Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Two Stinky Pilgrims (and a way to help)

Wow! Money really IS the hot-button issue! I have never had a blog entry with more response. Maybe I should shift my focus. Forget about dogs and foggy mornings and fiestas, and keep on about the decline and fall of the donativo?

But no. I love my foggy mornings way too much. And fundamentally, money is boring.

Speaking of Hot Buttons, look at the column to the right of these words. After much consideration I have now installed a PayPal button, for your consideration. You can help us feed pilgrims and other strays if you like, using the currency or credit card of your choice. Please note we are NOT a registered charity, we have not met any official standard of honesty or accounting excellence, and you cannot write off your donations on your tax form. (not that you can´t try.) Your contribution may be used to buy anything ranging from lentils, wine, manure, truck tires, a roof, or a new leg for a busted cat. Just so you know.

Since I wrote the last blog Patrick and Kim and I have had a very thoughtful week. We read every bit of posted advice carefully, and discussions are ongoing. A beautiful (and BIG) Donativo box was done-up and duly installed in a prominent spot in the kitchen, "salted" from the outset with a 50-Euro note. We´ve had a few pilgrims since, and we´ve told them up front this is not a free house, that they´re expected to put money in the box or contribute some labor or other commodity. And so they´ve done. We won´t get rich this way, but we won´t feel completely exploited, either. And those who don´t have money have donated some other interesting things:  a kilo of lentils is my favorite, exchanged for a cup of coffee and a muffin. (No, he did not put the lentils in the donativo box.)
"This is your food," I told the guy. "You could eat this for a week!"
"It weighs a kilo," he replied. "Got to lighten my pack."

Can´t argue with that. And we like lentils. These are super fine ones, too, from Pardiña. Divine Providence.

The most interesting pilgrims we´ve hosted this week are two starving runaways Una found this morning in a drainage ditch. We took them home and set them up in the kitchen, where they don´t mind sleeping on the floor. They curl in on themselves, their bones all angled out like a game of Pick-Up Stix. They stink worse than any pilgrim I ever smelled before, but I am not ready to send them to the shower yet. They´re just too scared and cold.

They are a pair of galgos, brindle greyhound dogs, probably lost last week from a hare-hunting party. They´ve been drifting ´round the villages and along the highway for days, looking more and more skinny each time they´re seen. Today, on our morning walk, Una rousted them out of their hiding place, and the littlest one let herself be caught and collared. The big one followed along when we walked home.
These are beautiful, elegant dogs. But we already have two of those.
Paddy is smitten. This evening he hand-fed them rice and bread and boiled eggs, which they promptly puked back up. When I go to bed, I am directed to wake him up, so he can sleep downstairs and keep an eye on them.  Una and Tim aren´t sure about all this. They are keeping a distance. Murphy is shut in the barn. (I understand that Greyhounds love cats. For lunch.)
Stray dogs have washed up before on our shore, so we know what to do. The Guardia Civil officer came this afternoon, and said he´ll send a special wildlife agent round tomorrow to see if The Girls have ID microchips. If no owner can be found, we can keep them. Or hand them over to Esteban the Mayor for "disposal." Yikes.

All this and three Italian guys moving in on Friday,  so work can begin on the new albergue. Two hospitalero trainees are also set up for Saturday, when I will try out all the new Federation hospitalero materials on them. I need a haircut. I need to put  my office in order. The writing project is coming right along -- I do it late at night, because it won´t let me sleep any more. (That is a good sign. Long as I get my afternoon nap.)

Thank you all for your kind support and advice. Next time you come and visit, you will see the outcomes.


Ryan said...

Bravo Reb & Paddy! I'm glad to see the new box, your new policy (cash, barter, or work) and the donate button newly installed!

Those dogs look like they're in horrible shape! Nice of you to bring them in though so they don't starve - I was just telling someone about why there's no wildlife on the Meseta! I always thought they were such an awful breed, but that's even more horrible. I'm sure they're nice, I just don't like the "looks of em!" Oh well, to each his own. I hope they have owners that are able to be found.

Anonymous said...

Remember, I am good for the car tires.


Anonymous said...

Some olive oil will be on it's way to you (our donation) - and having read this and your last blog title, my tupenny worth would be to put a sign over your elegant 'donativo' receptacle ...

Treat this as you would wish others to treat yours... or something - you're the writer!


Kim said...

With the newly found dogs, the following is the rescue who may be able to help.

GRIN Spanish Representative:


Johanna said...

Hi Rebekah,

Wow, I'm amazed at all the money issues with pilgrims... now I'm sincerely hoping that I'm not counted as one of the exploiters. That's just paranoid me speaking. I would never have thought that some people wouldn't leave anything at all. But I love the new donativo box! It's so Kim-like. And the virtual donativo - As soon as I find a job here in Germany I will put something into it!

Other than that, I managed to make a pretty good swap as well at your place - a cooking pot in exchange for that puzzle book from your mother (which I finished off almost completely!) Hope everything is going to look better now and that it's not as cold there in Moratinos as it is here... waaaay below zero!!

Lots of love to you and Paddy and Kim,

Anonymous said...

I just made a donativo. Spend it on wormer for those 2 dogs. They really need it ! ! !