I have made it safe and on time to my destination in Kisumu, Kenya. It has been a rush. Before I left, Dr. Omedi Ochieng, told me that nothing could prepared me to fully understand what Africa would be. Personal descriptions, books, photos, data, only go so far Prior to my departure I believed that I had a cerebral understanding of what Africa would be like, but being here the visceral experience is daunting.... Continue Reading >>
Stories from Kenya
Since arriving in Kenya I have been yearning to meet Kiva clients, to see the effects of Kiva and microfinance with my own eyes. Over the years I have read many books and articles about microfinance, but nothing can take the place of seeing the smiles on the clients’ faces as they watch customers file in and out of their shops – often as a direct result of their Kiva loan. I not only saw clients who had been given the opportunity to increase their incomes, I saw people with a newfound sense of pride,...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been in Kenya for a couple of weeks now and have seen such diversity in not only the people, plants, and animals but also in standard of living, quality of life, and income levels. Like anywhere in the world some people live expensive, lavish lifestyles while others work hard with little to show for it at the end of the day. In Kenya, the latter is definitely the most prominent. But last week as a Kiva Fellow at Action Now: Kenya(ANK) in Nairobi, I saw the beauty and success of microfinance that I had hoped...Continue Reading >>
Totos in Kayole Slums
Jambo Jambo everyone! Sadly my blogging and Kiva time has come to an end, I am actually writing this from home as I thought it would be interesting to compose my final installment from the perspective of being back in the ‘developed’ world. But before I launch into...Continue Reading >>
Hi readers! My name is Ben Elberger and I work with Kiva as a Microfinance Partnerships Manager. I’ll be blogging for the next six weeks from Africa as I travel with Chelsa Bocci and John Berry, Kiva Microfinance Partnership Directors, to our partners in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
Right now, I’m sitting in my friends’ dining room packing up final things and getting ready to head out to Dulles Airport for my flight to Entebbe (via Amsterdam). Chelsa and I will meet up in Amsterdam and we’ll rendezvous with John in Uganda. It’s...Continue Reading >>
So alas, despite my proclamations last week of being the ‘Britney Spears of Africa’ or as I prefer the ‘Princess Di’, no one has asked me for my autograph. But fret not, I still have about a month to go and many more adventures to have! I am really enjoying this blogging malarkey, I will admit that up until a few months ago, I was ignorant about what a blog was, but now I am getting into it, and it’s a really interesting way of communicating with people. So anyway, last week I remarked on...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been in Nairobi since last Wednesday evening. Eb-F opened a new Unit here about three months ago. On Thursday we moved to a more permanent and bigger office and have just been getting settled. Friday I was able to go to the field – Kibera Slums. A lot of what I could write about Nairobi has already been covered really well by Kerry in other entries but I just wanted to share a quick few thoughts:
- Nairobi traffic is absolutely horrendous. It’s worse than any city I’ve ever seen in the US, except maybe Los Angeles.
- Al-Jazeera news gets a terribly unfair rap in...Continue Reading >>
So I’m in the home stretch of my time as a Kiva Fellow. I’ll be returning to New York next week. I have mixed emotions about this – it will be wonderful to see my family and friends again, to enjoy American efficiency and hot water and not eat barbecued red meat with every meal, but the past several weeks have been an undeniably instructive, formative and remarkable experience for me.
Last Thursday night was my last in Nakuru, the town where Ebony’s head office is. I went to dinner that night with the whole staff. We spent several hours at the restaurant, dancing to the spirited...
Jambo Jambo everyone from Nairobi! Once again it has been a rather overcast week here in the highlands, but I have faith since we have had two sunny days this week! For all the Kenyans this weather is freezing, but as a Brit, its a normal English summer spent without sun and some rain, pretty standard. So this week has been quite exciting, lots of adventures to report, starting with another trip to Kayole slums outside of Nairobi on Tuesday. Most of the staff went, so it was rather a big day out for us all together, and we were interviewing some people for a project. I was surprisingly...Continue Reading >>
Jambo once again from cold Nairobi! I am going to start this blog talking about my trip to Kayole to visit some Kiva clients last Wednesday. Kayole is located about 30 minutes from downtown Nairobi, and is not really considered a slum, more of an ‘informal settlement’ whatever that really means. So we loaded up into the car and drove through the smoggy streets of the city. Driving through Kayole I was already struck about how different it was from Kiambiu-which is considered a real ‘slum’- Kayole had actual buildings, mostly flats, ambiguously piled on top of each...Continue Reading >>