Stories tagged with Kenya

Dec 12, 2010 KE Kenya

In the summer of 2009, I spent a few weeks in the small East African nation of Rwanda. I was there as a student as well as an observer, one who could testify to others about conditions in Rwanda today. Like in any country, various standards of living could be found, from upper-class mansions to poverty-stricken slums. However, never before had I seen these extremes exist so closely together.

 More often than not, poverty is the result of circumstances difficult to change. Although people can be very resourceful in making the best of what they have, the trap of poverty is difficult...

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Dec 12, 2010 KE Kenya

By Tara Capsuto, KF 13, Kenya

Kenyans breathed a collective sigh of relief on Dec 15th when the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the much anticipated list of Kenyan leaders suspected of organizing the violence following the disputed 2007 election that left 1,200 Kenyans dead and an estimated 500,000 more displaced from their homes. The list of 6 includes senior public officials like the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Minister of Higher Education, and the Head of Civil Service. Many questions remain as to whether this particular course of justice is the right...

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Dec 12, 2010 KE Kenya

So just how long does it take to feel comfortable in an entirely new place?

When I landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in July, I was determined to learn, absorb, and live like a Kenyan. It turns out this wasn’t the most realistic goal given barriers like the timeframe of 90 days and the whole mzungu factor. But I tried anyway.

My approach

I threw myself into the daily routine whenever possible. I commuted in matatus, picked up some Kiswahili, bought my daily liter of maji from the “cat lady” at the neighborhood kiosk, and...

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Dec 12, 2010 KE Kenya

By Tara Capsuto, KF13, Kenya

Nestled in the hills of Kikuyu farmland, 500 of Faulu Kenya’s dairy farming, matatu driving, and kiosk-owning clients gathered for a half day of telling their microfinance institution (MFI) what they really think. Faulu Kenya’s mission statement is, “To listen and empower Kenyans by providing relevant financial solutions.” Faulu, whose name means “success” in Swahili, is one of Kenya’s largest microfinance organizations, serving over 230,000 clients.  How do they make sense of the...

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Nov 11, 2010 KE Kenya

Time spent in the field working with branch staff, conversing with borrowers, and observing the day-to-day mechanics of microfinance is among the most favored aspects of the Kiva Fellowship. Stepping outside of the office and into the nooks and crannies of an unfamiliar land is fun and exciting…at first. But a simple day out and about can very quickly turn into a character-building experience, especially when faced with obstacles like the nonexistence of posted street signs or printed maps, fickle mobiles, and language barriers—all underneath the equatorial sun’s 90 degree rays.

I’...

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Nov 11, 2010 KE Kenya

This is the tale of how I ended up in the Nairobi airport feasting on two rounds of iced coffee, countless chocolate bars, multiple samosas, and even the sugar coated ice cubes at the bottom of the cup. Meanwhile, Sarah Curl lay collapsed atop a motel bed in a dusty Ugandan town where she may quite possibly remain until this very day.

A perk of the Kiva Fellowship is having friends who live and work in diverse locations around the globe. After a few months in Kenya, I decided to take advantage of this network of colleagues and visit a KF12 classmate in Kampala. This is the latest...

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Oct 10, 2010 KE Kenya

It’s 6:45 am, Lil Wayne is blasting in my ears and Tupac is staring me in the face. Welcome to my daily commute.

Good Morning, 2Pac

A ma-what-now?

Like most Mombasans, I travel around the island by matatu. These fourteen passenger vans function as the local transit system but experience more like party buses. They’re the most affordable way to get around...

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Sep 9, 2010 KE Kenya

Today we’d like to give a very special thank you to one of our top individual lenders, Brian!

Brian is a University Chancellor in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has been lending on Kiva for nearly 5 years. With 3,046 loans, Brian has literally uplifted thousands of lives all over the world through micro-finance. Having a personal connection is crucial to our mission at Kiva, and so in thanks for his continuous support, one of the borrowers he has lended to has a very special video message for Brian.

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Sep 9, 2010 KE Kenya

Yehu Microfinance Trust’s tagline is serving rural Kenya. So when my motorbike broke down en route to visit a Kiva borrower 25 kilometers away from the already remote town of Samburu, I was a little concerned.

The Task

One of my principal duties as a Kiva Fellow while in Kenya is to meet a subset of Kiva clients, ask them some questions, and compare these notes with the information on Kiva’s website and the field partner’s documentation. This process, known in Kiva-speak as the “Borrower Verification,” is a critical piece of the Portfolio Team’s risk and due...

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Sep 9, 2010 KE Kenya

The Internet is out, so I’m writing my first blog post—one of the few things a Kiva Fellow can accomplish without access to the “series of tubes.” I’d like to introduce myself and explain a little about why exactly I wanted to move across the globe, give up access to reliable water pressure, and work for 12 weeks for free.

I’m interested in microlending, Kiva, and social entrepreneurship because of what I’ve learned in the classroom and experienced while spending time abroad. One day I hope to build a career in sustainable economic and social development. I graduated from college a...

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