Six Questions for Gilda Larios | Sojourners

Six Questions for Gilda Larios


1. How has your life journey led to your current work? I grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and currently live in Mexico City. For many years I worked with refugees from Central American conflicts. More recently, I have spent 14 years working with women in poor rural communities in Mexico and Central America. Currently I work for Mary's Pence: I meet with women as they consider starting an ESPERA Fund lending pool, and accompany them as they get it going and make decisions about making loans within their community. (ESPERA Funds, a project of Mary's Pence, are community lending pools for women.)

2. As you think about participating in the body of Christ, what's your biggest passion? My entire upbringing has been in an ambiance of the mystical body of Christ, an ambiance not only Catholic and Christian, but deeply Mexican. We are a people inescapably embedded in the future and indebted to the past. The power of ancestors and totems -- ancient rock, mottled corn, and cactus pear -- is alive in us. We live in communities of belonging. This mystical presence, however submerged for a time, has always been a part of me. It is the only love I've never questioned.

3. How does Mary's Pence differ from individual-focused microcredit? One of the aspects that makes me appreciate the Mary’s Pence model of lending is that the women themselves, not an organization or the bank, own the process and the money; the whole community receives benefit. When a woman starts a business raising chickens, she buys from other local women selling eggs. The women don’t think in terms of accumulation, but of the circulation of the money and goods locally.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2011
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