Guatemala Travelogue, December 2018

Travelogue of Fern’s visit to Guatemala for the purpose of advancing the Water for Life project for Chajmaic, Guatemala (page 2)

December 15, 2018

On Thursday, December 13 Fern traveled with our associate Ricardo San José from Antigua to Panajachel, a 3-4 hour trip, to visit a lawyer who might assist Sowing Opportunities in creating a branch in Guatemala that would be based in Antigua (where Ricardo lives).  We learned that this is a complex, perhaps two-year process, involving preparation of documents for registering the business in the capital, Guatemala City.  We need their official permission, called “Apostillados.”  The lawyer many times (and in this case, yes) also serves as a Notary Public (“Mandatorio”).  We also learned that Ricardo would have to make the trip back to Panajachel from time to time during the two-year process, which would represent a hardship.  We are searching for lawyers closer to Antigua (perhaps in Guatemala City, one hour away).

Sometimes the process can take just 1½ years, but if we try to rush the process, the costs increase.  And, because this is an election year, it is likely that the process will take longer, not shorter.

Ricardo also asked about the labor laws in Guatemala, which we would have to adhere to.

As Fern had brought from the U.S. the Articles of Incorporation (“Institutos”), bylaws and other official documents of Sowing Opportunities’ 501(c)(3), the lawyer took the time to go through them and determine if they were in order, which she deemed them to be.  She said that we don’t need the paperwork for establishing the 501(c)(3), as this is just to set up a tax-exempt situation solely contained within the U.S.  She did tell us that we need to translate all of the “Institutos” and other documents (perhaps 100 pages) into Spanish, and this could cost $300 (GQT 2,000), depending on who we get.

We don’t yet have a quote from the first lawyer, but we may be looking at several thousand dollars (GQT 30,000) when all is said and done.  We are awaiting her detailed quote and will meet with other lawyers in Antigua (and perhaps Guatemala City) on Monday.

These are photos of the lawyer’s place of business: