Stories tagged with Colombia

Nov 11, 2010 CO Colombia

When I first told my father that Kiva had placed me in Medellín, he asked, “you mean the drug and murder capital of the world?” Er, um, not anymore! I don’t think….

Medellín is, in many ways, two different cities in one—and a place that faces far more nuanced challenges than its tarnished reputation implies.

On the one hand, it is a city of beautiful, young socialites. The women here are simply stunning, and a night out in the Zona Rosa is enough to make even the staunchest objector consider the benefits of a spray tan and...

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Jul 7, 2010 CO Colombia

By David Connelly, KF10 Peru/KF11 Colombia

In Barranquilla you have to seriously reevaluate your plans when it rains. Or as a friend nonchalantly told me: “Unlike other cities where rain means ‘don’t forget the umbrella,’ here in Barranquilla it means ‘don’t leave home.’” Arroyos. The word means “stream,” or at least that’s what I thought when I arrived here on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. But people kept mentioning how these arroyos pop up any time it rains, how big they get, how they have their own...

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Jul 7, 2010 CO Colombia

By David Connelly, KF10 Peru/KF11 Colombia

Fundacion Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), Kiva’s first and only (for the moment) field partner in Colombia, is celebrating 50 years. To help them out, I’ve planned a short series of blog posts highlighting a few of the many projects and programs the Foundation has undertaken as it’s spanned 5 decades, 3 cities, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000,000,000 Colombian pesos* working to strengthen communities and alleviate poverty in Colombia.

This is a big deal down here. In fact, yesterday, July 13,...

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Jun 6, 2010 CO Colombia

By David Connelly, KF10 Peru/KF11 Colombia

Blogging in from Barranquilla, Colombia. I plopped down here just a bit over a week ago and right near the end of the Colombian national football* league’s season-ending tournament.Now, this entry doesn’t have anything to do with microfinance, but since the mission of our blog is “to allow Kiva Fellows to have the opportunity to share their experiences living and working abroad,” I thought I’d share some local color, especially what I encountered here last night.

A little framing. This was the second...

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Apr 4, 2010 CO Colombia

By Rob Packer, KF10 Colombia

When I first became a Kiva Fellow, I never imagined that one day I’d spend a cold, rainy afternoon in Bogotá discussing the merits of art-as-expression against art-for-profit with an aspiring artist and Kiva borrower.

The Nevera (the fridge as Bogotá is known to costeños for its chilly climate) has a very feel from Colombia’s Caribbean coast where I’m based. Partly this is because you need a coat and an umbrella; but it’s mainly because of Bogotá’s urban charm, which sometimes reminds me of European cities like Madrid; and the...

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Mar 3, 2010 CO Colombia

By Rob Packer, KF10 Colombia

Sometimes context is everything. If you met someone making muesli, granola and other fibre products in San Francisco or Berlin, you might not be all that surprised. But if you take away the context of coffee culture, media types and brunch and replace it with Barranquilla, a port town with an image problem on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, things start looking different. Oh, he’s also a microfinance borrower. Not exactly what you’d expect.

...

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Feb 2, 2010 CO Colombia

By Rob Packer, KF10, Colombia

The easy answer to this question is that there is a wide range of ways to annoy a Colombian. And after having been in Colombia for a month, a lot of them are starting to annoy me too.

One of these grievances is that Colombia must be one of the most consistently misspelt countries in the world. Having just come from Kyrgyzstan, which is part of a region of hard-to-spell countries, it came as a bit of a surprise that a lot of my friends seem to think I’m in Columbia, South Carolina, not South America. For the record, there are lots of...

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Jan 1, 2010 CO Colombia

By Rob Packer, KF10 Colombia

One of the things that attracts people to the Kiva Fellowship is the chance to visit places they would never visit otherwise. Over the past three weeks with the Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), I’ve been to barrios in Bogotá, Barranquilla and Cartagena that I would never have visited otherwise. The alegría and friendliness of Kiva borrowers normally means that this is an overwhelmingly positive experience. However, there are other kinds of visits, often to poorer areas, and it’s this kind of visit that haunts you and enrages your sense of...

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Jan 1, 2010 CO Colombia

By Rob Packer, KF10 Colombia

Microfinance is commonly seen as the exclusive territory of non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While there are a lot of non-profits on the Kiva platform, there is also a fair number of for-profit MFIs and additionally, a lot of the non-Kiva money coming into microfinance is returns-driven (i.e. investment for profit). Whether it’s interest charged on a loan from a bank, the spread required for philanthropic financing by national or supranational governments, or the more apparent return sought by microfinance investment firms...

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Dec 12, 2009 KG Kyrgyzstan

By Rob Packer, KF9 Kyrgyzstan

My fellowship in Kyrgyzstan has come to an end and now I’m writing this in London before starting as one of pair of Kiva Fellows in Colombia: a first for Kiva. During training, I heard on the Kiva rumour mill that Kiva would be starting in Colombia a few months after training and thought it would be an amazing placement. Three months later with flights booked for Colombia in the New Year, I can feel the excitement building up as years of Colombia Dreaming finally come true.

Even though Kyrgyzstan is not a country I chose and Central...

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