Stories tagged with Cameroon

Jun 6, 2011 CM Cameroon

Hiking in the chilly mountain atmosphere fills me with nostalgia for the sounds and smells of home – wood-burning fires, soft rain, gentle streams, and incredibly lush vegetation. My co-worker and new friend Princewill has even heard of Dolly Parton, which inspired the blog title because Miranda, another co-worker and budding friendship, was joking about hosting us in her country mountain home. And yet, here I am in a new place on “the other side of the world.”

After three full days of travel to arrive at my Kiva Fellowship placement with GHAPE (Grounded and Holistic...

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Apr 4, 2010 CM Cameroon

By Dennis A. Espinoza, KF10, El Salvador

When I first heard about microfinance I saw it as a great way to make reliable returns. The emphasis on the social returns was great and the possibility of financial returns was even better! I’m in!

Turns out it isn’t that simple.

A recent New York Times article as well as other news like a recent initial public offering have stirred an old debate. Essentially that limited borrower options, comparatively high interest rates, low default rates and an estimated total asset base of over $20 billion may be...

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Mar 3, 2010 CM Cameroon

By Dennis A. Espinoza, KF10, El Salvador

Imagine you are a mother or a father to both a son and a daughter.
If you only had enough money to send one of your two children to school, which one would you send?

This question was asked to potential microfinance borrowers at a training session led by GHAPE, a microfinance institution (MFI) and Kiva Field Partner based in Bamenda, Cameroon.

The most common answer among the group of 30+ prospective borrowers was my son but I also heard my daughter, the oldest, none and a few others.

The “right” answer was...

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Nov 11, 2009 CM Cameroon

Saahkem Dorothy Muyang. 1954 - 2009.

By Dennis A. Espinoza, KF9, Grounded and Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment (GHAPE) in Bamenda, Cameroon

I was working at my desk when Kenneth, my roommate and GHAPE loan officer, answered his phone and heard that ten year GHAPE member and Kiva borrower, Saahkem Dorothy Muyang, had passed away after a bout with diabetes.

Just glancing at Dorothy’s picture and noticing her beaming...

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Nov 11, 2009 CM Cameroon

By Dennis A. Espinoza, KF9 Cameroon

Saludos Kiva Community –

My name is Dennis Espinoza and in a few hours I will be leaving for Africa to serve with GHAPE, a longstanding Kiva partner based in Cameroon.

Before I kickoff the 25 hour trip from Chicago, USA to Bamenda, Cameroon, a personal note about the reason I’m on this journey and what I selfishly hope to get from it….you know, beyond just a great way to meet great likeminded people, i.e. cute ladies (which it is for those of you who are considering applying to the program!).

...

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Jun 6, 2009 CM Cameroon

Almost finished with my four months at GHAPE, in Bamenda, Cameroon, I thought I would share with everyone all the “thank yous” I heard while interviewing GHAPE/Kiva borrowers.

To all the Kiva lenders, “I thank them plenty!”

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May 5, 2009 CM Cameroon

Fellow fellow Ashley and I had the honor of celebrating International Women’s Day with GHAPE borrowers on Sunday, March 8th, 2009.  It was quite the event: women dressed in kabas, which are the traditional Cameroonian dresses with various patterns and colors, and marched down the main street in Bamenda.  Women and men showed up in masses to the parade and many continued the party by drinking and eating with friends.

On a personal note, Women’s Day was one of my favorite memories of Cameroon.  There were tons of women out at the restaurants and bars enjoying themselves...

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May 5, 2009 CM Cameroon

GHAPE – Grounded and Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment, has three branches in Cameroon. Each branch is located in the North West Region: the capital city, Bamenda, houses GHAPE headquarters. Traveling from branch to branch, center to center, one can see the differences in landscape in Cameroon. Bamenda, a bustling city with lots of commerce is the central location for GHAPE. In Momo and Belo, the farmers reign in their small-town atmospheres.

Momo is a small, small town, equipped with a motor park for those who look to sell their produce outside the city. Home...

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Apr 4, 2009 CM Cameroon
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As a Kiva fellow, one of my jobs is to attend the various centers during their bimonthly meetings.  At the meetings, I have found a routine: watch the groups gather and prepare their money to turn in, sing the GHAPE anthem, discuss upcoming events, and then while the loan officer works out money logistics, I interview Kiva borrowers.  As you can see from the video, the other day was slightly different.

...

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Apr 4, 2009 CM Cameroon

Living in Bamenda, Cameroon is relatively inexpensive. Taking a taxi from one end of the city to the other can cost you a maximum of 250 CFAs (50 cents). Granted, with everything else, you have to sacrifice some luxuries. Using the taxi as an example, the driver, at times, will fit 7 passengers with him in his mid-sized sedan. That is not unusual, especially for longer trips. Other purchases can be extremely cheap when compared to US prices. An avocado, or “pear” here, costs about 75 CFA (or 15 cents). They can cost even less at times. The trick to getting the low price is,...

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