Things are chugging along at the foundry. It is complicated always, because of the social systems here, what I expect and what the “Patrone” of the forge expects in terms of dividing paychecks and labor. I pay well, because by all means I should, considering I can sell things for more then they can. But one of the effects of this is that people fight each other to work for me, which is not good, especially because I am not here for very long, and I don’t want to leave with them angry at each other next month. It is a learning process.
Today I bought a dead chicken, in search of a wishbone. I am going to cast the wishbone and make necklaces, and everyone was pretty excited about the chicken soup they will make. We shall see how the necklaces go. The charcoal fire that we use to heat the knife for sculpting the wax has a bubbling pot on it as well today, with a chicken inside.
This is a rampant year for malaria. I have never been here when so many people were sick. I haven’t taken malaria prevention medicine for many years, but I am definitely on it now. There is a lot of water everywhere, and 30 percent of the people I know have gotten sick since I came back.
Malic was the best worker at the forge. I left last year with an order out with him. I gave him an advance to buy the bronze, and ordered 500 dollars worth of beautiful bronze whales and fish, that I will try to sell when I get back. I did this order with him because he was the only person who I really trusted to do beautiful work even if I was not there to monitor it. When I came back to find him dead, the pile of work was still with his family. The work he did for me ended up being his final gift to his family, and I felt good buying the pieces, and handing them 500 dollars, a very big amount here.
I am really trying to learn about the foundry, because pouring bronze for me at home is still usually unsuccessful. I did the pouring myself for the first two fires, and will continue butting in to do the work, as mostly people want me to sit down and watch when the fire happens.
For the most part things are running smoothly. I feel very at home here.