Pat & John Sullivan with La Prosperidad Village Banking group
A first-person narrative by FINCA supporter John Sullivan
My wife Pat and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit La Prosperidad, the village bank group in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, sponsored by my sons and me in memory of their mother who died of cancer. We attended one of their regular meetings, and we met the most wonderful women and one man, who were investing in a variety of small enterprises with the help of their FINCA loans.
Some sold vegetables and others sold clothing; some made cloths for washing cars; and the gentleman ran his own hair salon, which we were able to visit after the meeting. Our hostess proudly showed us the large container of meat she would use to make sausages which she would sell. The large fridge, which had a place of prominence in her living room, enabled her to operate her business was purchased with a FINCA loan.
Each member spoke with such pride about how well they were doing, and how grateful they are to God and FINCA for the opportunity. We were very impressed by how often their faces lit up with smiles, and their self-confidence was very evident. It was very touching to see how enthusiastic they were about their success and how simply it is measured—for example, selling 25 ears of corn a day rather than five.
Their goals seemed simple in some ways, but their success was making an enormous difference for both them and their families. Their children are growing up in a healthier environment, and have a greater chance for a decent education.
We are indebted to Stephanie Emond at FINCA Canada and the staff in Guatemala for making this visit possible. It was a moving experience to see what a difference our contribution was making in the lives of these hard-working people.