Home Russ Reina

Russ Reina

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 5 months ago

    It’s very much a personal call that will be determined by your willingness to take complete responsibility for your healthcare management; in Spanish! You’re the one who’ll have to decide the risks you’ll take by moving to a developing country who’s emphasis is on handling the needs of ITS populace, NOT the needs of a limited number of foreigners…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 5 months ago

    Hola, Attila… thanks for the info, it’s good to hear, and I’ll for sure consider your offer.

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 5 months ago

    Thank you Susan, Mary and Derek. There is a pattern in many North American publications to rave about Ecuador’s health care. Comparatively, it truly IS moving forward nicely; for its dominant demographics. In thirty years, the age demographics may be similar, but that’s in thirty years. Meantime, retired expats really need to “get” you have to…[Read more]

  • you like it or not, or even believe it, the second a true medical emergency comes into your life you become even more of a stranger in a strange land. Your flow of life is interrupted, and unless you have taken […]

    • This is really good information and something I hadn’t really thought about. Thank you for sharing!!

    • i would like be in contact with some English spekers living at Cuenca and other places an Ecuador and we can do languages exchanges by Unternet In Skype I am americamary. I will be at Ecuador very soon and will have a lot ot free time …. We can teachach very well each other I hope some commentas…My e mail is [email protected] I would like to open a reading CLUB at Cuenca and to incentive the language exchange…. Best regards… Maria (sKYPE: americamary )

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 9 months ago

    Personally, I agree with the facts; that healthcare in the U.S. manufactures more illness than it corrects. It also makes tolerable living with chronic, age-related maladies. But making comparisons of the U.S. to Ecuador is not useful. You have to remember, the demographics of the U.S. are wildly different than that of Ecuador. About 60% of the…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 9 months ago

    That’s exactly what I did, Hernan. My personal medical standards were better met by Ecuador precisely because I had to take responsibility for myself in a more wholistic way. This is not a pharmaceutically oriented system. It is not costly machine-dependent, nor is it ruled by litigation. The point of my article is to make other expats more aware…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 9 months ago

    Sam, Dodie, Steve and Mary Jane. Yes, it is true that there is inconsistency in treatment up North, perhaps it’s not quite as homogenized as I portrayed. Just like Ecuador, perhaps, you can find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, the information/propaganda that we are fed “up there” is that you never have to worry; that the…[Read more]

  • Healthcare in Ecuador
    Examining Your Norm
    As a teenager in the 1960’s I could go from one end of the U.S. to the other and find communities and even whole states noticeably “behind” my area of the country […]

    • My Mother, the last two times she was in US hospitals, getting the best care money can buy, they have made serious (mostly life-threatening) mistakes over and over. I prefer the Ecuadorian health-care system, where I can access first-rate care (AND get second / multiple opinions before deciding anything!) affordably. I appreciate your eyes-open appraisal that shows you appreciate the many advantages we have here, including ready access to a wide range of alternative therapies!

    • Sam, Dodie, Steve and Mary Jane. Yes, it is true that there is inconsistency in treatment up North, perhaps it’s not quite as homogenized as I portrayed. Just like Ecuador, perhaps, you can find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, the information/propaganda that we are fed “up there” is that you never have to worry; that the “system” will take care of you. When you bring that belief system down here and do not take complete responsibility for educating yourself about #1) your own medical needs, and #2) what services, personnel and skills you have available to you IN YOUR IMMEDIATE AREA, you’re setting yourself up to blame Ecuador for your complications. One of the first things reported to me is how, almost as a matter of course, when expats come here on the (typical) 8 + medications they are used to receiving at “home” the doctors immediately bring them down to a manageable few. This alone requires a sea change in one’s thinking and an adjustment period where lifestyle change becomes paramount. Bottom line, Ecuador requests, if not demands, that you start thinking differently, and nowhere is it more apparent than in how you handle your healthcare needs.

    • WHAT? I have to THINK! And be RESPONSIBLE for my, WHAT, I have to make CHOICES??? And TAKE CARE OF MYSELF??? What kind of no-nanny-state is this turning out to be!

