The eagle and the condor, Part 4: Building gardens and so much more
By Louis Bourgeois
My new life in my country home in San Jose de Balzay began in October of 2014. When I arrived I had but two weeks to move out of my rented apartment in Cuenca and begin to furnish the house.
As things would have it, my new landlord hadn’t completed all the work we had agreed to when I headed back to the U.S. the previous spring. So it was necessary to seal off the large kitchen and dining area with plastic and camp out there while the ceilings and ceramic tile floors in the other rooms were finished. I was not that concerned about the construction delay as my first priority was building the stockade fence, enclosing the side yard, which then would become a large garden.
I hired two local men to build the brick wall to create a courtyard in front of the house. It would be a very busy three months before the house, courtyard and gardens were ready.
As my good fortune would have it, following my devotion to the eagle and condor prophecy, I met a local woman who expressed an interest in me. We met in Parque Calderon and had a chat. She had learned English when she went to the University in Cuenca, getting her degree in accounting. Recently she had left an accounting job, and she expressed an interest in finding new work. I assured her that I had plenty with my new house, and that I could hire her full-time for 3 months.
It turns out that Catty was very handy, able to do simple electrical and plumbing as well as painting. What impressed me the most was that she showed up every day exactly at 8 a.m., having traveled by bus one hour from the other side of Cuenca where she lived with her family.
I made several trips to my favorite beach at Ayampe, collecting shells and colorful rocks for my front courtyard. I built a waterfall and pool, planting bamboo on either side and roses along the front wall. Catty helped me build my first greenhouse and assisted me in making the perimeter fence.
Working with the local eucalyptus was a new experience, both challenging and rewarding. I had seeds for about 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and it was my intention to grow tomatoes, selling seed, seedlings and produce as my new hobby. My former business in the U.S. had been in Garden and landscape work, but my dream had always been to one day putter in my greenhouse with tomatoes.
As the weeks and months rolled along Catty and I had built a comfortable friendship. Though I was clear with her at the beginning that she was not my type, over time I was grew very fond of her. But never was there any romantic or sexual attraction. One day Catty shared with me something very personal. She told me that she was 37, with no prospects for marriage or having a baby. She shared how in her culture a woman who never marries or has a child is treated by her family more as a servant than as a family member. I would come to witness this very thing with two women, one a sister to Catty’s mother and the other a sister to her father. Catty then made a very bold proposition. She asked me if I would consider helping her to make a baby.
I was stunned by her request, and by her honesty. Having been married twice but never having children, as my ex-wives were each older than myself with a child or children, I assumed that I would enjoy my retirement alone.
I felt a calm embrace inside me as I turned to Catty to tell her that we could try to make a baby.