The Adelante Foundation weblog has a new writer! But before I start going off about my journeys and experiences with Adelante, I will start by introducing myself. My name is Marcela Reyes. I recently started working for the Adelante Foundation as the International Development Coordinator.
I was born and raised in La Ceiba, Honduras. I went to a private bilingual school and then moved to the United States for college. But although I had what some might call a privileged life, I have always been aware of the poverty and inequality that is lived in Honduras. Being the daughter of two leftist activists frozen in time, I grew up hearing talks about social justice and injustice, income inequality, socio-economic development, poverty, and corruption. Growing up in this very political environment, I wanted to develop a political career to bring change and progress to the Honduran people. But too soon found out that politics is a dirty path to take, and that I alone would not be able to bring change in the political system of Honduras. I’ve always felt the urge to do something for the most desperate in need but I didn’t know how I could help.
So I went off to college not knowing what I was going to study, changing majors every week. Then I obtained an internship in the USAID office here in La Ceiba and discovered how great the emotional gratification of helping others is. I went back to college convinced I had to explore this field and enrolled in various economics and economic development courses and discovered that I could do more for the Honduran people than I thought. In my Intro to Economic Development class, I was assigned a presentation on the Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus, and that is when I learned about the microfinance system and about bringing development from the bottom rather than from the top. And with hints from life like those, my way into the international development field successively happened.
I had heard about the Adelante Foundation many years ago, back when I was in 10th grade. My economics professor brought in someone from the Foundation to talk to us about it and the microcredit system. We also had a field trip to one of the assemblies that was being held in a small town in the outer skirts of La Ceiba. Back in 10th grade, I was not able to grasp the greatness of this institution and what it does. Soon, I would be able to.
I finished college and moved back to La Ceiba, and as many Hondurans have experienced, found out that the opportunities for employment here are very few and limited. I moved to the capital to try luck, but found nothing. Then I moved to San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital of Honduras and had no luck either. So, defeated and demoralized I headed back to La Ceiba. One of my closest friends gave me the Adelante’s manager’s email and told me to try my luck. Fortunately, I already knew her from highschool and she had a good reference of me, I interviewed, and here I am today writing my story for you folks.
So that’s the story of how a Honduran woman ends up in an organization like this one helping other Honduran women out. I hope I can bring my stories of the field and Honduras soon to you so that you can too experience the beauty of this great country and its people.
By: Marcela Reyes