In Panama, there is a big divide between workers and owners, resulting in one of the biggest obstacles to a stress free life. It is counter intuitive. You would think more workers, less work for you, lower stress. Not so, more workers, more stress......It is a bit like having a big family. The children take a lot of attention and need babysitting.
So, the experiment begins. How to get things done by providing some basic incentives and making sure everyone understands the goal. Some little motivators that get us all pulling in roughly the same direction.
1. Lets have a vegetable garden? I provide materials and seeds, the farm workers provide the labor = we share the vegetables. Some vegetables better than no vegetables. So far we have rows of beans growing, maize in the ground and the shell of a greenhouse. Plastic goes on at the weekend then we can plant leafy greens and other things. Looking forward to more home grown vegetables.
2. Lets clean up of piles of wood? We have piles of bits and pieces of wood from fence making, chopping coffee and oranges. I have taken all I can possibly use for firewood. Gifting the rest for outdoor camp fires. The Indigenous family, expanding for coffee picking, like to cook their food on an open fire. Almost every bit of stuff we don't need is useful to someone, lets get it outa here.
3. How about picking oranges? Last year picking oranges was a loss making activity. By the time I hired pickers and people to take the oranges to the Coop, I made a loss. This year the workers get a chance to pick in their leisure time for $1.50 a bag, I take the sacks to the cooperative and should make another $3.50 for the farm per sack. Not exactly a kings ransom but covers a months electricity or something like it.
4. Know anyone who might be able to do xxxx and would like a bit of extra $? The maid's son is an artist who is going to start working on painting bees on the honey house; The gardener's daughter is a good cook and we have had some magazines with new recipes; The main coffee man has a brother who can take care of horses at least we hope so; The main maid and her sister have some pretty awesome recipes for banana jam and she lives in front of a wood with lots of decaying trees - perfect stumps to start our mushroom spores on.......all we have to do is get them here, in return she would like some rose cuttings.
5. You need xxxx, how about some help with language por favor?. OK, you have no minutes left on your phone, use mine. All kinds of phone calls get made. Like calling the guy to fix the irrigation pump, figuring out how to pay for horse feed, call your brother and see if he can come and work on the horse paddock, and so it goes on.......
Early days, but so far probably the most productive hour of the week.