Jan 19, 2008 UG Uganda

How does a 48 year old widow in Uganda with no job, no savings, very little education, and no business training provide for eleven orphans, ranging in age from 9 to 17?

One answer is to take out a US $180 micro-loan from BRAC Uganda and work very hard to establish and operate two successful small businesses.

The story of how Bayiyana Regina came to be the sole supporter of eleven orphans is both a tragic commentary on life and death in Uganda and an inspirational tale of sacrifice and perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity....

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Jan 17, 2008 TZ Tanzania

It would seem that time with Kiva is flying by when I think about my remaining 4½ months left here in East Africa. Almost 4 down, almost 4 more to go. I have been receiving updates from friends in Chicago about their frigid weather and feel grateful even for Tanzania’s thick humidity. I prefer sweating to shivering any day. The bright red flowers on the trees are so beautiful here, and passing by moneys playing by the side of the road on my way to work makes me smile.

I am now helping out at two MFIs– Tujijenge Tanzania and BRAC Tanzania, which have distinct and...

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Jan 14, 2008 PE Peru

As a Kiva Fellow you realize the journals you write quickly become lost in the depths of hundreds of pages, full of testimonials begging to be read. I wanted to share one story I’ve found particularly moving, and hope you will, too.

An excerpt from a journal from Ayacucho, Peru:

“Celia has faced many difficulties in her life- her husband left her 21 years ago to raise 11 children on her own. She has lost three of those children, one just last year, and of the remaining children left in her care, three of them are blind due to a hereditary illness. While a challenge...

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Dec 21, 2007 UG Uganda

Here are some of the unique gifts I will be enjoying this Christmas in Uganda;

The Gift of Calm in the Midst of Chaos.  When I read that it is culturally unacceptable to express anger in public in Uganda, I did not really believe it.  Coming for the US, where people routinely drop “F” bombs in public, where  TV and movie plots always seem to involve violence and rage, and where the 24 hour news cycle is dominated by shouting, I found the notion of a society devoid of public anger...

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Dec 15, 2007 MZ Mozambique

 

I can’t believe my work here is almost coming to an end! It feels like just yesterday (or a couple days ago) that I was getting off the plane in Maputo – uncertain, nervous, and excited as to what this entire experience would be like. I still remember flipping over and over (and over) again through my copy of all of FDM´s Kiva clients, wondering what it would be like to meet them face to face. In fact, I looked at those pictures so many times that every time I met a client, I could literally see their picture and their description in my mind....

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Dec 14, 2007 WS Samoa

It was 3 months ago that I stepped off the plane and into the tropical Samoan rain. It seems those same storm clouds have gathered on my last day on the island to see me off. Over the course of my stay, I’d like to think that I learned a few of things. 

I’ve learned of the incredible dedication and hard-work it takes for the staff of a small MFI like SPBD to run its operations.

I’ve learned that despite their demanding daily schedules, the SPBD staff rarely shows signs of stress or frustration. I think I’ll have a better chance of...

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Dec 11, 2007 UG Uganda

Kampala, Uganda Florence Kaluuba is a soft spoken 50 year old school principal who won’t accept no for an answer.

As a teenager she was a brilliant student, excelling in mathematics. At a time when she ranked 8th out of 160 students, her uncle refused to allow her to enroll in the next higher grade level, where she hoped to become a medical doctor. Florence still remembers his words, “She is a girl, and girls just get pregnant anyway”. The uncle decided she would train to be a primary school teacher, which required much less education. Florence enrolled in primary...

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Dec 10, 2007 PE Peru

Ayacucho, Peru has a sad story. In the 80s and early 90s, it was there that the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso, ‘the Shining Path’, was thriving, fighting political and social battles that left 30,000 dead and 40,000 who remain missing. Setting foot in Ayacucho today, you’d never guess its painful history, and although not opposed to talking about it, the locals rarely mention it without being asked.

On a client visit, riding in the back of a moto-taxi through the bustling life of Ayacucho, we head out past the cobblestone streets and abundant colonial churches of the beautiful...

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Dec 10, 2007 UG Uganda

Friends and family have asked about the mundane details of my life as a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. “Where do you live?”and “What is your job?” are two frequently asked questions (FAQ’s).

Where I live: I am a resident of the Kolping Guest House on Bombo Road in the Bwaise neighborhood of Kampala. The Kolping is part of a worldwide chain of guesthouses operated by the International Kolping Society which was founded by Adolph Kolping as a Catholic, educational and action-oriented organization. Fr. Kolping was born on December 8, 1813, in Kerpen, a small village not...

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Dec 9, 2007 TZ Tanzania

Learning more about Tanzanian culture has been a fascinating journey thus far. Like most things in life, the more I learn, the more I discover how little I know. As my relationships slowly deepen with my colleagues at Tujijenge Tanzania and with other new friends, I’m beginning to gradually pick up more insights into their culture– their high values of community and unity, and how everything seems to happen according to the belief “if God wills” –a phrase used frequently in everyday interactions (and especially to explain  the common occurrence of when things don’t happen...

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