Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thinking About What I am Doing in Chacala

One of the newest babies in Chacala, sleeping in a hammock
I got a nice email from someone the other day, talking about reading this blog regularly. It is strange for me that people actually read this blog, and it's kind of fun for me too. I don't exactly know why I am doing it, but I seem to keep doing it, so I must be getting something from it.

The same person said something about what impact this blog might or might not be having on Chacala, and on the people who live here. It's scary to think about that for me. I hope if this blog has an impact, it is to the good. But whatever....
Casa Azul, now part of the brand new Villa Celeste,
which is located behind this building, overlooking the ocean.

My favorite internet place in Las Varas.
The owner, Jose Juan,lets me hook up my laptop to his high-speed system.
90 cents an hour, US.
My own rough guideline about what I do in Chacala, aside from writing these blogs (which is confusing to me, re the impact thing), is to help local people do what they are already doing. I didn't come making suggestions about what local people should be doing. Like "you guys should...".
One of the Techos de Mexico units.
Dona Lupe would like to rent a downstairs room here
with two beds and a shared bath for $135US a month

Thanks to Jose Enrique's efforts with Techos de Mexico rentals, and a number of other entrepeneurs, there were already people trying to do rentals, and I can help with that. I help contact English-speaking potential renters thru Chacala Budget Rentals, and negotiate for non-English speaking landladies for reservations and deposits. Particularly for the lower-end rentals. If people come to me for English lessons or computer lessons, I help with that.
And we learn from each other about gardening.Two local boys working at the Pescaderia, the fish shop,
learning to filet the fish, which are fresh off the fishing boats of local Chacaleans.

I also make small personal loans to people who have very, very small businesses. Very, very small loans. I would like to get a micro-loan program going here. I have been studying up on various programs around the world, and I can see how complicated it is to set something up. I will probably just stick to an informal system. But it's painful to watch business failures, and I would like to help people get the skills they need to be sucessful with their businesses.
This is the new buiilding, Los Columnos, located right off the dinghy beach.
It is built behind the stone column with the strangler fig tree grown around it.
The property belongs to Olga, or Om. And is just lovely.
They will be having a "Grand Opening" between Christmas and New Year's.

But I still like the micro-loan concept. There are some cultural issues that complicate things, so I am working hard at understanding how local people relate to the idea of re-paying loans and working together to support each other in their businesses. Family or not. Also, I have been searching out Mexican programs that teach people skills to manage their small businesses here. And maybe I can pass that info on to someone here.

I can barely lead my own life, so I shouldn´t be telling other people how to lead theirs. Even when I have strong opinions on the subject.Another odd thing about writing this blog, and the gardening one too, is that I am still running into people who think I am a man, apparently based on how I write this blog. I always wonder if somehow I write like a man, or maybe my interests indicate maleness. Or something. It does seem curious to me. Or maybe it's just the projections of the readers.

If you are considering buying real estate in Chacala, it's worth checking on the background of the person who is serving as a realtor. The laws about buying property are very complicated in Mexico, and very different from in the U.S. and Canada. And there are currently no laws or registration or people selling real estate here. This is a "BUYER BEWARE" situation.


Mikeinthehat said...

My wife and I enjoy reading your blog. We agree with your comments today about many people visiting and contributing very little to the locals. For some they seem to get a big kick out of trying to get things for next to nothing. They don't seem to care that the locals are having a hard time making a living and things are reasonably cheap to begin with.
We will be in Bucerias in January and maybe we will pop up and visit Chacala

Mike & Brenda

Ramona said...

I remember wondering whether you were male or female, when I was originally reading your blog a year ago. I think it was simply your name. I think I thought it was probably a Spanish spelling for 'Andy'. You have a unique ability to share your thoughts in a written manner - I believe that you write just as you would speak. That makes it very readable. Your pictures have been a delightful addition to your blog. The baby pictured today is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Soak up some of that Chacala sunshine for us. ~Ramona

Jim McCrary said...

Andee. Your blog reflects the geniune a genuine friendship with the people in and around Chacala that you have obviously established. That is important. There are narrow minded idiot travelers everywhere but dont let
them get ya down. We look forward to our upcoming visit to Chacala and thank you for "showing" us around. Keep on blogging.

Sue and Jim