Aug 11, 2007 KE Kenya

I’ve been in Nairobi since last Wednesday evening. Eb-F opened a new Unit here about three months ago. On Thursday we moved to a more permanent and bigger office and have just been getting settled. Friday I was able to go to the field – Kibera Slums. A lot of what I could write about Nairobi has already been covered really well by Kerry in other entries but I just wanted to share a quick few thoughts:

- Nairobi traffic is absolutely horrendous. It’s worse than any city I’ve ever seen in the US, except maybe Los Angeles.

- Al-Jazeera news gets a terribly unfair rap in...

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Aug 8, 2007 KE Kenya

So I’m in the home stretch of my time as a Kiva Fellow. I’ll be returning to New York next week. I have mixed emotions about this – it will be wonderful to see my family and friends again, to enjoy American efficiency and hot water and not eat barbecued red meat with every meal, but the past several weeks have been an undeniably instructive, formative and remarkable experience for me. Last Thursday night was my last in Nakuru, the town where Ebony’s head office is. I went to dinner that night with the whole staff. We spent several hours at the restaurant, dancing to the spirited Kenyan...

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Aug 6, 2007 UG Uganda

Greetings from Uganda! My name is Maura and I have been working with Life in Africa (LiA) for the past four weeks. LiA is a community based organization servicing families affected by Northern Uganda’s civil war. Approximately 80% of members belonging to the Kampala LiA Center are mothers living in the Acholi Quarters–an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. Political instability and violent rebel attacks over the past two decades have caused people to flee from the northern districts to escape persecution. Many LiA members hope to return home in the near future.

As a...

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Aug 5, 2007 GT Guatemala

Hi all – Thought you might want to listen to our podcast explaining what we’re up to here in Guatemala with Friendship Bridge. You can listen to it here or go to our podcast page for other podcasts; you can subscribe if you’d like to.

-Randy and Nancy

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Aug 3, 2007 AZ Azerbaijan

OK, I’m not really lost, but I have been traveling like crazy the past two or so weeks and have not been able to keep up with journals or blogs! I apologize for the length of this, but I’ll try to recap:

14 – 16 July: I jumped on a mashrutka (a fancy name for a really old, unsafe, run-down mini-bus) and headed two hours north of Baku to NorMicro’s branch office in Khachmaz. I spent Saturday hanging out with Azerbaijani friends I have made on previous visits to Khachmaz this summer. On Sunday I went to the modest seaside...

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Aug 3, 2007 KE Kenya

Jambo Jambo everyone from Nairobi! Once again it has been a rather overcast week here in the highlands, but I have faith since we have had two sunny days this week! For all the Kenyans this weather is freezing, but as a Brit, its a normal English summer spent without sun and some rain, pretty standard. So this week has been quite exciting, lots of adventures to report, starting with another trip to Kayole slums outside of Nairobi on Tuesday. Most of the staff went, so it was rather a big day out for us all together, and we were interviewing some people for a project. I was surprisingly...

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Jul 27, 2007 GT Guatemala

Clara Ajsoc

We’ve met a wide variety of women in the last couple of weeks, from Mayan women who speak no Spanish at all and who try to scrape together a living with some weaving and a pig, to fairly ordinary poor urban women who remind us a little more of home, except that to them $15 is what you have to come up with every month for the kid’s school payment.

Last week Nancy met Clara Ajsoc in the highland village of Santa Clara La Laguna. Clara used her Friendship Bridge loan to buy a calf, which she raised...

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Jul 26, 2007 KE Kenya

Jambo once again from cold Nairobi! I am going to start this blog talking about my trip to Kayole to visit some Kiva clients last Wednesday. Kayole is located about 30 minutes from downtown Nairobi, and is not really considered a slum, more of an ‘informal settlement’ whatever that really means. So we loaded up into the car and drove through the smoggy streets of the city. Driving through Kayole I was already struck about how different it was from Kiambiu-which is considered a real ‘slum’- Kayole had actual buildings, mostly flats, ambiguously piled on top of each...

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Jul 25, 2007 AZ Azerbaijan

Yesterday in Baku, sixteen Azerbaijanis from seven MFIs filled a small conference room for a class on writing business descriptions and success stories. They were craving training, not only on these critical elements of promoting their organizations, but also on writing in the English language. Among the attendees, employees from Kiva’s three Azerbaijani field partners were present: Murad and Jeyhun from NorMicro, Ulviyya from Komak, and Tamilla from AqroInvest.

 

The class was organized by Paul at ACDI|VOCA through...

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Jul 24, 2007 GT Guatemala

Mother and daughter of a client

As we take photos and write down the stories of clients, they are almost always thrilled to see their picture on the display of our camera. But they often have no picture of themselves or their family, and sometimes come close to begging for one.

Well, we finally figured it out for the first time today. Yes, I know this is not that difficult a challenge, but it was progress for us. When we returned from the village to the nearest town, we found a photo printing place, printed out the...

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