Stories tagged with Costa Rica

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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Dec 12, 2009 CR Costa Rica

Alana Solimeo, KF9, Costa Rica

 I’m not here to cry wolf.  I know that the subordination of women exists to much more oppressive degrees around the world.  

 I am also aware that my ability to identify phenomena here as ‘machismo’ has everything to do with my perspective, that of a female born into a world where I have virtually no boundaries, where glass ceilings are slowly being pushed further and further away from my upper limits by the women that precede me.  But I am here to tell my stories, and I’ll do so cautiously.  This one is about my personal experience...

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Nov 11, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

4,000,0000 cups per year. 10,958,904 cups per day. 42 beans per cup.  460,273,968 beans per day. And they all have to be picked one by one by one. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Every cup we make  is the culmination of an incredibly involved process that we all should appreciate.

Below is a video of the coffee process at AsoProLa, an organic coffee company which processes coffee from small scale farmers in Altamira, many of whom have micro-loans with FUDECOSUR

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