First thing to learn and proud of being in Missoula

By: Somsack Souvannalath (Laos)

It has been almost a week to be in Missoula, Montana with EEP. I have a very warm hospitality from people here especially Denna and Kelsey. I have been impressed by very nice weather, it is sunny with approximately 6-22 Celsius . Until now, my jetlag is fading away and my body is covered with long sleep.

My first lunch in Missoula was at Deena’s house, what was such a good event where all participants from South East Asia and their Fellowship coordinators and host families came to meet at once. I did meet my host fellowship coordinator who is also my fellowship host family, his name is John Balsam, director of Northwest Montana Small Business Development Center and his wife Jerri Balsam, I feel sorry for them that they had to went all a way down from Kalispell which about 2 hours driving. However, they said it’s their pleasure to meet me. How amazing to meet a person who you actually have been contacted via email for over 6 months but now it’s a live meeting. Beyond greeting one another, we also went out for a coffee in downtown to talk about my goals and plan during my fellowship weeks, we came up with a few appointment plan to meet a very interesting key person who will help me to get to know more about loan consulting for small and medium enterprise and business development for small entrepreneurs where are my learning goals.

In the second day at Montana Community Development Center, lectured by Miss Amita Patel Greer, Director of Business Advising. Session today was about Profit Mastery which is one of essential components of business development. The outstanding parts are about Liabilities and Profits, what I learned from Amita today is that in an accounting world, Profit is not considered as cash and it’s not a net profit which normally business owner get, but it need to be deducted to pay off for new assets, debt and then later pay out to business owners. Another interesting thing is about video of Steve LeFever who facilitate Financial Operating Cycle. One sentence that really touching me was in the video, when Steve asked the participants that when the Financial Operating Cycle will end? One of them said until we die but none of them could get a right answer. He said “it will never end since the world especially technology keep moving, so the cycle cannot be ended because it need to be developed and applied all the time”. I think it’s true, once you stop developing just because you think your finance system works well, you will later fail.

People said when you come to Missoula, you need at least do one outdoor activity which is the main hobby of Missoula resident. Regarding to that, one day after the class, Dr. Umaporn from Thailand, Mr. Viet from Vietnam and I (from Laos) we decided to bit up the Sentinel Mountain which located right behind University of Montana. We though it might be quite easy to go up there since it does not look that far and steep, but in reality, it tougher than we though, it took us about an hour to go up there with frequency of breaks along the trail, my heart beat fast than ever, my legs were painful and my eyes were blur just because I push my body work too hard (actually I rare do exercise a home). However, once we got there, all these feelings was faded away by an amazing view of Missoula town, I could see the University of Montana campus all the way down to the airport, the whole city just in the front of me, I could see the way back to the hotel from up there, see where are the most building located and rail way. At least now I can be proud and talk to Missoula resident that I have been to Sentinel Mountain.

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