Stories tagged with Costa Rica

Aug 8, 2010 CR Costa Rica

Around us mountains soared as we left San José at dawn.  Certain that what I had been admiring all week were indeed the rugged ranges of Costa Rica, I snapped a few pics and dozed off.

A few hours later I woke up.  It was now late morning, and getting hot.  My colleague Steven turned to me and said, “Look where we are.”

http://vimeo.com/14095736

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Aug 8, 2010 CR Costa Rica

Great things are happening here at EDESA in San José, Costa Rica.  A quick rundown of what EDESA does and how that ties back to Kiva and lenders like you:

EDESA is a microfinance institution in San José, Costa Rica.  It is located in a lovely house-turned-office and staffed by several dedicated and energetic employees.  Kiva is one of EDESA’s several funders.

EDESA lends money to well over 100 Empresas de Credito Communal (ECCs) throughout Costa Rica.  ECCs – Communal Credit Companies in English – are small credit organizations created and run by the very...

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Jul 7, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF11 United States

Monica

Since I started my third stint as a Kiva Fellow at Opportunity Fund, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the differences between microfinance in the USA (Opportunity Fund is located in the Bay Area) and microfinance in Central America (I previously worked in Nicaragua and Costa Rica). Then I met Monica, an Opportunity Fund client, and was immediately overwhelmed by how similar her business was to other...

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Apr 4, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica

One of the benefits of being a Kiva Fellow for more than one placement is getting to see how different MFI’s (microfinance institutions) with very different models all fit under the microfinance umbrella. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology. I just finished up my second full placement as a Kiva Fellow and along the way I also visited a third MFI for a week. For those of you just getting started with microfinance or for those who are interested in seeing the diversity amongst Kiva’s partner’s, I thought a brief rundown of a few MFI models...

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Apr 4, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica

There is one question that I have really come to hate during my time in Central America: “Do you have a boyfriend?” My hackles immediately rise, not because I’m unhappy with my answer, but because of how too many men react to my answer here.

“Yes, I have a boyfriend,” I say with enthusiasm.

A loan officer giving a Kiva client a small accounting lesson.

“Is he Tico?” he asks.

“No. He’...

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Apr 4, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica

My portfolio distribution

How do you decide what business to lend to on Kiva? And do you know what your biases are?

Besides being a Kiva Fellow, I am also an active lender on Kiva. Since I started lending in 2007, I’ve always had a few criteria that I’ve been aware of. I mainly lend to women with kids. They get an extra point in my mind if helping with the children’s education is mentioned as a priority.

But last month...

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Mar 3, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica

Yorlene showing off her organic lettuce starts

Well obviously that’s not always true, but it feels like it sometimes. In this case, I have a particular day and a particular borrower- Yorlene Solano Rodríguez – in mind. At the end of a very long day last week, I met Yorlene at her house. It was getting dark and the FUDECOSUR loan officer I was with was anxious to get home. And of course, she had the most interesting story I had...

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Mar 3, 2010 CR Costa Rica

By Meg Gray, KF10 Costa Rica

Take 1: Me with "my plant business"

As Kiva Fellows, we have to do a little bit of everything. Train loan officers. Verify borrower information. Write journals. And yes sometimes, model for photos as a fake small business owners. Well maybe model/fake business owner isn’t an everyday activity for me, but I think it demonstrates how many different types of things Kiva Fellows fall into in the field.

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Dec 12, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

Time Flies. I feel like I’ve been in Costa Rica for two weeks however my no-nonsense calendar tells an altogether different story.  After nearly 12 weeks learning the ins and outs of FUDECOSUR, things are going smooth. With the Costa Rican summer in full swing, business casual has been replaced by the welcome alternative of jeans and polos. For the first time, I am experiencing the holiday season with 85-degree weather and sunshine. I have tried to start weaning myself off a healthy addiction of gallo pinto, the traditional Costa Rican...

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Dec 12, 2009 CR Costa Rica

Alana Solimeo, KF9, Costa Rica

I am a seasoned gringa-tica.  I have made it through the rainy season and now enjoy the warmth of the sun…much deserved.  It’s a hard thing to reason with your expectations of a big life event, such as a 3 month placement in America’s favorite destination, the happiest place on Earth, because we know we’ll deal with the good and bad, fun and scary, beautiful and horrific.  The only catch is that just as the beautiful is more enlightening and refreshing than you could ever dream, the scary is darker and more lonely than you’d prepared for...

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