There have been a few things I’ve been thinking about doing, so I finally decided to go ahead. My neighbor’s brother does all kinds of work. He was super pleased with some of the work he’s done in the past, and this time it was even better than expected.

The first thing I did was a place for the garbage. People don’t seem to use trash cans here, but if you leave bags out in the open, dogs sometimes get to them. Some people have a metal basket on a pole a few feet above the ground. Others have a little “junk house” which is what I choose to do. However, I didn’t realize how much work it would take. Amaris came on Monday to discuss the job she wanted, and then with the list of materials needed to pay for them. On Tuesday morning, a truck delivered the materials, concrete blocks, cement rocks, sand and some junk.

Work began on Tuesday. He dug a trenched area for the footers, mixed cement and began building the walls with the blocks and laid a cement floor. On Wednesday, the walls were covered with cement, and a wooden frame was made for the upper part with a supported wooden floor. On Thursday he made the cement top and put another layer of smooth cement on the walls.

On Saturday he came with his brother who welds. They cut the metal bars and welded them together to make the door in the front. Amaris is in the brown shirt and her brother is in the green shirt.

On Monday, Amaris primed the gate and removed the wooden frame on top.

I have to take notes to make sure I have my days correct, but I know this was the sequence of work. The final step was to paint everything, black for the door and the house paint color for the rest. He had gone back to cover the back wall with smooth cement, which left some gray stains on the fence, so he painted that too. Now the fence behind the structure looks like new. That’s how he is. Leave everything as perfect as possible.

So, we put our trash in the little house! When the garbage collectors arrived, the garbage was there waiting for them, and we didn’t have to run when we heard the truck coming. 😊 Now when we have a full bag, we can take it out instead of leaving it lying in the garage.

The next project was to put a screen at the bottom of the fence. Some of the neighboring dogs are small enough to fit between the bars of the fence. They are good dogs and we are friends, but I prefer not to have them inside playing with our trash, drinking our dog’s water and making her restless. We chose an economical, plastic, but resistant screen material. The next day we discovered that a dog had managed to drop some on the edge of the door. So Amaris got a piece of wire mesh, painted it black, and installed it on the door. So far, it’s been good and no one has managed to let go of anything.

I have some yuccas that have been in the patio for a long time, and some large bijao plants that just appeared a few years ago ( The leaves are used to wrap tamales. Mine keep spreading though, and they look bad if you don’t cut the deal sheets from time to time. The cassava just wants to spread everywhere. Amaris made quick work of clearing the entire area! He can do more in a day than I can in a month. I commented that other parts of the yard looked messy as well, so he volunteered to come back with his machine (brushcutter) and clean up the entire yard.

All your work has been very helpful, and you charge less than I think you should (but here labor is very cheap). I will definitely call him again when I need things done. He’s easy to be around, he doesn’t talk much, but he laughs easily when you get to know him. He is picky and he wants everything to be as perfect as possible. He cleans up after himself and puts tools away neatly at the end of the day. And he knows how to do all kinds of things. We are getting to the age where we don’t want to do as much as before, so I am very happy to be in a relationship with this good man.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.

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