      Next, you’re going to say I have to deal with reality like the rest of the world. Come on, this is a joke, right? Tell me there’s a public health care system out there that’s cheap and fast, with perfect people, equipment, protocols, procedures, materials, transportation and even food. Sort of like a,a…McMedical fantasy island?

      Ok, sorry. I’m better now. That caught me feeling a bit smarmy at the moment about how easy most of us Americans have it compared to the rest of the world…and how much we tend to take that for granted.

      Thanks, Russ, for the eye-openers and reminders. And everybody else for your contributions. I’ll take my ball and go home.

    • n fact, on an international scale, the Ecuador health system was ranked in the top 20 of efficient healthcare systems by the most recent Bloomberg analysis of World Health Organization (WHO) information— In contrast the United States is ranked 46th.

    • That’s exactly what I did, Hernan. My personal medical standards were better met by Ecuador precisely because I had to take responsibility for myself in a more wholistic way. This is not a pharmaceutically oriented system. It is not costly machine-dependent, nor is it ruled by litigation. The point of my article is to make other expats more aware of some of the adjustments they will need to make in their thinking to adapt to a system that does things differently. The truth is, and as I’ve explained in other articles noted, the age, general state of health and accustomed treatment regimen of the typical North American Expat is simply out of step with the demographics and most pressing needs of the Ecuadorian people. Ecuador is not the problem, nor is North America. The problem is with those who refuse to understand that things are done differently where they are as opposed to wherever “home” is.

    • Personally, I agree with the facts; that healthcare in the U.S. manufactures more illness than it corrects. It also makes tolerable living with chronic, age-related maladies. But making comparisons of the U.S. to Ecuador is not useful. You have to remember, the demographics of the U.S. are wildly different than that of Ecuador. About 60% of the population in Ecuador is under 30 years of age. It’s medical system is quite efficient for the needs of its population. When you talk about expats, however, who are predominately in their 60’s plus (please refer to my article https://gringotree.com/understanding-ecuadors-emergency-medical-services-ems/ ) you’re talking about a completely different set of needs that have become dependent on a pharmaceutically and device-oriented medical culture that doesn’t exist down here. You will not have access to the volume of trained practitioners, meds, and equipment down here that you have learned to depend on up North. All that means is that you can’t leave your medical needs to chance. You must investigate and learn which facility/medical staff are equipped to handle what you have BEFORE you run into an emergency. Especially for those who assume that care for those of advanced years who have largely lifestyle-related illnesses is comparable in the two areas, don’t forget that you’re a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    With permission I’m including insights from a couple of people who responded to the article on the FaceBook page, “What’s Happening in Cotacachi” because they offer some valuable insights:

    GARY PHILLIPS: Russ, I would like to offer a perspective from someone who has lived here for more than 10 years, and participated in one way or another with…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    Thanks, Darrell. I’m glad I had a year to refine the article. In that time I’ve come to suspect that our cultural affectations as you described are so deeply ingrained that it takes a huge impetus for a lot of us to recognize, let alone modify, our ways of thinking. I often get stunned by examples of my own cultural blindness. For me, before my…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    On another FaceBook page where I linked the article, Lorenzo, I was corrected and learned that for many of the Indigenous communities a Christmastime gift of sweets for the kids is not new as well.

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    A bit confused here, Bob. Is this from your blog or someone else’s? And are you saying the event as depicted was intentions gone awry? If so, how?

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    You’re absolutely correct, Nor. Yet, they too fall into the general category of North American and they carry with them many of the characteristics of their lighter skinned brothers and sisters, including size, shape, the amount of space they take up (energetically), and, perhaps most important, attitude. I suppose, without having been more…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    What I hear as the theme of your response, Larry, is “Who knows what’s best?” It’s an extremely valuable point, and perhaps that is the theme of my piece as well. I have been handicapped by having been born in Brooklyn, during the 1950’s when NY (so I was told which has become ingrained in me) was the center of the Universe because it was doing…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    My piece was an illustration of one event that brings out a slew of unconscious reactions in North Americans. Besides Birthdays what do we have culturally as ritual, celebration and community connection? Here in Cotacachi, some sort of public celebration and opportunity for interaction with your neighbor, church, clan or barrio is going on all the…[Read more]

