Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Color Purple Event

Evento El Color Purpura

The Color Purple Event

We never imagined that within 9 months of living in Cuenca, an event would come together what we have called “The Color Purple Event.”  Yes, complete with television interviews, newspaper coverage and many sponsors!
How did this happen?
Our transition began last November.  Imagine selling your home, wrestling everything into storage, Gary having surgery. Then gathering international papers for “Stover,” our mascota , to become “Ecuadog.”  And “900” seemingly other items.  By the time we arrived, it took a month just to catch our breath. 
Then holidays  – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  While Ecuador does not celebrate our Thanksgiving, we certainly had a celebration.  By January, we had established friendships. Our relationship with Unsion Television resulted in a room at the station to conduct our first weekly Bible Study.
In March of this year, we finally obtained our Cedula. 
We had already planned a trip home to the USA to pack a container.  We decided  we were called to make Cuenca our home.
Since January, I’ve been purchasing bread each week at the charming Villa San Carlos located on Remigio Tamariz.  Why there?  The chef and owner (along with his wife, Sandra) bakes what he calls “almost” sourdough bread each week.  We found out about the bread through our friends, Jim & Angie Barnes.
As the weeks turned into months of going to get bread each week, I found myself growing with an idea inside my heart about a ladies luncheon to be held at this beautiful Villa San Carlos.  In the States, I had often been part or even coordinated ladies events and retreats, so this was not a “foreign” idea.
After purchasing an apartment in May, I still held onto the possibility of doing something – but for a number of weeks we were held “hostage” to remodeling our apartment to live in and receiving our cargo.  Next, the unpacking and all that “jazz.”  Then, a young Gringa house guest from the USA for two months this summer.
So how, with all that going on, did an event finally come together?  Don’t know except it just seemed right – and with a lot of prayer and finally sharing it with Angie Barnes, I took the “plunge” and committed to doing it.
Where is it now?  It is happening next Saturday, October 1, 2011.  To date 120 tickets have been sold.  Generous donors have supplied a dozen door prizes – and the event has received two newspaper stories and a television interview.    The profits of the ticket sales will be going to SOLCA – the pediatrics department for children with cancer.
SOLCA will be presented with the proceeds gift.  They will be giving more information about SOLCA and the ongoing needs.
Also, we will have door prizes, a time for the ladies (both Ecuadorians and Americans) to get to know each other during lunch, recognition of sponsors and businesses.  We will enjoy Ecuadorian music and a scrumpuous lunch.  Sue will bring a short message on Esperanza/HOPE, closing with a beautiful, powerful song, "Will You Marry Me?"
This could not have come about without a “lotta” help from friends:  Angie Barnes, Sandra Flores (a sweet Ecuadorian  partner!), Jane Golden and Claudia Johansen.  Wow!  And then we’ve had table sponsors (10 people):  Joanna Cox, Charles & Kathleen Barrett, Jane Golden, and others.  How awesome!
Below is a flyer that was posted in businesses and elsewhere in Cuenca.  There are many stories of how it all “fell into place.”  Yes, it’s the first “The Color Purple Event” to be held in Cuenca, Ecuador. 
Second “Evento El Color Purpura” in 2012?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homeowners Insurance - Ecuador

       Property, Casualty & Liability Insurance 

Now, let’s consider the largely ignored insurance coverage in Ecuador – homeowners and liability. Yes, our apartment has brick walls and concrete walls and floors. Try hanging a picture on these walls! Most of us have little fear of fire and pay cash for our homes. Mortgages are expensive (10-15%) and rarely cover over half the value of homes. So insurance is rarely required. Most homeowners “go naked.” Apartment associations usually have coverage for the building (elevators, structure, common areas) amounting to less than half the property value.
? However, who can sleep at night if our uninsured home is empty when we visit the states?

 Some of us have noticed the tremendous increase in “earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars”, to use a Biblical phrase. And we live near the “ring of fire” volcano and earthquake zone of the Andes. Yesterday our hometown of Asheville NC experienced a tremor!
Now the usual problems arise. Who can you trust, especially when you do not speak the language or understand the subtleties of the culture? Will the insurance carrier pay the claim? How do we obtain coverage at reasonable cost?
You know I would not be writing this wonderful, informative article if I lacked an excellent answer (drum roll^^^).
Presenting… the group with the highest rating in Ecuador, conducting worldwide business in 53 countries.  The “ACE group” is AAA by Ecuador’s Bank Watch Rating and AA- by S & P (same as the good old USA, but that’s a long foolish political story). My agents are Daniel Gonzales who speaks excellent English and Pedro Valdivieso. Pedro’s assistant speaks English and his wife speaks German and French. And his brother is a plastic surgeon – need and little tuck or enhancement?

Quickly now, what coverage did we obtain?    OK… read fast:
Earthquake, volcanic eruption…fire,  lightning, smoke damage…windstorm, hail, rain, flooding…burglary, robbery…explosion…vandalism and malicious mischief…riot, etc.

Optional coverages:  Liability (our pipes rupture, damaging neighbor’s walls) , contents,etc…glass breakage..water damage.
Deductibles vary with the type of loss here, rather than one comprehensive deductible. You know, the greater of x% or y$ per incident. You understand by now that I am frugal. Our  $100,000 coverage has a premium = $ 39 per month.
Coming soon, another exciting topic - automobile coverage.  Hang on,      Gary