The following post was written by our intern Ben Finan before he left La Unión:
I arrived in San Pedro Sula on May 22, only a week removed from finals at Notre Dame, with three complete strangers. Nine weeks later, I count those three strangers among my closest friends. My experience working with Unión MicroFinanza has also permanently changed my outlook on development. Working individually with UMF’s 178 loan clients introduced me to the “why” of UMF’s mission, and I thoroughly enjoyed each interaction with our clients. Each client presented a different story, a different need, and a different outlook, but it was easy to see one major similarity: all were genuinely excited to enter the loan program and begin a partnership with UMF.
Intern responsibilities shifted on June 29 with the arrival of the first Community Partnership Project group. A series of three amazing groups from different churches arrived and departed, each having a unique experience working with the community of one of the outlying villages. The group that I worked directly with, from Life Church of Fort Collins, Colorado, visited San Agustín, one of the poorest communities that UMF partners with. We worked on installing water filters while building community relationships, which was incredibly fulfilling on all fronts. Having the ability to share La Unión, which I have grown to love, with new people was the highlight of my summer.
Friday, July 27, I depart La Unión. San Pedro Sula will no longer feel like a foreign city in a far away country, but a biting reminder of how short my journey was here. In Honduras, I witnessed firsthand the outstanding work of UMF, contributed as I could, and changed my outlook on life. My support for UMF will continue in the future, but not being able to walk down the hill to the office, hear the friendly motorcycle honks, exchange pleasantries, and frequent the pulpería will be missed. This summer has taught me more in ten weeks than I could have ever imagined, and I am grateful to UMF for the opportunity to be here.