With few exceptions, Kiva borrowers have greeted my visits to their homes and businesses with the sentiment captured in the blog title, that is to say with skepticism and unease. Visits can start awkwardly and end awkwardly. But sometimes they inspire; borrowers graciously share their story – their successes and struggles, their hopes and fears – with a complete stranger...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Uncategorized
Trekking to La Danta
Two weeks ago I headed out for the last of my borrower verifications with EDESA, the microfinance institution where I’ve been working. All week long I anticipated my trip to Golfito, which is way down in southern Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas province. I asked my colleagues about our portfolio there and peppered them with questions like: ‘Have you ever been to Golfito? How far is it from the Panamanian border? I heard it’s...Continue Reading >>
On my second day in Nairobi, I had dinner with family friends, during which a 9-year old boy jokingly told me not to forget my umbrella when traveling to Kibera. I looked at him confused and he said ‘flying toilets’. My roommates and I assumed ‘the flying toilet’ would be as enthralling as the name sounds. Simply put, it is a plastic bag used as a toilet which is then thrown on to the road.
About 10 million Kenyans live in slums, and this number is growing at a rate of 7% per year. About 80% of these residents lack adequate sanitation...Continue Reading >>
Exactly one month has passed since I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya. As a complete newbie in Africa, I had no idea what to expect when I first landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Before my arrival, I had done some research about the country that was going to be my home for the coming months. A quick google search on Nairobi informed me that Kenya’s capital is the 12th largest one in Africa, the name Nairobi is a Maasai phrase that translates to “cold water” and it’s located 1,800 meters above sea level. My internet search also informed me that...Continue Reading >>
I’m piggybacking Holly’s great blog on Eid al-Adha – i.e. Tabaski – to give you a peek into how another West African country celebrates this highly anticipated holiday. Turns out, as you will learn, the brouhaha differs a bit from place to place.
My introduction to Tabaski began several weeks ago when I arrived for my first day at UIMCEC. Within the first 30 minutes of being seated at my desk, conversation with my supervisor was interrupted twice by clients seeking to take out loans for Tabaski. Both times, my supervisor shot me a look of: “Much more of this to come…”
Even...Continue Reading >>
Today is Tabaski, the Muslim holiday which celebrates the festival of the sacrifice. The day honors the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrafice his first born son as an act of submission to God until God intervened and allowed him to sacrafice a ram instead.
Last night I...Continue Reading >>
Visiting borrowers in rural Costa Rica
By all accounts, borrower verifications (BVs) have been a highlight for all Kiva Fellows who have had them on their work plans. I started mine last week, but I have to admit I went into them feeling apprehensive—especially since not all borrowers fully understand how Kiva works or how Kiva is even related to them.They all know they get money from the local bank...Continue Reading >>
A Recap of My Visits to a Senegalese Soccer Game and Île de Gorée (Island of Gorée)
Among the first pieces of advice I was given by a local upon arriving in Senegal was: “If you’re to do only two things while here in Dakar, make them a trip to the Senegalese soccer stadium (watch a live game, too, “if you’re lucky”), and an afternoon visit to the emblematic Île de Gorée.”Continue Reading >>
A Chance Encounter En Route to Dakar, Senegal
I have a strong tendency to read (ok fine — skim) blogs filled with photos; aesthetically, it’s what I naturally gravitate towards, and I’m sure many readers out there likely do the same. Ironically, with this post I’m about to defy most all of my preferences as my camera has… unfortunately found a new home.
It was important to remind myself as my camera went missing (as it is in so many other situations traveling or otherwise) that keeping an open mind and rolling with...Continue Reading >>
Diana Biggs | KF 18 | Burkina Faso
I’d like to think the title of this post sums up my experience in Burkina Faso – perhaps even both professional and personally. I’ll focus on the former here and try to take you through my journey.
Expectations: As a Kiva Fellow, it’s likely you’re a Type A (if on the quirky end), dedicated, well-traveled, highly educated young person, perhaps an experienced professional looking to Pivot (see Patrick’s post for more on that) or mid-studies in a Masters program. Whilst...Continue Reading >>