By Hoang Thi Thu Vân, YSEALI Fellow from Vietnam

“ The Power of Unreasonable People” is the name of my best favorite book, written by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan. In that book, the author had quoted a saying of Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”. And, for 3 weeks have been in Missoula, I’ve met a lot of “ unreasonable people” who are trying to lead the change for better life of their community. All they are amazing with their work They are my host organization – Montana Community Development Corporation (MCDC) – who provides financing and consulting services that transform the lives of individuals and strengthen community prosperity. They are the Missoula Food Bank – who lead the movement to end hunger in community through activism, volunteerism and healthy food for all. They are the Poverello Center – who dedicated to providing food, shelter, clothing and other essential services to community’s hungry and homeless population. They are United Way of Missoula who have a mission to build a better community for all, specifically in the areas of education, income, and health. They are Ecology Project International (EPI) – who empowers the world’s youth to take an active role in conservation while increasing ecological literacy. They are Home Resource – who collect and sell reusable building materials to reduce waste, educate the broader community about reuse and build a vibrant and sustainable local economy. This just is my experience; How about my YSEALI fellows friends? Please leave comments below this blog to show what you guys met in last time. I’m sure you have plenty of things to talk about.

Back to today, 23 May is more memorable day. In my last day at MCDC, I welcome group of 5 fellows from CSKT, 2 others fellows from Lolo public school and Lyda from United Way came with me and made a group of 9 fellows. We spent a morning to take a tour to visit 2 MCDC’s clients: Clyde Coffee shop and Betty’s Divine ( a clothing shop) to learn how MCDC financed for those to promote creativity, energy of start-up business. We had funny lunchoen at the MCDC’s office that allow fellows learn more about the MCDC’s funding programs. The afternoon activities started with the trip to Missoula Federal Credit Union – a not-profit financial cooperative that owned by 45.000 members in Missoula built on core philosophy of "people helping people.". From the saving from those member, MFCU give the variety of financial products for community like: loans for business, housing, vehicle, student; Credit-debit card; Online banking; Saving account..etc. The rest of the afternoon is extremely joy, We played some games in the playground- The Hud. It’s was filled with laughter and we was liked happiness YSEALI’s kids. The great day closed with the warm BBQ party that held by Heidi Dearment ( my coordinator) and her colleagues. The party as a goodbye saying me and said thank you for every thing they gave me in last 2 week. I was deeply grateful!

I only have a few days in Montana, and to recall what I went through, from Pablo to Bozeman, from Missola to Yellowstone go through white snow tops in Helena, all will be my unforgetable memory. I will back my country with the images of the land with friendly people, about how people respect and protect environment, about how people share & care other and communities. I will remember the Yellowstone Nation Park of wildlife, the PowWow of tribal identities, the Mansfield Center of inspiring. I’ll miss the Clark Fork River, the M & L mountain with the leisure deers. Above all, I’ll miss all of you: Deena, Kelsey and Mansfield Center’s staffs; MCDC; my coordinators and host families; the Vietnamese immigration family Tuyen Pham & Shushu…

One again, YSEALI professional fellowship, thank for bringing us to the land of wonderful things, and thanks for having sown in us the seeds of hope and change. I am grateful for every moment I had here.


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