Our friends, Cristian and Lissette, had an opportunity to address a concern regarding the lack of medical resources here in Crucita to the Governor of Manabí (our province). The governor explained that the proper channels would be to first present this concern to the president of Crucita and gather as much information from the citizens to confirm that this is indeed a concern for most. Though there are a few doctors who are available sparingly and very limited hours, there is not a 24 hour facility here nor is there an ambulance that works properly. Currently if there is an emergency, the people have to somehow get to Porto Viejo (or Rocafuerte) which is a good distance away by car. And many folks here don’t have cars, but rather depend on buses which do not run all night. The need is very great.
So the past several Saturdays, Cristian and several of us have been going door to door in the various communities within Crucita parish to collect surveys of what the people are saying in regard to the need for proper medical resources here. Of course we have fun along the way. Javiar says to me, “Jenny you are my best Gringa friend!”…..I say back to Javiar, “Javiar, I am your ONLY gringa friend…but you are my best Ecuadorian friend named Javiar!”
The people are more than happy to participate and tell their own stories of being in desperate need and having little to no options.
Currently, most depend on home remedies or go to the pharmacy and try to figure things out on their own. Almost 100% agreed that we need 24 hour medical services here as well as an ambulance that is in good working condition. This information will be presented to the president this week on Wednesday. We are praying that this information is received well and moves on to the next phase to get something in place here. In our own expat community, two of our fellow expats died due to an accident on the beach. With proper resources in place, it’s possible that their lives could have been spared. So this need truly hits home to both foreigners as well as Ecuadorians alike.
Some very exciting news is that my CAT Scan came back as normal and the spots on my lungs are of no concern! I still am scheduled to have surgery a week from today on my tongue. We are praying that all goes well and that healing is fast.
Also, last week, I received my visa! Tomorrow, we travel to Guayaquil to pick up my Cedula (government ID card). I was absolutely thrilled because it has been a long, arduous process getting this visa. It seems as if the laws regarding immigration are continually changing. I can’t say enough about our processor that helped us through the entire process, Dana Cameron. She is extremely knowledgable and works relentlessly at her job to ensure that each person is taken care of and granted their visa. It has been a pleasure working with her. I feel for her though as she has no control of regulation changes and often times the changes occur without any warning. So you can only imagine the position she is in with regards to helping people get through all the red tape. Long story short, the law had changes when we moved here almost a year ago and they would not process both of our Visas together. Dave had to apply and go through the process first and then I was eligible to apply. Dave’s process took about 6 months. When I was finally able to apply, they wouldn’t take my application because they said I needed to have a bank account here in Ecuador with $8,000 for 6 months (new law). Since this was impossible being that we just heard of this and did not have an account with $8,000 for 6 months. We were in Guayaquil to apply and we had to turn around and go back to Crucita. There was nothing more we could do. Dana was shocked and tried to get information as to how we could work around this but no one seemed to have answers or know anything different to do. We decided to apply in Manta and Dana graciously met us there and they took the application no problem. Whew! They told us we would hear something in 15-30 days and that we would receive an email confirming once the application was approved. 30 days passed….no email. 60 days….no email. A couple weeks later, Dana’s daughter (who speaks Spanish fluently) called to find out what was going on and they would only say that an email had been sent but would not give her any information other than that. Our only option was to physically go to the office and try to hope for a person to help us that could speak some English. We got there and were told that there was good new and bad news. The good news was that the Visa was approved, the bad news was that the law has changed yet again and now they are requiring that people supply proof of health insurance before a visa is issued. This is somewhat of a catch 22 because we can’t get the government insurance without first having a cedula (Visa). Somehow by the grace of God, they approved it anyway!! It was a miracle in my opinion. This could have been delayed even further, but we were able to move forward and apply for the Cedula which I should receive tomorrow. It was a process I wouldn’t like to repeat again for a very long time….if ever.
As a result, we were able to confidently purchase our airline tickets to go back to the United States for a visit. Without the Visa, I wouldn’t have been granted access back into Ecuador for another year. We are going for 3 weeks and already have quite a full schedule, but we look forward to seeing our parents and children and friends again!