As in life, the key to a happy, healthy and productive Kiva Fellowship is largely based on the relationships you form with those around you. The difference with this experience however, is that you don’t have the opportunity to spend years earning trust, respect and admiration from your peers. You must find a way to infiltrate the hearts and minds of your colleagues and clients in a...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Americas
Luckily I’m here in Bolivia for one of the most important celebrations of the year so I jumped at the chance to witness the Todos Santos holiday up close and personal. My previous knowledge was limited to piecemeal notions imported from Mexico, but here in Bolivia this special celebration takes on its own particular traditions dating back centuries and is deeply rooted in Andean cosmology.
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In the past month, I’ve worn my soles thin pounding the pavement visiting Kiva borrowers in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. I’ve come to love and trust the Kiva microfinance institutions (MFI’s) I’m working with here and would recommend them hands down to any prospective borrower out there.
Yet everywhere I go I can’t help but notice the seemingly endless storefront banners offering cheap credit, personal loans, instant money advances. In large cities and small towns I see consumer banks, community cooperatives, microcredit institutions, pawn brokers...Continue Reading >>
Guard dogs, long hikes and broken-down motos are just a few of the obstacles we face on our hunt to track down new Kiva borrowers.
Along with my trustee co-pilot/loan officer/BFF, Juan Carlos, we’ve managed to catch up with 28 new borrowers this month, and the quest to do-so has been nothing short of an adventure.
In the majority of cases, we’re given a hand-drawn map at...Continue Reading >>
By Peter Soley, KF19, Bolivia
The Tilted Life in Lofty La Paz
Landing at the La Paz International Airport in El Alto leaves one breathless; the thin air is immediately manifest. At nearly 13,000 feet (4000 m), La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. The lower-altitude Sucre remains the official capital, but La Paz is the de facto power center in the country housing both the executive and legislative branches of government.
La Paz is blessed with a magnificent setting: the austere altiplano perched far...Continue Reading >>
On my last post I outlined some of the difficulties of working and living in Bolivia. Marches, protests, and strikes from nearly every sector of the population make it hard for any organization to conduct business here in La Paz and its surrounding areas. Yet there are plenty of Kiva’s partners that manage to do a great job despite any and all local challenges.Continue Reading >>
As I spend more time here in New Orleans — and as I get ready to depart — I have started to appreciate the daily sounds I take for granted. Just as important as the visual scenery, sounds can transport us to faraway locations.
In the past months, Kiva Fellows have shared video stories, insights on public transportation and accounts of our excursions into the field, but we’d like to invite you to experience our everyday lives through sound. Below are some clips that a few of us recorded in our various countries. Can you tell what they’re of or where they were...Continue Reading >>
Let me introduce you to Carmen, Maria and Lina, from the group “Siempre 10 Al Progreso”. They live in the same neighbourhood in Lima, Peru’s capital, so they have known each other for a long time. But since 2008 they share more than their neighbourhood: they belong to the same “alcancía comunal”.
An “alcancía comunal”, sometimes referred to as a communal bank, is a self-organized group of borrowers who guarantee each other’s loans. Most of the loans at Edaprospo, the organization where I am placed, are...Continue Reading >>
As our new job title appears to have changed to ‘Global Head of Olympics Events Watching’, our often dormant patriotic side comes out with a vengeance ready to shout at or even knock down the TV screen in an effort to support our athletes (I say ‘us’… is it just me!?). You have had the pleasure of enjoying a unique feeling of celebrating ‘just’ the effort and hard work despite the lack of triumphs (unless you are Chinese or American, then you celebrate stuff like gold medals!) and you have now officially become an expert in...Continue Reading >>
By Icaro Rebolledo| KF18 | Peru
Meet my new friend Piero and our new castle! We randomly met whilst I was running by the beach and he was just hanging out; yet we immediately identified a fundamental issue uniting us on that Saturday morning… WE WERE ON A MISSION TO HAVE FUN! After a failed attempt to find a football, I asked…“Do you know how to build sand castles!?”; his eyes brightened and I interpreted that as a clear sign that he was an expert at it! So, excited he replied…“No! But you must know!?!?”. Well…I really could...Continue Reading >>