That piece of land keeps throwing up surprises. It is almost like an unfolding mystery comedy-drama.
We hadn't done a lot of demolishing recently and the house looked a bit weird with a wall and part of the roof missing. It had become very unstable. Don't lean against it, or it will fall over (which is exactly what happened a few days later, when Eric and JP leaned against it purposely; see picture).
We were wondering where we could get some information about the chance of things flooding. Because my preference is still to build on concrete instead of on wooden poles (elevated from the ground). But maybe that is simply not possible. Since we have seen how it can rain at times, it could very well be that the river rises and floods the house (and maybe has done so in the past) or that a waterfall forms from the mountain down, or that water makes it way from the land of the neighbours on the right, seeing that they are slightly higher.
Or, in the worst case scenario, from all three directions.
But who to ask?
Eric and JF went to see the council in Loja on a Wednesday, to find out what the building requirements are. Apparently it is not clear and very dependent on who you talk to. The first civil servant didn't know exactly and called someone else, who seemed to make things up on the spot. However; it is a rural area and doesn't have to meet a lot of standards. They do like to see the plans. And maybe it is handy if an architect has signed it.
Yesterday Eric went over to the house site to do a bit of demolishing and ran into Fabien and JF. He owns the land that Nikki and JF can use and live on. He's lived here his whole life. He said that the land was NEVER flooded (and he lives opposite it, so looks right on it). Not even with the huge flood last year apparently.
He also said that the law had changed last year and that you can only sell land (for building a house on) when it is AT LEAST 1500 m2. And not 825m2. So this might explain why the lawyer we contacted to finish the contract, doesn't reply.
After this he showed Eric and JF a piece of the land next to it, which is much more beautiful. That land belongs to someone he vagually knows. She hates gringos. So he proposed to talk to her. Maybe she would be willing to sell a little bit of her land, so we could make the total 1500m2. He said that he knew she only used a small part of her land, the rest was unused.
We are so happy that we haven't started building or haven't arranged an excavator yet. We wonder where we will eventually build our house on. It is very funny. Things unfold slowly, so we have to stay patient. In the mean time we go there once in a while to spend some hours pulling nails from wood, so we can use the non-rotten, non- ant infested wood from the old house.
Lem got sick, 3 weeks ago. It started with stomach cramps. He gave it a painlevel of 10 out of 10 and was cringing on the couch. At some point he got a sweaty, white face and pale lips. He was obviously in a lot of pain. It was hard for him to describe the pain, but he could point out its location; right in the stomach area. No fever. So I tried to deduct from what he managed to tell me, what it could be.
He seemed a bit young for an ulcer. But maybe the stay in Ecuador caused him so much stress?
Lem has a history of digestive issues. When he was 13 yrs old we let the hospital diagnose that he was lactose intolerant (after they gave him 200 mls of lactose to drink in the hospital and he was sick for days from it. Handy.)
We already had known this for some time, but the school he was at wanted some kind of proof for why he was sick so often. Lem is a stubborn person and even if milk made him really sick, he would still drink it. Hence the sickleave.
Gluten are also an issue, especially in combination with lactose.
Lem also has a tendency of eating huge amounts at one time and the next time, eat nothing all day. If the consitution/tecture or taste doesn't suit him, he simply won't eat. And of course he loves to eat sugar, gluten and lactose. He would rather die then have to go without, he would say dramatically.
Anyway; this particular evening, three weeks ago, he had just eaten a huge amount of homemade fries....
Maybe he had a weak spot in his stomach lining from always eating things that caused bowel cramps? So we decided to start by giving him two rennies. When that didn't solve the issue, Eric gave him a 'zantac' which he still carried around from when he himself had a weak spot that sometimes would give him a lot of pain, more then 10 years ago (when he still had his bussiness). Also; no change.
After some hours the pain subsided by itself and he tried to go to sleep. He woke us up an hour later, to tell us he had vomited on the floor. It came up very sudden and he felt it could happen again.
We cleaned it up (felt like years back, with small kids. It used to happen regularly then) and gave him some water, something to vomit in and a paper towel.
He vomited three more times -until it was only gal- and eventually felt a bit better.
The next day he couldn't eat, so we gave him herbal thee and water. The day after he slowly started with crackers with jam. When that went ok, we increased the variety over time. Rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruit.
Now, three weeks further, he is still not 'completely' well. We thought about some parasite(s?), about gal stones, about a bug? But since his health is increasing day by day, we wait. He looks completely different, has lost weight, but has also grown at the same time.
This did raise the issue of; how does health care actually work here? We have an Ecuadorian insurance policy, but have no idea where to go. Do people go to a g.p. (huisarts) or directly to a hospital? If I would like to get bloodworks and poo-works done (to look at parasites), do I just go to hospital and ask?
Since Lem is on the mend, we wait and see.
In the mean time we keep our ears and eyes open to how things work here. If anybody knows, feel free to let us in on it.
On the 25th of Januari we got the news that our visas are approved. Yeay! Great news!
There is the small matter of picking the visas up in Riobamba coming week, driving 10 hours to and 10 hours back, but we'll manage.