This week has been completely exhausting, but one of the best weeks I’ve had here. I’ve been out in the field every morning this week—I still have tomorrow morning as well. Some of the centers have been quite far away, requiring me to leave at around 5:45 or so in the morning and catching a bike while it’s still dark. I like the longer rides though, I get to see more of Cameroon and get out of Bamenda. One of the rides to a center, Beatrice and I shared a bike. The driver told us he knew a short cut, and we went zooming through a foot path. The grass had grown over and was now hanging into...Continue Reading >>
By Adam Grenier, KF6 Sierra Leone
Excerpt from recent conversation with Archibald Shodeke, Finance Manager, SMT:
Archibald: “Would you like to participate in a market survey of the Waterloo district near Freetown? We are considering a partnership with a U.S. based organization called Shine on...Continue Reading >>
Wow, this Kiva world is small. The other day, while I was attending a United States Presidential election-day event with a good portion of the other expats in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I noticed a woman just as teary-eyed as me as the results rolled in for President Elect Barack Obama. Both overwhelmed with emotion, we gave each other a hug out of pure joy. Then we just started talking, launching into a familiar round of questions you ask when you live or travel abroad.
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The noon-day heat of equatorial sun beat down on tin roofs and dirt roads. It was quiet, the sounds a little muffled outside the paint shop of Rwandese Kiva client Marie Chantal Mukasafali.
“The business is good here,” she says, “thank goodness our inventory doesn’t spoil.”
Marie Chantal, operator of this small enterprise for well over a decade, has kept her eyes open for...Continue Reading >>
Yes, as I am leaving. Julie Ross, the next Kiva Fellow to be placed in Rwanda, will take over with better and I’m sure more consistent postings here. But in the meantime, a quick note on some of the staff here at VFC, whom you will soon meet in more detail:
The Managing Director, Shem, is a genial and humorous man from Uganda. He is a new director here, having done previous work in other accounting and finance positions, including the largest microfinance institution...Continue Reading >>
With 7 weeks past and 8 weeks to go, my Kiva Fellowship is moving right along. As my colleagues around the world, from Cambodia to Uganda to Peru can attest, much of the Kiva Fellow’s life is spent in motion. Already I have had two days where the number of hours spent on buses to number of clients interviewed, if imagined as a see-saw, would make for one very boring recess hanging on a plank suspended in the air. But if my last post dealt with my feelings on productivity (see “Buses and Productivity“), now I am considering the more general...Continue Reading >>
Well here I am! The sweltering, tropical, humid jungle capital of Pucallpa. I just moved here from the coastal town of Trujillo three days ago and I’ll be starting the second and final stint as a KF6 fellow for Manuela Ramos. A former Kiva fellow hooked me up with a family here in the heart of the Amazon and I’m staying with them for the next couple of days.
The father picked me up from the airport and ushered me (mercifully!) through the hoards of mototaxi drivers out to the main road where we caught a ride a less...Continue Reading >>
What originally started as a college senior’s feeble attempt to plan his future has finally become a reality: I am now in Sudan. After a 21-hour flight from Los Angeles to Uganda, three days of waiting in Uganda to get a Sudanese visa, and a one hour (scary) flight from Entebbe to Juba, I finally made it into the country that I will be calling “home” for the next several months.
My home does not have running water or...Continue Reading >>
In 2004, the International Criminal Tribunal ruled unanimously that the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995 was genocide.
I visited Srebrenica last week. I put together a video with a little history, photographs, and an interview with a Kiva Borrower whose husband was killed in the war and whose life has never fully recovered. I hate to sound cliche, but the entire experience broke my heart.' /> Continue Reading >>
I have been in Peru for two weeks now, but I have been struggling to blog about my experience so far. I’ve been waiting for a remarkable moving microfinance success story to share, or some powerful insight into the people of Peru or an individual that I have met that I can write about. Unfortunately after two weeks, neither of these have come to me as clearly (or as quickly) as I would have liked, and I have had to remind myself that that’s O.K. and the experience is still worth sharing. I am now in a small town called Huancayo and slowly but surely things are picking up speed. Over...Continue Reading >>