Aug 8, 2014 KE Kenya

“We don’t think life can be more bad than here in Kenya right now…. we wish this to end soon,” says Joyce a 19-year-old Congolese refugee and single mother of two.  In 2009, at the age of 15, Joyce and her family fled the war in Umoja, Democratic Republic of Congo in search of safe land. One day they heard on the radio that there was safety in Kenya. After two months of traveling, they arrived in Nairobi, with only enough money for some food, transport and the clothes on their back.  After registering with the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees and the government’s... Continue Reading >>


Jul 31, 2014 ZW Zimbabwe

I moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe two weeks ago for the second placement of my fellowship. As part of my work for expanding Kiva’s partnerships within South Africa, I have been meeting with lots of interesting organizations with very innovative business models. Whenever I mention that I worked in Zimbabwe before arriving to South Africa, they cannot stop talking about the entrepreneurial spirit of the Zimbabweans and how hard working individuals they are.    They are so right. I can attest, first hand, to this fact. When I browse through pages of scribbles and infinite photos... Continue Reading >>


Jul 31, 2014 UG Uganda

As a dedication, this post is a bit of a departure from your regularly scheduled Kiva Fellows programming. For this I ask your forgiveness - I'm writing for a special reason, which you'll discover soon.   Given the amount of distressing news in the media lately, it can be easy to lose sight of all the kindness and compassion in the world. On a recent trip through western Uganda, I was reminded and inspired by numerous examples of humanity at its best. Here are just a few:   As my colleague Sharon and I waited at the bus station in Kampala, she spotted a former classmate from her... Continue Reading >>


Jul 30, 2014 CO Colombia

Its been 10 months since I left my previous job in Los Angeles and had the privilege to become a Kiva Fellow.  I began working in beautiful Kenya and am now in colorful Colombia. Though geographically far apart, there are more similarities between the two countries than one might think.  
Some of my fondest memories are from visiting about 20 Kiva borrowers all over Kenya.  While riding countless matatus (public transportation vans) and boda boda (motorcycles), I got a taste of...
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Jul 28, 2014 KE Kenya

Village view from a matatu
As I approach the matatu stage I feel a bout of irritation.  Completely empty.  I am the first passenger to arrive, which undoubtedly means waiting for an indefinite amount of time until it is full and ready to head out.  I quickly text the Kiva borrower I am to visit to tell her I may be late.  Having been in this situation many times before, she messages me back with an understanding, “Don’t worry, you still come!”  I get in, pick the best seat, buy a few snacks... Continue Reading >>


Jul 25, 2014 KE Kenya

On a recent trip out of Nairobi, we arrived in Eldama Ravine, a small town of around 15,000 people in Kenya's Rift Valley Province.  On our arrival we were greeted by Benson, the local loan officer for SMEP Microfinance Bank, who proudly walked us down Eldama Ravine's main street, into a building containing a general store and an education center, and up two flights of stairs to a small office overlooking the busy local market. That morning Benson was just beginning his second day in SMEP's newest branch, and despite a lack of electricity and furniture, he was proud to finally have a... Continue Reading >>


Jul 24, 2014 GO Global Update

Traditionally Kenyan women have not been in the business of beekeeping. Beehives were historically kept very high in trees requiring the beekeeper to undertake a somewhat dangerous climb in order to service or retrieve the hive. Culturally, this was not considered an activity fit for Kenyan women. Now, with modern beekeeping techniques and tools, colonized hives can be managed from the ground. For the first half of my Kiva fellowship I was placed with Honey Care Africa, an organization that gives Kiva loans to farmers for beehives and apiary materials. I attended a Honey Care “Kiva meeting... Continue Reading >>


Jul 19, 2014 KE Kenya

While working on Kiva Zip operations in Kenya, I engage with Trustees (the volunteer backbone of the Kiva Zip model) every day, hearing their stories, experiences, issues, and very often-getting humble invitations to visit their borrowers. These visits are one of my favorite parts of my fellowship. This is when I get to see the impact of the Kiva Zip model on the ground.
CentralBusinessDistrict
Recently, I got to visit Kone Mory who is from Côte d’Ivoire, a country in west Africa. Kone is a designer, tailor, father... Continue Reading >>


Jul 18, 2014 UG Uganda

My Kiva Fellowship recently led me on a 930km trip through Western Uganda, where I visited a variety of borrowers living in rural areas. Although the journey was long and full of dust, sweat and bumpy roads, there were also many laughs, delicious foods and wonderful people along the way. The purpose of this adventure was to meet with eight borrowers scattered around the countryside so that I could listen to their stories and verify that the information posted on Kiva was accurate. I’m pleased to report that the trip was successful on all counts! The most touching moment of each visit... Continue Reading >>


Jul 10, 2014 ZW Zimbabwe

It was 8 in the morning; I was sitting in front of a group of five staff members from MicroKing’s Gokwe branch, about to start my Kiva training. Gokwe is a small town in a rural area of Zimbabwe. It takes a four-hour bus ride and a two-hour car ride (or a Kombi ride - tiny local buses that lengthen the journey by another 2 hours), which may be why they have never had a Kiva Fellow visit before.

Until that day, I had visited three rather larg and mature branches, and had given refresher trainings to branch staff on the Kiva process. My goal was to reiterate the...

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