Monday, September 1, 2008

a while since my update due to a period of difficulty

While I have not updated my blogs for a while, I have been extremely busy these past two months on trouble shooting matters that seem to occur incessantly on a daily basis, making me wonder what is in store for me today. The issues have been many fold and cannot be isolated as to reason or type or even an unforeseen event. Even for my personality, which is of an optimistic disposition it has been hard to take given the already traumatic events of 2008.

They have included a vehicle repair arising out of the gear or stick shift coming into my hand, and that meant I was not able to make sales on schedule, resulting in loss of revenue, and a shortage of funds, to say nothing of the added expense of the repair.

A whole family of monkeys have taken up residence at the back of the farm house in Godagama and have already done considerable damage to the banana trees and my one and only avocado tree along with drinking coconut and king coconuts, which they do with their sharp teeth. We are forbidden to kill them even though they are now vermin and in substantial numbers as to be pests more harmful than rats. In these times we are not able to get gun permits to try and deter them. Lighting of fire-crackers is of absolutely no use in this regard as they have become used to this ruse.

One of the permanent staff has just failed to turn up to work and looks unlikely he will return. I need to find a replacement quickly. Two of the female staff contracted the dreaded “chickengunya” fever and have been out of work for over a week, resulting in a considerable loss to productive output of the farm as the females in Sri Lanka are more productive than to males, whatever the chauvinistic males say. To make matters worse the cattle keeper is out with the flu, and it is hard to keep the herd of cattle of about 15 washed and cleaned as well as milked.

Another of the men Gamini, a father of four who is an alcoholic, knocked a borrowed trishaw on the morning after his daughter’s wedding, and has broken his knee-cap etc. and is out of action for months. He had borrowed money for his daughter’s wedding on the promise of payback soon after by way of payroll deduction. When will I ever see the color of that! It is a double whammy disaster of an essential coconut tree climber and tractor operator being out for perhaps four months.
This when added to the nuisance value of a non working man with no funds and family to support, however still funding his drink and bothering others and utilizing free accommodation and produce is more than I can take. There is only so long one can live on charity which is what he is doing. The other day my father took dry rations to his home to help out. What he does not then realize is that the money he receives by way of charity will further enrich his needs which ironically are supplied by his wife as he has no way of getting the stuff.

The bride groom also works for me and so with his wedding to Gamini’s daughter, his attendance is also suspect, and he is the only one who is capable of using the petrol grass cutting machine, and my cows too have had much less to eat, resulting in a drop of milk for sale, arising from all of the above.

The usual man who comes to cut the king coconuts (has been for the past 25 years) has been very erratic in his arrivals lately as he wants even more per nut to cut and tree to climb, and so my king coconut sales have suffered even more than I had calculated due to the wet weather.

With 50% less staff working for the past two weeks my place is in a state of shambles, not putting it too bluntly.

My alternative refuge in Polonnaruwa is full of election talk, preventing the finish of my kitchen in Ratmale, and water shortage for my paddy at this critical juncture, which I have had to resolve by pumping water at great expense to ensure I don’t lose my rice crop which is due for harvest in less than a month.

This tale of woe is kind of the worst it has got so far, with no obvious resolution and I only hope I can relate some better news next time, but I am hanging in there by the skin of my teeth and only just. I have been able to weather this due to my capacity to live on air and not much else.

I have the greatest admiration for businessmen who have started with little and have achieved a lot as it is with a lot of sacrifice and patience, and hope that things will improve that they have been able to finally get to where they are now. Those reading my blog can offer one-word solutions like fire the lot, or sell the property and retire to the jungle, but all these words of advice are easier said than done.


snoosn said...

Hi Machan

Don't fire the lot, or you will get into trouble.

You could try to entice or sweeten the employment deal with a month-end reward. I give my housekeeper an additional Rs2000 if he:
1) doesn't come late for work the entire month;
2) doesn't have any sick days for the entire month; and
3) perform all the chores/work that need to be done

Till this day, he's been working for us for 13 months and not a single sick day nor has he ever come late for work. We even gave him 2 extra months' bonus on completion of his 12th months, as he has exceeded our expectations.

I know at times this may not work for you, cashflow is a problem for you. Hope you will find a way out.

Take care

PS: Still waiting to hear from you if I could get forest bee honey from you here in Negombo. Cheers.

Rajaratarala said...

sadly I have offered as substantial attendance bonus and I found that it has actually increased absence as this is earned in a month and then they decide to slack of for the next month and actually increased the level of unreliability and reduced the hours worked.
I think those I have are quite the untrainable types

snoosn said...

Really sorry to hear about your plight... hope you find some way out of this.

Take care