I have been working with ADIM in Nicaragua for just over one month now, enough time to get a pretty advanced rough picture of how this organization works. It has been an interesting four weeks, the first two of which found me frantically trying to keep up with the high-speed pace and lively Spanish chatter of Javier Flores, the organization’s Credit Manager, who is also responsible for managing much of ADIM’s relationship with Kiva. I also found myself with a bit much downtime, which, ironically, stressed me out since I had so much to do during the three months I would be in Nicaragua. We...Continue Reading >>
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“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?-it’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
-On the Road by Jack Kerouac
No quote better summarized my feelings when I left the Bay Area to start my fellowship with Kiva in Peru. This video is a glimpse into my crazy adventure...Continue Reading >>
It shattered my worldview, changed my perspective on life. It nearly undid me. I was at times stupefied by heat and pollution, tongue-tied by the language barrier, unable to process basic thoughts, uncomfortable from stomach ailments, so overwhelmed by poverty that I could not imagine how to improve the quality of life. But I was also fascinated by the many cultures, bonding with friends of every nationality, living each day full of adventure as it were my last, traveling, collapsing into...Continue Reading >>
The leftist candidate Mauricio Funes won El Salvador’s presidential election last night, ending 20 years of rule by the rightist ARENA government. Funes’ party the FMLN had developed out of a Marxist inspired guerilla movement that opposed ARENA’s government 'during the country’s gruesome civil war in the 1980’s. While FMLN supporters took to the streets last night, riding...Continue Reading >>
Being a Kiva Fellow in Southeast Asia you meet many small business owners. Some of these business owners sell what I like to call “culinary adventures”. So as not to offend people, you get a chance to try many of the dishes. Over the course of my seven months, I’ve discovered after a while to stop asking what it is, and just try it. Some have left their impressions on me though, and I thought I’d share them with you.
Let’s see, in Cambodia you have fried tarantula and various bugs such as beetle, cricket, and bee larva. The most delicious and famous ones come from the Kampong Cham...
Today was my first day of work at IMCEC, a Senegalese MFI based in Dakar. I’m working out of their offices in Thies, a smaller, hotter, dustier, and boringer city about an hour and a half from Dakar. IMCEC currently manages the Kiva partnership in a very decentralized way, and is having a lot of trouble meeting their $80,000 a month fundraising limit – in January they only posted $7,500-worth of loans on the Kiva site. What a waste of free capital!
Happily, they just hired a woman to...Continue Reading >>
One testament to the power of the Fellow’s network, as described in Julie Ross’s excellent post The Importance Of My Fellow Fellows, is the existence of these two videos below. No sooner had Abby Gray (KF6) suggested via a mass email that it would be useful to have A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story Of A Kiva Loan in French so that she can show it to her MFI in Francophone Africa, than offers to translate/edit poured in from around the fellosphere. “Spanish would be great too” lead to a similar rumbling from the Latin American contingent.
Within three days I had...Continue Reading >>
In Caacupé they make chipa. This mellow Paraguayan town, ensconced between beautiful green hills and canyons, is known for the small, biscuit-shaped snack, which is made with mandioca flour and cheese. You can find plenty of chipa in Asunción as well, but here it grows on the shelves of every food stall and floats through the streets on the heads of
hardworking saleswomen. A soft,...Continue Reading >>
KISS is more than just one of the great bands of the last half century (if you disregard the ‘Unmasked’ era), it’s an acronym introduced to me by a grade school teacher which – unlike most of what I learned in school – has stuck with me through the years. It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Whether it’s in areas of communication, design or organization, the KISS philosophy is sage advice.
I’m fortunate enough to have internet access in my apartment here in the Philippines and I had high hopes for networking my WiFi-enabled cell phone and...Continue Reading >>
Upon learning that I had been accepted as a Kiva Fellow and would be heading to Peru to work with a microfinance institution (MFI) on Kiva’s behalf, I had no idea that the organization with which I would be working would be much more than a bank that provides microloans.
Manuela Ramos is an organization that was founded in Peru in 1978 and is dedicated to the implementation of programs and projects that advance the rights of Peruvian women. They have more than ten offices throughout Peru and seven of those are operating with a microfinance program. Their programs include educating...Continue Reading >>