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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Uruguayan Way

Denise wanted me to call this "The Foundations of Friendship", or I could have called it "Cementing the Bonds of Friendship". I chose the Uruguayan way, because this is how people build houses here- with a group of friends.

This morning, at around 7am, a group of Hugo and Carolina's friends and family gathered at the site of their future house. We would have done it last week, but the weather did not permit it. This morning, however, was fresh and sunny.

Having purchased the lot, some time ago, and recently having dirt delivered to offset the low elevation of the lot, Hugo and his father-in-law spent the last few weeks digging the footings for the foundation and tying the steel that would go into it. This morning the group was going to mix up the concrete and pour the footers.

We had a small mixer (which Denise forbade me to sell) and it was able to be used, thereby shortening the process. Everyone pitched in, filling up buckets and buckets of sand, gravel, concrete and water and before noon the job was finished. Now the walls and interior will be put up during the coming months, by the family. Then, when it comes time for the roof, there will be another group effort to get that done. It probably will take a year to finish, since the funds for the project will only be available from a monthly salary. But when it is over, the young couple will own their own home (mortgage free) in a nice location, just blocks from the local Kingdom Hall. Now how many young couples in the US can boast that?

It is not that mortgages are unknown, here. It is just that they are infrequently used. Most financial support comes from family, of which Uruguayans have a lot. On the site today were cousins and mothers, as well as friends. Carolina's mother had run a 10K race, yesterday, but was one of the hardest workers. While I worked hard, I will probably be laying around complaining for days. About 20 showed up to finish the day out, to make short work of this stage of the project.

An a side note. After selling the motorcycle (we will pause a moment and take our hats off for a brief moment of mourning) last week, we arranged to buy a couple of used bicycles. I used one yesterday to run to the store for milk. Sadly, it was not as much fun as ramping up a nifty motorcycle, but it was practical and as much as I hate to admit it, it probably will be good for our health, as we ride during the summer. And, as I turn 65, this month, I also have to remember that while the motorcycle was fun, it was never a safe way to travel (sigh).


Anonymous said...

I'm planning a trip to Uruguay in January and am looking for some advice from expats living there. We'd like to spend a couple nights in one of the beach towns on the coast and aren't sure how to go about finding the right town or a place to rent. Any suggestions you have of a town or travel agent or contact would be great! Thanks!

Wally said...

Post a comment with your email address (I won't publish it) and I'll get back to you.