But as I said, today the workmen arrived. The house needs to be finished: a paved driveway, ceilings installed, plumbing in the kitchen, and paint inside and out. You ask: but wasn’t all that there already? No, it wasn’t. The house has been empty for the past year. Before that, it was lived in, after a fashion. But it had never been finished. The present owner is an 18-year old student. His mother had had the house built to live in it herself; but then she died. Nd that changed everything. Lacking the finances himself, William was only too happy to find us willing to move in. An advance of a year’s rent was needed, however, to complete the necessaries: €1000. I wondered about that. Would €1000 be enough to do it all? Yes, it would. A tradesman here - painter, bricklayer, carpenter, plumber – is more than content with a day’s wage of 3000CFCA, or €5, I learned yesterday.
Marijke and I went over to make acquaintance. And to discuss the colour scheme. Bright and beautiful, that’s what we are looking for. And that was not hard to arrange. Friendly, cooperative workmen made sure they were clear on exactly what we wanted. Truth be told, what you discuss and decide upon here is not always exactly what you get. Gerrit and Titia, our predecessors, for instance, had a barbecue made for themselves. They took it along with them to Holland, so those of you who doubt my word can go look for yourselves. It really and truly was not intended to be the size of a small buffalo! But okay, this afternoon we decided on just the right colours.
And then I happened to mention that I was Pasteur. And the reaction humbled me. In that case, one of the workmen said, matter-of-factly, you can pray that all the painting and the other work is done well. And no, he was not joking. And no, he didn’t mean: pray and hope for the best. He meant: right now. So our work will be blessed.
The workmen put down their brushes and rollers. We stood in a circle in front of the porch. And I prayed to the good Lord who makes all things bright and beautiful. Even if the colours perhaps don’t turn out quite the way we expect, we got off to a good start with the house across the street.