Buying Wood

I remember a while ago, during a presentation on his field work in Nicaragua, a certain professor mentioned that you shouldn’t expect to get more than two things done during the day while in Managua. 

I thought about that as I rode the bus home today around 4pm, after a long and drawn out journey to buy wood and tin sheets for bathrooms.

You see, buying wood (or anything) isn’t as easy as walking into Home Depot, loading it into a cart and then packing it up into the SUV (although Sodimac, a South American hardware store, bears an eerie resemblance to Home Depot right down to the signage).  Nope.  First off, in small towns it’s hard impossible to get wood.  Long pieces of 2x4s are coveted more than precious metals.  And you just can’t go to a carpintero (carpenter). Why?  They only work with wood, not sell it. Duh!  So instead, I had to journey out to the regional capital just to get wood for some simple door frames.

I'll give you a play by play of my day, the journey to get wood (heh)….

6:00am: Wake up, breakfast of coffee and bread.

6:45am: Get on a bus for Trujillo with Colver who saved me a seat(husband of my community health promoter who volunteered to go with me).

8:50am: Arrive to Trujillo.  Luckily there’s 3 madederas all near each other. We got to get some price quotes and find a winner.

9:00am: Place an order with the wood cutter.  The lumber is raw, so they cut it to whatever dimensions you ask for.  It’s a little confusing if you’re not to familiar with the process, but between my basic woodshop skills and technical theatre I was able to manejar.  They’re going to take 30 minutes to get it ready. Cool. Second breakfast.

9:10am: Colver and I grab a juice and sandwich down the street.

9:15am:  I remember I need some big sheets of tin for the bathroom roofs.  We go to hunt nearby hardware stores.  We checked with 5 and none had the type we needed. Oh well.

9:50am: Lumber’s ready, looks good. We get a taxi to drag us to the bus station. 

10:15am: Get to the bus station.  Unload the car and find out that the next bus doesn’t leave until 2pm.  Nope – we get another taxi and go to another bus station hoping for better luck.

10:30am: Arrive at new bus station. Next bus leaves at noon. Alright, let’s go for it.  Kill time by going to a gas station and buy some Cokes, pineapple and a newspaper. Call ahead to make sure we have two lunches waiting for us when we arrive at 2pm.

11:15am: Damn kids running around the bus station like it’s some kind of playground.

12:00pm: Bus shows up, we load everything on.

12:15pm: Bus leaves.

12:20pm: Bus is pulled over by the police for inspection.  They go around to all the males and ask them for their national identity cards to run them through some kind of felon database.  If you don’t have a card, the police just go to the next person.  Criminal honor system, I guess.

12:30pm: Back on the road.

1:45pm: Arrive at destination.  Have to haul the wood about half a mile to get from the road to the town.

2:00pm: Sit down to lunch. I assumed it was rabbit with a side of lentils and rice, purple corn juice Kool-Aid.

2:15pm: Colver and I go to see if we can install any of the doors.  Those who have their bathrooms walls put up all made the space for their doors too small, so they need to go back and take care of it. 

2:45pm: We put the wood in the school for safekeeping, take one set over a family that lives far away.

3:00pm: Arrive at their house.  Same deal as the ones before, but the husband said he’ll take care of it now that the wood is there. 

3:30pm: Head down to the road to wait for the bus. 

4:15pm: A car rolls by with the police behind it.  The police make everyone get out of their car while they stay in their truck.  What’s going on?

4:20pm: Bus rolls by, we get on and so does one of the passengers from the detained vehicle.

4:50pm: Back in Sausal.  Pass Colver some money for his help, and retire for the day.

Clock it: 10 hours just to get wood.



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