All of us who have been living in Ecuador for awhile realize, that dealing with Ecuador import customs, has a lot to do with luck, a prayer, and lots of paperwork. Some people's stuff comes in just fine--and others seem to require massive inspections, paperwork, red tape, lots of time and uncertainty.
So...this blog today will extend out from our previous blog on Club Correos, where we discussed sending packages valued a less than $400 and less than 4 Kg thru the country's mail system for NO duty and No hassle!
In the above blog we describe how we sent down an older, but excellent laptop, for use by our helper family in school.
Since the second computer was heavier, the freight was more--but not bad...
Yesterday, the second laptop arrived--it was heavier and more expensive, so it had a detour to the "customs house" In the past this detour has been friendly, benign, or a disaster.
We had been following the tracking number on the package, and saw that it had landed in Guayaquil. But the good news was that we received a nice email from the Customs people, even before the tracking number showed it at their place.
Their email told us that the duty was $26.14 and that we could pay it at any Banco de Guayaquil (local bank). Much better than a trip to Guayaquil to make the same payment in person.
So..up to this point we have $45.74 to send it from Miami to Guayaquil, plus an additional $26.14 for duty. This was for a large laptop weighing more than five pounds, and we think valued at $450, even tho we had an invoice inside stating that we paid $200.
We paid the customs bill at Banco de Guayaquil, and then took our receipt over to our main post office in La Libertad, where they scanned in our receipt and letter, and sent it off to the customs people for us.
The package was picked up by us four days later--YIPPEE!!
(This all became possible thru a generous donation by Nina and Frank of a wonderful computer, and to Ron, who wrapped it all up and mailed it off to Miami)
We have an extended family of wonderful people who help us around here. One niece who desperately needs her own computer for high school, was scheduled to get this one, but we decided that it was such a great machine that it would serve best as a family computer, while she used one of the smaller laptops.
The schools here mandate that Linux be the operating system for the schools' computers, so it made sense to change out the Windows XP system for a compatible Linux system.
For this, we called our computer guru Nahum for installation and instruction on how to operate the new computer.
Here are a few shots of the family taking a lesson...
When the lesson was over, Agripina timidly asked what this great computer would cost them, and she almost shed a tear when we told her that it was free to them.
Part of the reason for this blog entry is to show how easy it is to get a 10 year old computer off an office shelf, and put it to really good use. A young person growing up here in Ecuador, with a personal computer, has a huge advantage over an unfortunate kid without one.