By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

I had the pleasure of attending Asociación Arariwa’s 25th anniversary celebrations. In true Peruvian form, the celebrating lasted two weeks with lots of fanfare – a parade, music, dancing, eating and of course, Cusqueña (Peruvian beer) and sweet Peruvian wine.

Just for some background on the organization, there are three divisions of Asociación Arariwa -

  • ARARIWA PROMOCIÓN – Whose mission is to support rural development, strengthen production systems, fortify institutions and improve quality of life.
  • CENFOPAR (Centro de Formación y Producción Arariwa) – Whose mission is to develop a better alternative technical education for young people, creating new community leaders as well as promote adult education and their economic activities.
  • UNIDAD DE MICROFINANZAS – Whose mission is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of low-income women and their families by offering financial and educational services.

UNIDAD DE MICROFINANZAS is the division I know and love.   This division is Kiva’s socio and partner.  And this is where I have spent most of my time in Cusco.

Asociación Arariwa - Unidad de Microfinanzas

Asociación Arariwa - Unidad de Microfinanzas

The first event was a Sunday parade in the Plaza de Armas (main square in Cusco).  I wore the Arariwa uniform and marched with the rest of the staff and directors.  After the parade, there was a lunch for the whole staff at a traditional Peruvian restaurant.

Here’s a rather hard to watch video of the parade.  I was marching and filming (and holding the Arariwa banner!) at the same time, hence the shaking.

'

The next weekend, there was a sporting event in the morning and a party at the Arariwa offices that lasted into the wee hours of the morning with a ton of dancing (just as Bryan Goldfinger, my Kiva Fellow colleague mentioned in a past post).  Members of the Board of Directors and staff made several powerful speeches about the growth and importance of the organization to the lives of so many Cusqueños.  Currently, Arariwa has more than 14,000 microfinance clients in the Cusco area and has made an impact on so many more people, when you consider the families of Arariwa’s clients.

There was entertainment, a live band and of course a lot of dancing.  We ate the popular Cusqueño dish called chiriuchu that is normally eaten in June during the Festival of Corpus Christi.  I met staff from the Arariwa offices outside of Cusco – Urubamba, Siquani and Quillabamba and danced a traditional Andean Peruvian dance called Huayno with many of them (or at least I tried ;) .

Unfortunately, my Flip camera got lost during the festivities so I can’t post the videos I took of the speeches and the dancing (I asked someone to take of me dancing).  Here are some photos I took of the parade (I’m wearing the Arariwa uniform for the parade) and some photos that other staff members took of the party  -

I was honored to be part of the celebration and am happy to be working with such a meaningful organization.

Please help me continue to make Asociación Arariwa successful for the next 25 years – Please LEND to Asociación Arariwa entrepreneurs on Kiva!

Sheethal Shobowale is serving as a Kiva Fellow (KF9) at Asociación Arariwa, in Cusco, Peru.

/>

Add Your Comments