Stories tagged with All

Jan 1, 2009 DO Dominican Republic

After approximately a year of waiting I finally made it to my destination: the micro finance institute (MFI) Esperanza/Hope International located in balmy, beautiful Santo Domingo! Kalie Gold (another Kiva Fellow) and Analin (Kiva Coordinator) have been gracious enough to show me the ropes, and there is plenty to do. Right now we are currently working on designing a short training course for getting better profile pictures, more journal updates, getting documents sent on a timely manner, etc.

I was really excited to learn that Esperanza/Hope International are getting ready to launch...

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Jan 1, 2009 KH Cambodia

Like the windshield on a motor-taxi in Phnom Penh rush hour, transparency is vital to Kiva’s survival. To give interest-free loans, lenders deserve to know that every cent of their money is being distributed exactly as promised, whilst borrowers have the right not to be misrepresented.

An important aspect of this transparency, and one which Kiva takes very seriously, is the integrity of the data on its website. Allowing inaccurate data is the first step towards encouraging fraud on the site, which would have severe reputational consequences for Kiva.

A key data check is...

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Jan 1, 2009 DO Dominican Republic

Sweet December

My Dominican co-workers wore sweaters to work when temperature fell below 70 degrees in December. “Winter is cold here,” friends and employees told me. While I stuck to my t-shirts in the day, I did cut short my nightly unheated showers.

Mujeres Necesitades outside the Hato Mayor office: these bank members finished a loan in December and took out another, expecting that December would be a...

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Jan 1, 2009 KE Kenya

“Idhi tich?” Nelson, my compound’s askari (guard), asked as I made my way to the gate. “Adhi tich!” I replied with complete enthusiasm, slightly mangling the Dholuo phrase, but hoping that maybe, just maybe, today I had said it well enough to be understood.

With an encouraging, patient smile, Nelson had me repeat the phrase that explained I was going to work until it was intelligible to him, if not anyone else who might have to suffer the misfortune of hearing my rather hopeless, though enthusiastic, attempts to speak Dholuo.

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Jan 1, 2009 TG Togo

Three years ago, the streets I drive on today in downtown Lomé were ablaze with burning tires and barricades, as civilians protested the contested results of the presidential election. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the longest ruling leader in Africa (second in the world only to Fidel Castro) had died on February 5, 2005. Two months later, an election pronounced his son, Faure Gnassingbé, the winner, defeating an opposition coalition of six parties.

...

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Jan 1, 2009 KH Cambodia

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve explained the concept behind Kiva to family, friends, and people I’ve met along the way, but each time my explanation is slightly different.

This is because Kiva is really quite difficult to explain. It incorporates frightfully odd concepts such as microfinance, acronyms such as MFIs, faux acronyms (“what does K.I.V.A. stand for anyhow?”), frequently confused verbs “lend” and “borrow”, crossovers between banking and charity, international flows of money, interest and yet no...

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Dec 12, 2008 BJ Benin

Abozu with Abby and I of "Why I can't give Abozu my Camera" blog fame

I spent the weekend in Lomé, Togo with Abby Gray, another Kiva fellow at WAGES. Wages is basically like Alide in a few years: larger, and with a deeper relationship with Kiva. To get to Togo, I had to cross the border from Benin to Togo alone, which was just a little bit more harrowing and stressful than was necessary between two small, relatively stable countries. I decided to go to Togo on...

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Dec 12, 2008 TJ Tajikistan

It’s 5am and the electricity has just come back on here in my Khujand apartment. I know because the sheet metal of the ‘70’s era space heater plugged into the wall has started to creak and crack as it warms. I’m not typically up at this hour but it’s D-day – my departure – and I’m anxious to get started on the 3 day, 5 country journey back home. Today Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, tomorrow Uzbekistan to Moscow to Amsterdam, and finally Amsterdam to… America.

...

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Dec 12, 2008 HN Honduras

Christmas in Honduras sunny and delicious. Christmas parties are everywhere, and come with very royally dressed women and scantily dressed girls. Office beauty pageants. The days are a warm 80 degrees, toasty not humid. I’m eating Tres Leches cake like my heart is made of iron, not soft, susceptible tissue.

I can’t get enough of the Christmas trees. Like everything here, color is supreme.

Christmas Tree in Prisma's Office

Don’t forget that they don’t grow...

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Dec 12, 2008 TJ Tajikistan

I had been planning for today’s lasagna lunch since the second week of my fellowship when one my colleagues asked if I could make his favorite dish from the U.S. How could I say no? This man had picked me up at the border, arranged my housing, and even helped me secure a SIM card and cell phone, among countless of other tasks. Lasagna was the least I could do, right? Right? In the end the lasagna required more than 10 trips to various stores and the efforts of approximately 12 people, in three countries.

When I...

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