Friday, April 2, 2010

Things that you can’t take with you

The days are quickly ticking away, the count is officially at 35 five days but really I will be out of my site for the last week as I take care of business in the capital. I hope to sneak out of town unnoticed partially because I am bad at melodramatic goodbyes but mostly because now that word has gotten out that I am leaving, people who know have attempted to turn my house into a garage sale. People I haven’t seen in months have a strange way of passing by to tell me that I will “hacer falta” (which means “be missed”, but literally translates “to create a lack of”), and in the same breath tell me that I owe it to them to sell various items throughout my house at a buen precio. It has been frustrating but also a good opportunity to tell people how I really feel. My old landlord came and tried to by all my stuff and I essentially told him that I wouldn’t trust him with a bag of my own excrement (excremento is a fun and easy English cognate that makes you sound like more of an adult than saying pupu). I guess I should have been a little nicer to the landlord as he did give me a ride a few months back in his Lexus SUV and let me hold the loaded gun he keeps in between the front seats (however, he did relentlessly hit on my two female friends the whole trip). The landlord offered me 3500 hundred pesos for everything I own. That equals US $97.22; he would raise the price to 100, if I took out the bag of excrement.

So far, the real goods that I have to sell are my table and wood chairs, my stove and gas tank, my bed, plastic chairs and my beauty (I am not referring to my boyish good looks but instead to the awkward Dominican translation for Chest of Drawers). So far I have sold the table, stove and gas tank for 60 dollars and the bed with plastic chairs for 45 dollars. The beauty I am selling to my 24-year-old neighbor for the reasonable exchange of maintaining Lobo while I am out of town, as part of the exchange I also have to keep an eye out for an American husband who can bring her to the states or eventually marry her myself if I can’t find one.

I am constantly feeling like a bit of a jerk as I tell people that I won’t just be giving away my stuff and also won’t sell them stuff until I have the money in my hand (I’ve fallen for the “I’ll pay you next week” enough times). I think that people are getting the impression that I am the cold-hearted American businessman that everyone assumed I was when I got here. I guess I kind of am. Something most Peace Corps volunteers claim when they finish service is that they got really good at saying No to people, it is kind of funny how it works. I, like most of us, came down here to have a warm fuzzy feeling of helping people but in reality we all learn how to be cold and logical about the fact that giving things to people just because they ask isn’t going to solve anything but instead create an even greater problem which is dependence on outside assistance.

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