Stories tagged with Africa

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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Dec 12, 2008 KE Kenya

On November 27-29 ANK held a training seminar for approximately 25 of its borrowers in the Kayole section of Nairobi. Kayole is on the outskirts, about 30 minutes from the city center.

The borrowers were mostly women, and they showed up a little apprehensive as to what they would be doing at the training. None of them have gone through any kind of formal training before and most have them never went to college; some had finished high school.

I was very happy to see that ANK was doing this kind of training. I have long wondered about this gap in microfinance: what good is it...

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Dec 12, 2008 SD Sudan

 

The microfinance institution I have been working with, through Kiva, is called BRAC, Building Resources Across Communities. Since 1972, BRAC has been tackling the various dimensions of poverty through its holistic approach to poverty alleviation. BRAC has programs in economic and social development, health, education, and human rights and legal services. Operating in several countries all over the globe, BRAC is one of the world’s largest NGOs. 

Here in Sudan, BRAC has been instrumental in providing the country with the assistance it...

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Dec 12, 2008 BJ Benin

After a few days, I felt mostly adjusted. I liked what was I doing and I had gotten used to fans only at night. I was sitting at Alide at 3pm at Friday when the electricity went out. The A/C stopped its whir, the computers had to be turned off to save battery. The water had already been off for 2 days.

We wandered outside. For the rest of the day, the young people of Alide talked in Fon, French, and faltering English. I showed them my photos, they made fun of me, they switched back to Fon to gossip to...

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Dec 12, 2008 TG Togo

Most people reading this blog already agree that microfinance is a promising way to help people work their way out of poverty in a dignified manner. I agree, obviously, or I wouldn’t be here in Togo. It is heartwarming, and we should be inspired by it. But we should also be critical of it, to keep ourselves honest and to make sure it’s really having the effect we hope it is. In this post I will outline one of the biggest challenges facing the world of microfinance – becoming sustainable despite high administrative costs – and how Kiva and the Kiva Fellows contribute...

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Nov 11, 2008 RW Rwanda

The noon-day heat of equatorial sun beat down on tin roofs and dirt roads. It was quiet, the sounds a little muffled outside the paint shop of Rwandese Kiva client Marie Chantal Mukasafali.

“The business is good here,” she says, “thank goodness...

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Nov 11, 2008 RW Rwanda

Yes, as I am leaving. Julie Ross, the next Kiva Fellow to be placed in Rwanda, will take over with better and I’m sure more consistent postings here. But in the meantime, a quick note on some of the staff here at VFC, whom you will soon meet in more detail:

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