There once was a wise young man, who said “You can’t rush a good thing.” Many who read this blog post will recognize those famous words and wonder how this fine young chap is getting along working for General Mills in Memphis, Tennessee. While I hope he is doing well, I can’t help but remember these words and how well they relate to our current story, here in La Union.
We set out more than one year ago to bring microfinance to La Union. In the process, we’ve pushed farmers to grow crops organically, we’ve encouraged vegetable growers to sell goods in a local farmer’s market, we’ve dealt with American and Honduran governments who had yet seen a holistic approach to rural third-world economic development, we’ve empowered local leaders and sought out new ones, we’ve challenged traditional farming methods, we’ve attempted to become masters of law, accounting, marketing, microfinance, and continue to strive for sustained change. The change we seek will increase incomes, here in La Union.
There have been organizations here before us. Many of them have failed and as a result created tremendous distrust throughout the aldeas; from the women of Gualciras to the men of Chimisal. We want to be the first organization with a sustained presence, and we want to help people, regardless of what church they belong to, regardless of what political party they vote for. I am fully aware we are shooting for new and different, better and bolder, here in La Union.
I don’t expect farmers to change their ways overnight, I don’t expect the Honduran government to allow us to stomp over decades of tradition, and I don’t expect that self-sustainable microfinance operated and directed by Hondurans will be up and running tomorrow. However, many people have responded positively to our efforts. Speaking this morning with Patrick, Mike, Gilberto, and Martir, it is clear we have come a long way; there are still miles to go. The change we seek is to improve living conditions, to make La Union’s residents healthier, more educated, and more confident that better things are attainable for themselves and their children. BUT, like the friend I met the first time I came down to this mountain municipality said, you can’t rush a good thing. To amend his quote, I would say that while you can’t rush a good thing, you mustn’t wait too long and hope for change through inaction. Slowly, change will come to the people, here in La Union.