On December 4th, I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany Prisma employees to the Premio Impulso Microempresarial 2008.

This was an event put on by a Honduran Magazine called Micro Empresas & Finanzas that seeks to unify and inform the microfinance sector here in Honduras. Prisma was a recipient of the Premio Impuslo Microempresarial, which recognizes their contributions to the microfinance sector.

Orbelina Valeriano, Prisma Director Holds Award

Orbelina Valeriano, Prisma Director, Holds Award

There were a variety of speakers that addressed changes in the country, and gave inspirational words to those in the audience, encouraging them to continue to have faith despite worsening global economics and recent flooding which hit some communities in Honduras.

By the time we got to the last speaker, I was struggling to keep my head up, and look as though the concept, “We want to thank you and thank God for the successes micro-enterprises has had this year”, was exceedingly interesting the 6th or 12th time around.  However listening to the final speaker, Emilio Santamaria, the conference magistrate, re-ignited some of the idealistic vigor I brought with me when I came here. He gave a long powerpoint presentation that began with a story:

“There was a man that walked to the local pulperia to get some mantequilla and there was a dog sitting out front crying. Not barking, not whining, but truly crying. The man went into the store, saw a friend and ended up chit-chatting for a while. Nearly half an hour later, he left to store to find the dog still crying and crying away.

The man asked the dog’s apparent owner, ‘why is the dog crying?’ and the owner said, ‘he’s crying because he’s sitting on a nail’. ‘I don’t understand’, said the man. To which the owner replied ‘the nail hurts him but still, he does not move.”

This story caused murmurs throughout the crowd. Magistrate Santamaria then went on the eloquently explain that Honduras shouldn’t be like the dog, crying over its pain, but should instead move itself. And move itself forward. “Technology is the wave of the future! And we Honduras must take hold of it! Harness it! It used to be a crime not to teach your children to read, and now it is a crime not to teach them to use a computer!”

“YES YES YES!!” I wanted to stand up exclaim.

By the time we left the event, everyone from various microfinance organizations were comparing how they use their computers. Everyone seemed to have a pretty good system for data management and bookkeeping, but I was surprised by how few viewed the Internet as a crucial resource. Not even all of Prisma’s field offices have Internet, which creates an added challenge for them as they implement Kiva.

Nevertheless, I think Prisma feels proud to be ahead of the curve, and I’m proud to work with them. Its wonderful to work in an environment and in a country that isn’t crying, but is moving itself.

Prisma Staff

Prisma Staff

I am a Kiva Fellow, Class of KF6, serving three months in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and three more in La Paz, Boliva. Please check out my current MFI, PRISMA, and see all of their fundraising loans here!

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