  • Russ Reina posted a new activity comment 4 years, 10 months ago

    Thanks All for your comments!
    Corbin’s response brought up a number of important points. The one that really stood out to me was this:
    “the issue of stocking up on things so that one does not have to leave their home until the next time they stock up. Leave that mindset behind and be willing to go with a daily foray for fresh bread or coffee or…[Read more]

  • Let’s talk about the Christmas messages, we the expat community, may be sending to our Indigenous neighbors, and in turn, how some of them may be embracing negative aspects of our North American culture without e […]

    • Yes, right on, very accurate, insightful, and disquieting – everyone who reads the article will change something concretely that we do, at Christmas and the rest of the year! Thanks for this!

    • An excellent article and so true. Good to perceive our placements and giving with how ones around us see us. I applaud this author and his insights. And pushes me even further to work on learning to speak Spanish well here since this is my now chosen home country and as in the USA ones need to learn to speak English to navigate well, it is true here too. I have become too complacent with an English speaking landlord who translates and takes me about places. But when it comes to his family and my wanting to communicate, I become frustrated as do they with our desires to share more. Thanks again for pointing out how we are perceived here. Well done.

    • Truly, I find this one of the best articles I’ve ever read on Gringo Tree. Like to see more like this.

    • Thanks All for your comments!
      Corbin’s response brought up a number of important points. The one that really stood out to me was this:
      “the issue of stocking up on things so that one does not have to leave their home until the next time they stock up. Leave that mindset behind and be willing to go with a daily foray for fresh bread or coffee or something in order to start building better social connections. A simple daily walk may even help to start this process as you find new, interesting people and places to visit on a regular basis.”
      This is a terrific observation on lifestyle differences and a great idea for a way of being that makes more intimate contact unavoidable. He’s basically talking increasing your exposure. “Is there a better plan for your time and effort than getting comfortable with your community?” he asks. No!
      The reality is that these are skills the average expat must cultivate (or be taught) to mirror what comes naturally (through enculturation) to the Indigenous. In fact, once I saw it I recognized that this is precisely the thing I DON’T do. It is truly a foreign concept to me to be other than goal-directed when it’s time to provision myself. I can see what I’ve been missing.

    • My piece was an illustration of one event that brings out a slew of unconscious reactions in North Americans. Besides Birthdays what do we have culturally as ritual, celebration and community connection? Here in Cotacachi, some sort of public celebration and opportunity for interaction with your neighbor, church, clan or barrio is going on all the time. Parades are a way of life. We seem to save all this energy for ONE OR TWO BIG EVENTS A YEAR and are happy to get it over with. Oh, here comes my cynicism but the point is, we, and I include myself, have to work a lot harder to recognize how our automatic reactions are out of place in other cultures. Empowerment to us means something a whole lot different to our Host Culture than it does to us and the onus is on us to do the adjusting.

    • What I hear as the theme of your response, Larry, is “Who knows what’s best?” It’s an extremely valuable point, and perhaps that is the theme of my piece as well. I have been handicapped by having been born in Brooklyn, during the 1950’s when NY (so I was told which has become ingrained in me) was the center of the Universe because it was doing everything “right”. It seemed true because ANYTHING I wanted I had access to. All it took was Moxie and Money and (like we do today through the Internet) had all the information I needed at my fingertips. When I left the state for college in Tennessee, and to a certain extent wherever I’ve travelled since, I felt everything was varying degrees of “backward”. Because my typical Nu Yawka arrogance didn’t play well elsewhere, I had to learn to keep myself in check. So I see myself as an extreme example of American blindness to the fact that people everywhere do things differently than I think is right or valuable or productive or sensible and on and on. So where we may agree is that I see so many Norteamericanos NOT asking your question of “Who knows what’s best?” that so much of what is rich and valuable in this culture gets written off, ignored, judged, or worse still, disparaged while we just barrel on and over the people who don’t know any better. My point is, our way is NOT the best for anyone but ourselves and we need to take a good look at whose society we live in and adapt accordingly and with sensitivity.

