High costs for a slow season.

This week we said goodbye to several long-term guests. Cora, one of our wonderful volunteers for the past three weeks or so also had to continue on with her travels. Laura, who has almost been with us for a month and a half, is now being replaced by Ingrid and Matthias, a German couple that has been staying with us for several weeks now patiently waiting their turn to be volunteers. They are a sweet-tempered pair who will be staying with us until October 4th! Now that we are on workaway.org, we’ve been getting several requests a day for volunteering, which should make coordinating volunteers easier and more regulated with time. At this point, however, it’s becoming extremely time-consuming to coordinate everything, respond to other inquiries, make reservations for guests, and so on.

Along with the simple day-to-day operations, Julia continues to worsen in terms of her health. She’s officially been working with us for two months now and has missed several days of work due to her failing physical state. Since it is considered more normal to offer your child up to work in your place here, Julia has insisted that her daughter could make up for the lost days, which become more and more as time goes one. However, it is not only illegal but culturally awkward to have a child working in the house and we are not in the position to train someone that young at this point. Therefore, we also had to insist that it would not be possible why recognizing the fact that if Julia’s health continues to deteriorate, we will have to look for someone to replace her.

Unfortunately, this also means that if we have to let her go, she will never have enough money to go to the doctor and pay for the things she needs to get better. In other words, she will probably die slowly and at a young age, which is quite typical here. We’ve basically entered into a cycle of poverty far too late. Even still, we have been trying our best to find some answers to the great mess that is her health. This has meant several trips accompanying her to the hospital, pharmacy, laboratory, and emergency rooms. This has also meant skyrocketing costs for us. In the end, Julia is now technically earning more than we are for working fewer hours because we are paying half of her medical costs and spending almost as much of our time attending to her medical needs than to our own paperwork. However, if we didn’t offer to pay for half, she would never go to the hospital and she would never get better. And again, we are reminded of where we are. The poorest country in South America wherein even private hospitals cannot afford soap in bathrooms…

In terms of our paperwork, we have had several meetings with our lawyer to figure out how best to constitute ourselves under the existing categories. We are now registered with the Fund de Empresa and met earlier this week with the Director of Tourism and his inspector to discuss the requirements for passing the necessary inspections. They said that they would coordinate with the Chamber to come to an understanding with regard to the inspections, as they are not the same. Upon visiting the Chamber, we were told that their inspections needed to be updated and then they asked us if they could look at the Tourism Board’s checklist of requirements so they could reference them…Right. Now we need to also find a reliable accountant to review and approve our opening accounts as well as to solidify the purpose of our project for the sake of writing our constitution. This is proving to be an extremely costly few months. Now that the majority of our large purchases have been made, we are spending the rest on paperwork and medical expenses. We’re almost at the end of the high tourist season, unfortunately, and this has been an extremely slow season indeed. Hopefully, we will have more visitors in the coming months, and The Beehive will continue to grow as a destination in and of itself rather than just a place that one stumbles upon on route.

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