Stories tagged with Kenya

Mar 3, 2009 KE Kenya

Not every day as a Kiva Fellow is a good one. There are days when I wait for seven hours for a credit officer to be available to take me to the field to collect journal updates for only two clients. There are hours of intermittent internet in which I am able to load less than one page. There are the clients I meet about whom I would be inspired except that after doing the math I’m not convinced they’ve found a way to run their businesses with a net profit. Luckily, after more than 7 months of victories and setbacks, I think I’m in the black.

Small moments compensate for...

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Jan 1, 2009 KE Kenya

I am volunteering at Kisumu Medical Educational Trust (KMET), which began with the aim of breaking the silence surrounding high maternal mortality from unsafe abortions.  In the Nyanza Province of Kenya, 42% of 15-19 year olds are sexually active, but only 11% use modern contraception.  (Mitchel et al, 2006).  Only eleven percent of sexually active teenagers use condoms, despite the fact that 15% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS.

The KMET office has boxes and boxes of free condoms.  I browsed the selection, impressed.  I felt as though I was browsing the coffee...

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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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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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Oct 10, 2008 KE Kenya

People always use toothpicks after meals…you don’t “get off” a bus or Matatu, you “alight” (I have actually never heard this word before)…people make “blunders” instead of “mistakes”…Kenya produces great coffee, but since the domestic demand is rather for tea, most places serving coffee here are surprisingly bad…people love eating meat…when I ask people for directions, they assume that I am utterly helpless and may not make it to where I am going…if my colleagues give me directions, they want me to send them an SMS once I arrive, so that they...

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Oct 10, 2008 KE Kenya

Nairobi is a mad, mad place for the unfamiliar visitor. Traffic, pollution, swarms of people…

The simplest, most convenient way to get around is on a Matatu. A Matatu is a little van, almost like a VW bus, except outfitted with seats for 14 people…and sometimes a flat screen TV and Pioneer speakers, which are always pumping some kind of reggae or American hip hop through the little van.

Matatus...

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Oct 10, 2008 KE Kenya

My name is David Stewart and I am the Kiva Fellow in Nairobi, Kenya. I am working with Opportunity Kenya, part of Opportunity International. Opportunity just bought Sunlink, a small MFI here in Nairobi. I am here to help the transition and get all of the Sunlink staff on board with this thing from the US we know (and love) as Kiva….but before I got here….

It was virtually impossible to write anything before leaving the States for Nairobi. There was simply too much movement, too much...

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Oct 10, 2008 KE Kenya

I found a snake in the living room closet.

I had been trying to mentally prepare for just this sort of moment, imagining myself cool and collected, taking snakes in the house in my stride. “Oh, just another snake!” I’d smile to everyone as I calmly shooed the snake from the house, proving myself not some silly American, but someone capable – someone who doesn’t fuss about snakes in the house. However, I hadn’t, in fact, thought that I would need to call upon my no-snake-fussing mental...

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Sep 9, 2008 KE Kenya

As the next round of Kiva Fellows finished their training, Nabomita, Zack, and Julie (KF5) met for a weekend getaway in Mombasa, Kenya. During our reunion, we came up with some words to live by both for successfully completing your fellowship and for happily taking a respite from the rigors of life at an MFI. Read on, for our pearls of wisdom.

1) Don’t let the signs fool you; greasing an Immigration Official’s palm can buy you entry into a foreign country

After 8 hours on a bus from Dar es Salaam,...

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Sep 9, 2008 KE Kenya

Jambo everyone! Or, to prove that I’m “in the know”, Mambo!

Okay, so these may be the only two words I know in Swahili at this point, but I am expecting/hoping that my vocabulary will exponentially increase in the next 13 weeks. At this moment, I am sitting among 29 other, and infinitely more interesting than I, future Fellows in a training session at Kiva headquarters. Here at the Kiva office we have been overeating and learning how to be the very best Fellows we can be (which of course includes learning how to post on this blog!).

This initial post is...

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