    • People from the US (Gringos) are not all white. At a minimum 30% are some shade of brown. There are a significant number of “black” Americans living in Ecuador including my wife.

      • You’re absolutely correct, Nor. Yet, they too fall into the general category of North American and they carry with them many of the characteristics of their lighter skinned brothers and sisters, including size, shape, the amount of space they take up (energetically), and, perhaps most important, attitude. I suppose, without having been more specific, I was talking about the ways we North Americans stand out in THIS crowd.

    • A bit confused here, Bob. Is this from your blog or someone else’s? And are you saying the event as depicted was intentions gone awry? If so, how?

    • On another FaceBook page where I linked the article, Lorenzo, I was corrected and learned that for many of the Indigenous communities a Christmastime gift of sweets for the kids is not new as well.

    • Thanks, Darrell. I’m glad I had a year to refine the article. In that time I’ve come to suspect that our cultural affectations as you described are so deeply ingrained that it takes a huge impetus for a lot of us to recognize, let alone modify, our ways of thinking. I often get stunned by examples of my own cultural blindness. For me, before my behavior changes, I need to tweak my way of thinking, dropping my most familiar and comfortable view of how the world works. The world really does work differently down here! To each his/her own taste, but I’m comfortable in the student/guest role.

    • With permission I’m including insights from a couple of people who responded to the article on the FaceBook page, “What’s Happening in Cotacachi” because they offer some valuable insights:

      GARY PHILLIPS: Russ, I would like to offer a perspective from someone who has lived here for more than 10 years, and participated in one way or another with indigenous Christmas’s almost every year. The tradition of giving bags of candy in the communities goes way back decades before we gringos arrived. It is obvious by walking through the markets in Otavalo, Ibarra, and Cotacachi and seeing huge piles of 30-40 lb bags of animal crackers stacked to the ceiling that many more people than gringos are providing Christmas treats to the children and senior citizens of the communities.

      One of the major jobs of the community president is to secure funding each year for the bags of candies that in many if not most cases is the only gift that an indigenous child will receive. The second year we were here, we got to know a painter who invited us to participate in the Christmas celebration in a very small village high above Otavalo. Linda and I and Ed and Joanne Rogers packed bags for about 60 children and seniors. The incredible hospitality that was shown us, and the Christmas presentation they presented was only matched by the gratitude that was demonstrated from everyone for the simple gifts of cookies and candies.

      A couple of years later, when more gringos had arrived, we put together a tour of four villages. About 45 people gathered together for several afternoons in our office and packed 1500 bags of cookies and candy, and 50 parcels of foodstuffs that were given to the extremely needy, as selected by the community presidents. Bob Baker donned a Santa Claus costume and we proceeded to have a magical afternoon of cultural exchange with our indigenous neighbors. I doubt that anyone who had the good fortune to participate in that event will ever forget the incredible good will, love and pure fun that was generated on that afternoon.

      One of the villages was the largest and poorest village in Cotacachi canton. I will never forget the delight shining from the children’s eyes as they received their treasures. Each village gave several dance performances showing us the pride they have in their culture. The president of one village presented all of us a huge basket of home made bread, and had tears in his eyes as he thanked us for our gifts and friendship.

      Personally, I believe more good will has been generated by expat participation in Christmas goody bags than most anything that has been done. Of course, there are many other good things that expats can do to build good will. The free breakfasts for the needy by volunteers is an amazing service. The high school scholarship fund, which I coordinated for several years and is now being managed by Patrice Baron Parent is something that I encourage every expat to donate to. It has changed a large number of lives. But the Christmas goody bag service to me represents a great part of the Christmas spirit of giving and sharing. Please don’t try to convince people that it is some kind of ugly American effort. It is just a long tradition in which many expats are now taking part, and for which the villages are extremely grateful..

      By the way, San Pedro is still looking for about $60 more to fund the 260 bags needed. If anyone want to help, I will make the contact for you. .

      DAVID SASAKI: I generally agree with Gary. Candy giving is not just a gringo thing. I would also like to make another observation. I’ve attended many indigenous events in the villages. I see very few expats at most of them. Usually the same small group of foreigners. If you want to show them you really care, you need to go to these events, in their communities, and do so on a regular basis so they get to know who you are.

