Wednesday, June 10, 2009

who done it?

So I get a panicked phone call from Antonio a few weeks ago. "Byron, the chickens showed up dead I'm being accused of poisoning them!" Last year about the same time, as the black beans were flowering, Antonio had enough of the a neighbors chickens roaming my farm and eating everything in sight, so he poisoned them after countless warnings. I told the said neighbor a couple times directly, still he did nothing to control his chickens. Last year I paid for the chickens: 5,000DR pesos ($140).

On my last trip I saw the said neighbor in the road as I walked out of town because of rains kept the trucks from running. I told him, control the chickens or I will.

He did. I get mad about once a year. My fuse is really really long, but if it goes clear the room. The lieutenant that had me on the phone didn't think this gringo would be quite so aggressive. It was simple. Mr. Lieutenant says, "the owner of the chickens needs you to pay him they are dead, I have them here". I responded, "The owner has every right to be paid for the chickens from the person that killed them." I ask, "who killed the chickens?" Ummm I have 3 chickens and 1 rooster poisoned here. At this point I'm at 6000 RPM. "Who KILLED the CHICKENS?!" OK, deep breath. "DID YOU GO DOWN TO MY FARM AND SEE THE DEAD CHICKENS WITHIN MY BARBWIRE?" "No, they showed up on said neighbors hand". Approaching 9000 RPM. "OK WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR INVESTIGATION AND CAN ACCUSE ME OF POISONING THOSE CHICKENS, THEN YOU CONTACT ME." He realized he would make no progress and handed the phone back to Antonio.

Now I have a lawyer involved, several community members and it is not over yet. Had I killed the chickens, I would pay con gusto. Antonio and I discussed in mid May that we would use a shot-gun to take care of the chickens if they continued to do damage to the beans, bananas, and lettuce. This is obviously more than a couple dead chickens. This is about my family and about precedent.

1) Don't fuck with my Dominican family
2) I will not pay said neighbor a single peso because that sets the stage for him to take advantage of me later

Now you know one example of what its like to own a farm abroad.

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