As has been the pattern this month, if one of us isn’t sick or is recovering from being sick, the other one is getting sick. Susi has been ill for most of this week while Amanda has been holding the fort down. Things are slowly picking back up as the energy of the house is getting more and more positive again. Folks who were meant to stay for a few days are settling in to stay for a couple more weeks and we have a good group of volunteers and guests at the moment. Everyone goes off on day trips together and helps out around the house with things. It feels very much like a happy family or a mature group living situation.
Now that the other showers are running fine, the Blue Room’s water tank has been spraying water all day and all night long. Amanda and one of the volunteers decided to fix things on their own since plumbing in Bolivia is quite rudimentary anyway and waiting around for the plumber to show up is work in and of itself. Now that there’s been more time and energy, the front and back yards/patios have undergone a spring cleaning as well. Places can reflect the feelings and energy of the people who inhabit them sometimes. So over the past few weeks, lots of little details have been left to the wayside and this weekend was a great chance to tidy things up!
The cleaning lady who agreed to start work this past Monday never showed up. But some teacher friends of ours recommended another woman, the mother of one of their students, to work with us. She came for a visit this past Saturday and said that she would try it out to see if she could handle the work at her age (43 is old for Bolivia). But she basically lives out in the countryside and would have to take 2 micros (1.5 hours) to get to work. Hopefully she will come to work tomorrow and things will go well with her. Then we can start organizing more workshops.
This week we also lowered our prices online to 65Bs again and will be taking the 10% hit from the booking sites. Luckily, most people who find us on the booking sites email us directly anyway. We do need to push for more positive reviews on Tripadvisor as well now. We’ve reached #2 in Sucre for specialty accommodations (i.e. hostels and guest houses)! The #1 is more of a guest house with private rooms rather than dorms, so we like to think that means that we’re the #1 in our hostel category in town! : ) On one of the hostel booking sites, one of our last guests who was here during the city-wide drought, the installation of the water tank, and the breakdown of the wifi company’s radio tower in Sucre. Lots of things that couldn’t be controlled, but she gave us our first not-super-positive review on the site and it stuck. Then someone who never even visited us and instead accidentally booked with us when she meant to book with The Beehive in Italy wrote us a bad review and brought our % down to 58% or something. In the end, we were able to get that review taken down as it wasn’t our fault. So yay for that and ultimately it doesn’t seem to be negating all the positive reviews on Tripadvisor.
We got a new volunteer a day or so after Anat left. Sadness. But she had stayed for almost a month and though we will miss her, she had to move on. She was a wonderful help and a great friend to have around though. She was replaced by a British couple, Cheryl and Adam, who will be around working with Tom until Amanda’s friends arrive in a couple of weeks. The three of them have been such a wonderful team and so helpful. Sometimes it’s amazing how lucky we’ve been. Hopefully everything will keep moving onwards and upwards again from here!