Friday, Sep 9, 2016

I got a real taste of Ecuadorian bureaucracy today at the IESS office. Heidi and I showed up to get her enrolled into the government medical insurance program. So just to recap this process: the primary person (me) get’s signed up first at IESS, then has to wait until the following month to be able to pay the premium, at a prescribed bank, to be officially enrolled. Then, after a day or so for the premium payment to be updated in the system, the dependent can sign up. Once enrolled there is a 90 day waiting period before anything other than emergency care can be utilized.

So I paid my premium a couple of days ago, and here we are at IESS. Scott and Colleen are with us doing the same thing as well. Today we first stand in line to get a number from the receptionist. Scott and I both were given an express number, he had x001 and I had x002. X stands for express because this is a fast process.

Last month when we were here to sign up as primaries it only took about 10 minutes. All that is done at this point is having your cedula number entered into their system for the insurance program, then you leave and wait until you can pay.

The receptionist told us which window/desk to go to and wait to be helped. There was no one at this window for probably 10 minutes. When the woman arrived Scott moved toward her but she indicated she was helping someone else. She did and when she was done, Scott moved in again and showed her his number. She again dismissed him and called someone else up.

When she finished with this last person, we had been waiting about 30 minutes. When the person left the window, the woman who was supposed to help us stood up from her desk, turned around and got her phone from her purse, and left the area. The four of us just sat there looking at each other for a few seconds, then discussed how long we were going to wait.

We did wait for another five minutes or so and it became apparent this woman wasn’t coming back anytime soon. We decided to go back to the receptionist and see what was happening. But guess what, the receptionist was gone as well. It was about 12:20 pm and I believe they were both gone for lunch. By the way, people were still standing in line for the receptionist to get a number .

Anyway, we decided we could stay here and wait, and not know when or if anyone would help us, or we could go have a nice lunch and try this again another day. Since none of the four of us want to suffer unnecessarily we chose lunch!

Las Monjas Restaurant, Cuenca

Las Monjas Restaurant, Cuenca

We had a great lunch at Las Monjas  (the Nuns) at Borrero 6-41 y Juan Jaramillo. The restaurant is on the second floor of the building, the interior is done in wood…floors, accents, and bar. The food was great as well. The almuerzo was $4.25 I think, and came with a choice of carne, pollo, or chancho. I had the chancho (pork) and it was covered in a citrus type sauce. The juice was incredibly good too. Babaco.

After lunch Heidi and I had to go pick up a package near the airport. Donna had it sent from Bahia (thanks Donna and Doug!) and it had more of the Guayusa tea leaves that Heidi makes her “witches brew” out of. There was also some Sangre de Drago, Dragons Blood, which is a red sap from the tree by the same name. The trees are predominately in the Amazonian areas within Ecuador.

The sap has been used for hundreds of years by the indigenous population as an anti-infective for wounds, and because of it’s “latex” like quality as a “second skin” over wounds and cuts. It also relieves itching and inflammation. Internal uses include healing of stomach ulcers, stopping of diarrhea, and elimination of intestinal viruses.

So between the brewed tea and the dragon’s blood everyone should remain very healthy in the Gorishek household. 🙂