Bogota · Centro de Rehabilitación Inclusiva · Colombia · CRI · South America · Teaching English

Getting to know CRI

Today I went to the CRI center after going to get my Cedula. In Colombia, your Cedula is your identification card. You are to carry it wherever you go. After applying for the Cedula, you pick it up five business days later. After picking it up, we are to go to a papeleria to have it scanned at 150% and sent to our RC to have them send it in to EPS, the public healthcare system. It is amazing that we are provided with healthcare here. The healthcare is very extensive as well. With it we are able to see a doctor for a co-pay of the equivalent of $.75!  The only drawback is that it can take a week or two to get in to see a doctor.  If you need one right away, there can be quite a wait in the office.

We can see an eye doctor, psychologist, dentist and many other specialists for that co-pay! Needless to say, we Americans are very excited. Many of us have not been to a dentist in years due to the outrageous costs we incur in our backwards country.  During our orientation, it was the thing that most of us talked about with excitement.

Well, the traffic was horrible on the way to the migration office. I ended up getting off the bus to walk to the office and on my way back, I passed the bus! Because of the traffic I was running late to make it to the CRI center. I got an uber, but was still late. When I texted the gentleman I was to meet with to observe, he texted back, ‘tranquila’. I’m going to have to learn to be tranquila here! I need to get that tattooed on my wrist!!! Americans are NOT tranquila.  The first time someone said to tranquila to me, I got very upset – my first thought was, “Don’t you tell me to calm down!”.  Tranquila literally means – calm down.  The way that people use it here, though is- ‘no worries’.

I observed Mark’s second class of the day and  then went to lunch with him and Simon before coming back to observe Shanelle’s class  in the afternoon.  The four of us are the only four fellows in the Military part of the Ministry of Education’s program.  I like them and think I’ll like working with them!


The afternoon classes went well and the soldiers were really receptive of me and open with us as fellows.  I left the building with Shanelle so that I could see how to get home on public transport.  The transmilineo is only about 2,200 to ride and the uber is 5,000 to 6,000 – so one saves a lot of money using the transmilineo.  Getting to and from the CRI center is harder that getting to the Canton Norte location.  One needs to take two buses instead on one.  The transmilineo is also a lot more crowded.

That night, I ended up having a panic attack at the station after Shanelle went to the mall.  I just couldn’t stay there anymore – I thought that I would fall over and faint.  It was too much.  I left the platform and called Norbert on the way to the street to find a taxi to take me home.  The uber looked like it would take to long to get there and I felt that I had to get home as soon as possible.  I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time – I hope that they don’t start up again.




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