There are many wonderful reasons to live in Ajijic, Lake Chapala but one of my favorites is the help we have in our home.
In Canada I had a lovely Polish woman 1 day a week, who was with me for 17 years, for a cost of $80.00 (this, of course, was 15 years ago).
I also employed a gardening service in the summer months for a fee of $ 120.00 per month.
Here I have Viki, who has been with us since we arrived 15 years ago, for 3 hours a day 5 days a week for a cost of $750.00 pesos per week.
We also have a gardener, Viki’s father-in-law, three days a week for 2 hours at a cost of $250.00 pesos per week.
One can pay their maids and gardeners a lot less in Ajijic, Lake Chapala but bear in mind both of our people have been with us for 15 years and even with the minimal yearly raises the price has gone up.
Viki first came to us when she was 18 and had been trained at La Nueva Posada. She required no training from me and went about her business of keeping our home clean and sparkling from the getgo. She also spoke no English so this was a wonderful way for me to start learning Spanish to be able to communicate with her.
She is married now with 2 daughters and her entire courtship took place in our outdoor laundry room where she spent 2 days a week ironing. The gardener’s son helped his father and love bloomed. We were invited to her wedding and were seated at the head table and treated like royalty. My father, who was visiting, was also included in the festivities.
Viki is very much a member of our family and has watched our two children grow up and always asks about them when they are away from Ajijic, Lake Chapala.
She has a sunny disposition and is always smiling and is a delight to have around. She does anything asked of her cheerfully and I can not imagine what I would do without her.
When we are away she and her family move into our house to look after our dogs and make sure everything is OK.
I feel very fortunate to have had the same person for all this time and I love her and her family. Her mother works for a friend/client of my husband’s and her sister-in-law works for Collins Real Estate. When we need extra help for a party or to have a property ready for inspection other members of her family are happily pressed into service.
Our gardener, Victoriano, requires a little more instruction as to how we like our property maintained. For some reason the Mexicans are loathe to deadhead flowers and remove weeds (malas herbas) from potted plants. Over the years with patience and persistence we have struck an amiable relationship. He is also a great handyman which is vital to me as my husband and son cannot change a light bulb without profanity.
A lot of people also have drivers, cooks, security guards, etc. Also loving help for children and older relatives is available here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala.
As Navidad (Christmas) is rapidly approaching I thought I would mention the giving of Alginaldos (combination Christmas and holiday pay) to your staff. One is required to give 15 days pay to each staff member before the 16th of December. This is only a minimum guideline and if you wish you give more that is, of course, up to you.
For those people who become involved with their help they will find the rewards of associations with the warm Mexican people most satisfying.