Two Romeo’s

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Feiko Beckers

Not far from my studio a small group of construction workers are renovating a building. They’re all from Paramaribo. Two of them are called Romeo. When I ask if that’s not confusing, they tell me that they simple call each other by their last name. And their last names are not the same.
      I ask them if they’re ever afraid not to get paid for a job. The many unfinished houses in Moengo prove that quite a few building projects have to be halted because of a lack of funds.
      “We always work in different phases.” One of the Romeo’s tells me. “For every phase we make a separate cost estimate and we get paid separately. There’s a price for the foundation, for the walls, for the rafters, for the roof and for the water and electricity. Even for the bathroom tiles we make a separate price.”
      In other words in Suriname construction workers don’t build houses. They continuously build parts of houses.

The other Romeo interrupts. He tells me that in this case they didn’t brake the renovation down into different phases. Because the building is owned by the church. And the church in Moengo, in contrast to its congregation, always has enough funds readily available.

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