How an economist, a computer engineer, and a gardener embarked on the construction of a garage. And succeeded!

Or so it seems. This is a story in 6 acts.

Act one. Denial

Almost right after we arrived, the house caretaker took a glimpse of the car and very politely asked us if it was rented or it was ours. We proudly informed him that the car was ours, to which he immediately responded that if we needed a roof to park the car underneath, he could fix something for us.

– Nahhhh, we said. If it is for the sun, we can park the car under the palm tree or the mango tree. No need to bother building something for the car.

That was before the biblical floods arrived at the Osa Peninsula.

And then it became crystal clear why ALL cars are kept under a roof around here…

Act two. Reconsideration

So, we contacted our house caretaker and asked him if his offer to build a garage was still on the table. I added, that we had realized that with the heavy rains the mango tree was offering suboptimal protection.

He just sent a message back with three words and a smile:

-I told you! ;-).

And he added that, of course, the offer was still on the table and he will fix something for us.

Act three. The construction team

That same afternoon, he came by with his brother (Y and Z here). As we have already mentioned elsewhere, the “mañana, mañana” culture is not deeply embedded here. Or at least, we have not experienced it yet.

We decided to join the construction team. Partly to help but partly to learn. We want to use this year to learn all sorts of new things. So, what about how to make a garage with things from the garden?

Basic ingredients in the recipe: bamboo, 4 thin straight tree trunks and leftover roof tiles. Yeah, I know, tiles do not grow in a garden, but they were lying on the garden from the time the owners of the house changed the roof. ..

We only had to buy some pins and cord to tie the bamboo, and some plastic in case the roof tiles were in such bad shape that they would leak some water. And we needed a shuffle, a hammer and a machete. And we set off to work.

Act 4. Building the skeleton

While Y and Z were cutting the tree trunks that would serve as posts, Frank set to dig the holes in the ground under the instructions of Y. I left to buy the pins, the cord and some plastic hoping that Y- who does not speak a word of English- and Frank, who speaks a bit of Spanish would understand each other in my absence…

Finding the thick plastic ended up to be more difficult than expected. Apparently, we were not the only ones that had suddenly realized that they needed to protect things from the rain and all the hardware stores in Puerto Jimenez and surroundings had run out of plastic. Y made a couple of phone calls to friends and family and discovered that there was a construction shop in another town that had, literally “more plastic than rice in the belly of a Chinese”. So, off I went.

When I returned with all the necessary items, I found Z digging up the hole for the posts. But, didn’t Frank dig the hole? I asked Y. Yes, he said, but I said setenta centímetros (70 cm) and he understood veinte centimetros (20 cm)…so we needed to dig deeper, he said with a smile.

Some half an hour later, the first skeleton of the “garage” was set up. With some extra reinforcing beams.



It was getting dark, so we decided to call it a day. We agreed that we (Frank) will cut the necessary bamboo to make the beams the day after and that we could continue with the garage in the afternoon, after work.

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