A day for the embajada y banco (embassy and bank)!!
We’d like to thank you all for your prayers about us getting our passports validated and our Guatemalan bank account set up. We were FINALLY able to accomplish both of these things on Thursday. Praise the Lord!!
As I wrote in my previous post we needed to have our passports validated before we could set up a bank account in Guatemala or start the process for our visas. Unfortunately, we were unable to accomplish this last week before we started language school and the embassy is not open on the weekends so we had to take a day off language school this past week to get this accomplished. We were going to wait until next week so we could get a full week of language learning our first week but Tuesday night we found out that Kendon, whose help we needed to set up the bank account, was leaving Friday for a few weeks in the states so we decided Thursday was the day.
We enlisted the help of our new friend and roommate Josh, who is an intern for New Life Children’s Home (NLCH), to call the taxi driver and communicate all the trips we needed to make on Thursday. Thankfully, we are blessed to be able to use the taxi driver that all the missionaries at NLCH have been using for years. His name is Christian and he has been entrusted with all of the transportation needs of the many interns and missionaries at NLCH. We were told that some of them even used him to take their children back and forth to school so we felt very comfortable trusting him. Taxi’s are something we were told to be very careful of in Guatemala because there is a high chance of you getting robbed. So we are very thankful to have this man who has been trusted by friends for many years.
We started our day getting picked up by Christian at 7 a.m. in Antigua. We were very surprised because he was right on time which is not usual for Guatemala but we were very happy and thankful for this. We then set off for the 1 ½ hour trip to the embassy. I had never been to an embassy before so it was an interesting experience for me. There were people everywhere outside however, we were escorted to where there was no line and were escorted in once we showed our American passports. As we waited to have our passports checked I thought “I’d like to take a picture of this but I’m probably not allowed” thank goodness I had that thought because right after that I looked above me and there was a sign exclaiming ABSOLUTELY no picture taking!! When I told Dylan he laughed at me and said I probably would have gotten us tackled and got my cell phone taken away.
Once we made it through security we went into the main embassy doors and again there were lines of people everywhere but we were directed to an area for U.S. citizens where we didn’t have to wait in line again. I almost felt bad as there were all these people waiting (and who would probably spend most of the day waiting in line) and here we were getting right to the front. However, it definitely was a blessing to not have to wait.
We gave our passports to the lady for validation and she made a copy of the first page with our pictures on it. She gave us a bill for $102 and told us to go pay this and come back at 2:30 p.m. to pick them up. So we spend the next 5 hours having devotional time together, picking up some things we needed from the store, and having lunch.
When we returned at 2:25 p.m. the same lady asked us to have a seat and wait a minute. She picked up the pages with our copied passports on them (from the same desk she had put them on 5 hours ago) brought over a stamp and stamped them right in front of us. I just started laughing and Dylan leaned over to me and whispered “yep, that’s what we just waited 5 hours for and the $102 went towards” it was so ridiculous it was funny.
After this we drove another hour to Villa Nueva to pick up some papers that Kendon had waiting for us at NLCH and finally met Jon (he was helping us translate) at the bank around 4 p.m. We started the bank account process around 4:30 p.m. and finished all the paperwork around 6 p.m. This whole process went pretty smoothly as there was only 1 piece of information missing from the stuff we picked up at NLCH and Dylan was able to run over to an internet shop and print it out after Kendon e-mailed it to him. We were told they would be sending everything through to our bank in the U.S. and verify all our information and our account would be ready for our final signatures by this coming Wednesday. So we will be able to go back down there on Friday after school and sign the remainder of our paperwork. The crazy part of all this was that even though we were told we would need Kendon to sign stuff for our bank account we never needed Kendon to help us or sign anything! However, it’s still good that we did this on a day he was around because we needed him to send us that one paper.
After all of this we dropped Jon off back at his home and then started the hour trip back to Antigua. All this time we had in the car with Christian gave us a lot of time to practice our Spanish as he speaks less English than we do Spanish. We also spent time going over our flashcards so even though we didn’t get to go to school that day we still learned Spanish. All in all it was a very productive day and it “only” took us 12 hours to get these 2 things done. Not bad for “Guatemala time.” 🙂