By Kate Bennett, KF15 Ecuador / KF16 Perú

My first placement in Ecuador was my first time in the country. Turns out that Ecuador is every bit as incredible as the guide books say, and more. I was continously struck by the warmth and openness of the Ecuadorian people (and their passion for politics!), the beauty of the mountains, jungle, and countryside, the richness of Ecuadorian food, the strength of the Kiva borrowers I met there, and my persisting inability to salsa as well as my coworkers. These are a few of my favorite photos of my time there. Stay tuned for my next post, of my favorite photos from my placement in Perú!

Above the town of Chunchi, Ecuador. Kiva Field Partner Fundación Alternativa's program directed at families of immigrants is supporting a group loan to building a restaurant, at the site- where the borrowers' big dream is to one day build a hotel and spa as well!

Kiva Borrower Orlen Rafael (http://www.kiva.org/lend/321388) shows us the fruits of his recent loan from Fundación Alternativa, which he used to buy oil paints, fabric, and general supplies to be able to make his works of art.

Helping Fundación ESPOIR borrower Ana make tamales outside of Cuenca, Ecuador (http://fellowsblog.kiva.org/2011/08/10/how-to-make-a-tamale-or-a-hundred/)

Dolls in Ecuador's famous Otavalo weekend market

A view of Ibarra, Ecuador, where Kiva Field Partner FODEMI is located

A FODEMI borrower's microentreprise: dragon-boat tours! (Definitely worth the $2)

A celebration outside of Ibarra, Ecuador. None of the Ecuadorians I talked to could actually explain why the men were dressed as women.

Fundación ESPOIR borrower Gladys used her loan to buy ingredients for her ice cream, which she was kind enough to share with my fellow loan officer and me. Yum!

Cuenca: Ecuador's colonial jewel, and an incredible blend of strong indigenous presence, enduring Spanish influences, and true Ecuadorian culture

The daughter of a Kiva borrower at her mother's market stall in Quito, Ecuador

A Kiva borrower spins wool, which she will eventually dye and use to knit hats and gloves to be sold to tourists in Cuenca, Ecuador

A Fundación ESPOIR group loan meeting takes place outside of Cuenca, Ecuador (inside this small structure are 15 mothers and grandmothers, most of whom have been ESPOIR borrowers for over ten years)

Kate Bennett (KF16) is thrilled to be working in Ica, Peru with Kiva Field Partner Caja Rural Señor de Luren. For more on Kate’s experiences with Caja Rural Señor de Luren or life in Peru or Ecuador, follow her work here.


Comments

Awesome to see a picture of the block where my parents house is I grew up there and this brought back many childhood memories

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Prior to working with Kiva, Kate lived in Quito, Ecuador working in environmental management as a consultant for USAID implementing partners in the global south. After earning her B.A. in Political Economy, Postcolonial History, and Development from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in January 2010, she pursued a practice-based understanding of effective tools in development through work with New York based social change organizations and grassroots nonprofit organizations in Guatemala. Kate worked previously with Kiva as a Kiva Fellow in Ecuador and Peru, which fomented her commitment to microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation.
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