      RUSS REINA A Firetender: Thank you Gary and David for your perspectives. I don’t hold to have a handle on this because cultural expression is a slippery slope. My experience with other Indigenous cultures (including Oglala, Lakota) has been their being seduced away from the strong and positive values of their own cultures by the thrill of acquisition delivered by folks who have no stake or investment in the daily lives of the people. My root question is “How can we do better to make giving more personal and in step with the actual needs of the Indigenous community?” Tokenism, both the expression and acceptance of it, happens unconsciously and my hope, as has been happening, is that people become more aware of the implications of the cultural differences.

  • Russ Reina's profile was updated 4 years, 10 months ago

  • Some people choose jobs, some jobs choose people.

    Take “Journeyman Jack” Abercrombie. He’s based in Cumbaya, Ecuador, and is an expert on life as an expat the way few are. He can help you give birth to your […]

    • I spent three years deciding on and planning my retirement to Cuenca. International Living was a big support as was their contact person here and had a one week visit here, with a couple of friends, ad my contact helped me secure a local attorney and a reliable shipper with man years of experience. Stayed at a B&B run by an American resident who introduced me to a great English speaking facilitator. With his assist, found a perfect apartment that is the ground floor of a three story house under finishing construction in Misicata suburb. With my local attorney’s assist, I signed a lease and found my landlord who was to live on the 2nd floor, lived in the US for half his life so also spoke English. I spent next 9 months in the US selling my home and packing to ship a pallet of personal items needed here. I arrived here with 6 suitcases and a friend and we spent a week having great fun furnishing my apartment. Had all my required paperwork, thanks to my attorney’s help, ready upon my arrival so processing my Visa and acquiring my Cedula was easy and was assisted with all that with my landlord and attorney. Spent $1200 on Visa, $5,000 to furnish my place with nicer than average furniture plus major appliances, and $3900 for my shipment. Love living here and only surprise was how cold it can be during the rainy season but have a small propane heater and a good space heater I shipped over so they take the chill off my ground floor apartment as needed. I live nicely on just under $1,000 monthly with all amenities but plan to spend more if socializing around town or taking trips about which is great fun and day day trips to nearby towns of interest or to the Inca ruins are about $100 for each, I find. This gives all a fair idea of the good living here and love this country. Am also available if ones have specific questions. Find most Expats are open to assisting others. Have been totally adopted into my landlord’s family increasing the joy of living here immensely while allowing me to learn more about their culture.

      • Sierra,
        Did you take any pets there with you, and if so, how did it go?
        What is the thing about Cuenca that you dislike the most?

    • Jack can be reached through his website (Journeyman Jack’s Relocation Services: http://journeymanjack.com/ ) or Facebook group, Expats Leaving Ecuador.

    • (Author’s reply) Dean, five years ago when I began my own personal search, I started with IL as many others have. It provided me a valuable jumping off place from which I took personal responsibility for extensive research on my own for free. Having lived here for more than 3 years I have spent much porch time watching expats come and go because they either didn’t do their homework, relied on dead end if not exploitative advisors, or were blindsided by the cultural differences. The truth is that no one thinks of everything. There are lots of people with the wisdom to seek dependable advisors either in coming in or leaving. I’ve known Jack since I got here (full disclosure, we work together as Admins on the Ecuador Emergency Facebook page) and observed that he has no investment in what his clients do or don’t do other than providing a safe, dependable and knowledgeable service. He is not involved in Real Estate other than referring clients to his trusted connections, and with no kickbacks. Jack is not one of the weeds you refer to, his is a unique service that reflects his commitment to the people of Ecuador.

    • Wow, I guess we did everything wrong! Brought the largest container they had. Two dogs came with us on the three month due dillegence trip…went back to the states, then back again for the permanent move! I will say, that my husband and our lawyer, Carlos Heredia did most all the details, so I shouldn’t brag! My his and died here, approximately two years later, and now, at four years…I intend to remain here, hopefully, for the rest of my life! I’m thinking….we “weren’t normal”! Lol!

  • Load More