Like most things we take for granted having a document notarized here is completely different from back in the states. At my last job I was the designated Notary, it was a small favor we did for the people in our parish. I worked for a pretty big Catholic Church back in Georgia and over the course of several years I notarized many documents and we never charged for the service.
A few weeks ago we had to have a document notarized. Not having done this before I asked my friend Roger, who has lived in Playas for over 12 years,”Is there a notary in Playas?” And yes there is a notary here. Abogado (lawyer) Alfredo Yagual Preciado, Notario Unico de este Canton is located directly across the park from the Catholic Church in Playas almost next door to the municipal building. Our attorney had drawn up a power of attorney for us that required us to come before the notary to sign this document. First we arranged with our friend and translator Miguel Angel to read us the document. So we printed a copy and put the original on a pen drive to take with us to the notary’s office. Miguel Angel called ahead and spoke with a friend who works in that office so we were expected.
When we arrived the place was packed with people, most of them huddled around the two desks where women were trying to work while folks continued to interrupt asking questions. There were people behind the women’s desk reading papers on her desk as well as the work she was doing in the computer. I guess some would call it organized chaos and I really do not know how these women get any work done at all. Of course like everything in Ecuador copies of our cedulas and censos as well as our translator’s documents were a requirement. We were told to come back to the office later in the day to sign the documents. We returned late in the afternoon to sign the paperwork, affix our thumb prints and pay the $88.50 fee ($80 for the original and $8.50 for the notaries signature and stamps on a copy) for this service. We were told that the notary would not be in the office until the next day and to come back with the receipt late afternoon on Saturday.
When I arrived at the office it was much more peaceful than on my two earlier visits. I guess the office was preparing to close for the weekend and the stream of people had dwindled to a trickle. I picked up the documents, quickly scanned them to make sure that they had the notaries signature, and left.
We have learned that many things are handled differently here. We expect to wait, expect to return several times – and we were not disappointed. Service in this office was very efficient and professional considering the number of people and documents that must pass these desks on a daily basis.
Thank you Miguel Angel for helping us with this.