Stories tagged with Colombia

Dec 12, 2010 CO Colombia

This winter is said to be the worst in the last 60 years in Colombia. In the 45 days since I arrived in Medellín, roughly three have not included a rainstorm. I’ve just come to accept the fact that most days I will get stuck in a torrential downpour, and that my umbrella will be rendered useless. The locals like to remind me that while I have been dealing with the rain for only a few weeks, this has been their reality for months, and there is no end in sight. Official weather reports estimate that the rain will continue through March.

Around the country, Colombians are...

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Dec 12, 2010 CO Colombia

Interactuar is, without a doubt, one of the most inspiring microfinance institutions (MFIs) I have come across to date in my work with Kiva. More than just a credit institution, Interactuar, which is located in Medellin, Colombia, believes wholeheartedly in the power of microfinance when combined with additional programs, such as client education and consulting services. Two of these entrepreneurship development services strike me as particularly unique and merit elaboration: the design center and the nutrition laboratory.

The design center is aimed at...

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Dec 12, 2010 CO Colombia

There was an air of excitement in Interactuar’s office, located in Medellín, Colombia; employees were better dressed than usual, everyone was in high spirits and kept a constant eye on the clock. It was all in anticipation of Interactuar’s biggest day of the year: the Famiempreario del Año (family business of the year) award ceremony. Taking center stage in Medellín’s Metropolitan Theater, Interactuar employees, friends, family members and clients filled the seats. For roughly a decade, Interactuar has been honoring its best and most successful entrepreneurs in this way. Each year,...

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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 plastic surgery. All of the pretty young...

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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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