Stories tagged with Africa

Mar 3, 2009 CM Cameroon

Hello from Bamenda!!!

After about a two day transit adventure (NY to Paris (7hr), Paris to Douala (7hr), Douala to Bamenda (8 hr mini bus)), I arrived in Bamenda on Valentine’s Day, a day I thought I could avoid, but was proven incorrect!  I am working with GHAPE (Grounded & Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment) and everyone in the office is incredibly helpful and great to talk with.  However, while my time in Cameroon has been positive, I have hit a major roadblock: I brought my Macintosh with me abroad and the software for accessing the internet here is for...

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Feb 2, 2009 UG Uganda

After years of international travel riddled with complications, I think that I have just experienced my most dramatic journey yet. About two weeks ago, I left Boston to travel to work with Pearl Microfinance in Kampala, Uganda. I had planned to land in Nairobi on Tuesday and then spend three days in Nairobi before traveling to Kampala Friday evening.

All went as planned. As I have lived in Nairobi before, my time there was spent visiting old friends and meeting all the new babies! Despite my happy time in Nairobi, as I headed to the airport Friday evening I was thrilled to...

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Feb 2, 2009 SN Senegal

My name is Liz O’Donnell and I’m one of the new Kiva Fellows.  I’m currently working with Caurie Microfinance based in Thiès, Senegal, about an hour and a half east of Dakar (which unlike Bamenda, Cameroon, is really easy to get to from the US – a seven hour nonstop flight from your choice of New York, DC, or Atlanta).

I arrived in Senegal recently and while I have yet to go out into the field to meet Caurie clients, I wanted to share with you a video that I found helpful while trying to understand microfinance in...

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Feb 2, 2009 RW Rwanda

The word “profit” does not translate easily into foreign languages. I’ve now tried to convey the idea both in Swahili and in Kinyarwanda and I often come up with nothing more than blank stares or long pauses. The difficulty lies in what “profit” includes (or doesn’t). A client may answer my question as to what their monthly profit is with a confident declaration of “30,000 Francs”, but when I ask what she uses the profit for, she answers that she pays the rent and pays off her loan. If that is the case, then her profit is not in fact 30,000 Francs but rather is 30,000 Francs minus rent...

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Feb 2, 2009 UG Uganda

Hello Kiva Supporters!  My name is Stephanie Koczela, and I am ecstatic to be headed to Uganda to spend three months with an MFI called Pearl Microfinance Limited.  I am writing to you today from a bus traveling from New York to Boston.  I am amused to be writing to you from this bus as it is running on a smooth road, has plugs for computer cords in each seat, and even has high speed wireless internet – it seems a far reach from the conditions I imagine I will be living in the upcoming months…

I am traveling back to Boston, where I currently live, to finish up a...

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Feb 2, 2009 UG Uganda

Hello Kiva Supporters!  My name is Stephanie Koczela, and I am ecstatic to be headed to Uganda to spend three months with an MFI called Pearl Microfinance Limited.  I am writing to you today from a bus traveling from New York to Boston.  I am amused to be writing to you from this bus as it is running on a smooth road, has plugs for computer cords in each seat, and even has high speed wireless internet – it seems a far reach from the conditions I imagine I will be living in the upcoming months…

I am traveling back to Boston, where I currently live, to finish up 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 TZ Tanzania

My life has turned into a bunch of “lasts.”  My last time seeing friends I have made here, my last time gathering around the table with what has become my family, my last time going to my favorite market where they know me by name, my last time swimming in the warm and oh-so-blue Indian Ocean, my last time laughing with others about my attempt to speak and understand kiswahili, my last time holding on for dear life on a daladala (city bus), my last time climbing those 3 flights of...

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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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Dec 12, 2008 TG Togo

By now, the living room with blue velvet couches really does feel like home. My Togolese family members who welcome me when I walk in the house are happy to see me. They call me ta-ta, then we slap hands with a finger-snap at the end (the Togolese really love that snap – I wonder who did it first, us or them?). The adorable 1-year old, Leona, runs up with her nose crinkled in a big smile, no longer wide-eyed in fear as she was when she first saw this bizarre-looking stranger. Then I drop off my bag in my room and they...

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