Wednesday, June 01, 2005

House Hunting: Part Deux

Wednesday, 6/1/05: Banda Aceh

Wow, it’s already June. The days really seem to be flying by. We had our first really heavy rain today… and our house has MANY leaks. There was water everywhere when I got up this morning. I think we’ll have to call our landlord, Pa Ibrahim, and get some holes patched. We had also had our first guests. Ricardo was here (of course he has his special room) and two Indonesians working with our sister NGO. We only have three beds, but Teh had a field bed (like the ones I slept on in Iraq) so one of them slept on that and the other slept on air mattress. I think though, we are going to furnish our extra room. It doesn’t have a bathroom, but we really need the space.

We also closed on the second house today. I really like the house. It has been furnished with a lot of love. Since the tsunami, the price of decent housing has skyrocketed here and we’re sort of torn. These people have suffered a lot and can definitely use the money, but in the same respect, the houses are inflated at 300% their pre-tsunami value. We met with the owners… drank the obligatory copious amounts of coffee/tea and started the bargaining. I hate bargaining with my own money, but bargaining with somehow bargaining with donor dollars is a bit easier. Whatever we can save on the house, we can spend on projects to benefit the people. This family has also been affected by the tsunami. Their house is intact (CBS news used it as a base after the tsunami), but his shoe and clothes store was destroyed by the tsunami. His one condition was that we pay a year’s rent in advance. We had a real heart-to-heart and he said that it pains the family greatly to have to move out of the house, but he needs the initial capital to start relocate his business in a new area. I understand his problems and offered a compromise. We raised the price that we were willing to offer but with the stipulation that we only paid six months in advance. He agreed. So we have another house!

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