A few months ago, I moved into my new place and had spent only a couple weeks there before my friend Diego arrived. He came down for ten days and we had a plan to see most of country (which we did) and spend a couple days in my site to see the fun things around Constanza (which we did not do). The problem when he came up to Constanza was that when we went to get Lobo dog food from the vet I did something I don’t usually do; I locked my keys in my house. I can’t remember how it could have happened, I always keep my keys in my pocket, maybe it was because I changed my pants at the last minute for some reason. What I do remember is cursing a lot. I sat there for a few minutes with Diego and Jenna, who was also visiting, and tried to devise a plan.
I had the only keys to the door and all of the windows except the bathroom are persianas (mental vent windows) that you can’t climb through. That meant there were only two ways two get in. The first way was to break the little piece of glass I have in my bathroom window and climb through there, the other option would be to climb up the balcony and go in the back door. I went around and looked at the bathroom window, I realized how impractical it would be to enter this way because the window was so tiny I would barely fit through it. Not to mention it’s about 10 ft. off the ground and I recently hammered a board with some nails sticking up out of it onto the window ledge in the bathroom to act as a security system and soap holder.
That meant that I only had the back door as an option. Because my house is built on a hill, the front door is at ground level and the back is about 12 ft. up. I had to figure out how to get up on the balcony. At first I thought I could try to walk across my neighbors roof, but because it’s a rusted tin roof I opted not to try. Instead I ended up “spider man-ing” between my house and the neighbors house (where you put your left hand and left foot on one wall and your right hand and right foot on the other) and that turned out to be a huge pain in the ass and in the hands.
Once I got up to the balcony I had to break down the door. It was a flimsy door and I had seen it done in movies enough times so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. I positioned myself as best I could and rammed the door with my shoulder. The first hit the top latch broke off, only one left. The second one took considerably longer and I think I made a little bit of a scene to the construction crew who was working on a roof across the river. They all stopped working and looked at me funny. I waved and tried to explain with hand signals that I lived in the house I was trying to break into. After a while they lost interest and went back to work. After about five minutes of kicking and ramming the door with my shoulder it finally broke down. I climbed over the door and let Diego and Jenna into the house.
We sat there for a few minutes and tried to decide what to do for the day. The hike up into the hills for the day would have to be cancelled because I didn’t have a back door and didn’t want to leave the house empty and open with all of our stuff inside. Instead, I left Jenna and Diego to watch the house when I tried to find a guy to build me a door. The guy down the street was happy to build it and it would only cost 1500 pesos, which is about 45 bucks. I didn’t have 45 dollars because it was the end of the month and we are spread pretty thin with the Peace Corps pay so Diego said he would pick up the tab.
The guy built the door while we hung out and played cards, Diego introduced us to Kings In the Corner, or Reyes en las Esquinas. The man ended up building a door that was much more sturdy than the original (I don’t think I could break this one down). So in the end I think it was kind of a blessing in disguise. Diego likes to give to charity and he considered this one of his contributions for the month. Because he was the largest donor in the Get Chris Ward a New Door fund, he also got a special message put on the door. My door now says on it in big letters donado por M.D. Rail (donated by M.D. Rail) and M. Diego Rail told me if I didn’t write that and make a public display of his generosity he would return in a few months and take the door back.
So, Diego, here is your Public Display of gratitude, please don’t steal my door. Thanks.