. Thus, without a car and without much income, they have no easy way to get around when they need to travel and especially to carry a lot of items.
With the flu epidemic and the closing of all schools and also these government day-cares, they were relieved to get back to the point when they’d be allowed to reopen the day-care business. However, a requirement for reopening was a thorough cleaning of the entire location. The government promised them a check for about $60 (USD) that they needed to go pick up on Saturday in Querétaro.
So, Juan wanted to know if Bethie and I could take them over there to the government office so Carmen could pick up the check, then over to a bank to cash it, and then to Costco where they could buy all the cleaning supplies they needed, and finally to a military-run farm on the way home where they could buy a couple gallons of fresh milk for about 1/2 the price of milk in stores.
Of course, we said we’d be happy to and we were happy to do that. This saved them about $25 (USD) in bus and taxi fares and the challenge of carrying a bunch of cleaning supplies via public transportation all the way from Querétaro.