I must apologize since I have been in Nairobi for a week now and have not blogged! But fret not, I will make amends. There is so much to write already, I don’t quite know where to begin, so I guess I will start from the moment I stumbled off the plane from London after a sleepless overnight journey. Landing in Nairobi at the rude hour of 6am it was still dark and looked cold. Hmmmm I thought, I have only brought one jumper with me, oh well I am sure it will warm up during the day! Oh how I was wrong. Turns out this is the coldest month of the year- but keep in mind when I say ‘...Continue Reading >>
Stories from Kenya
It’s been a while since my last entry and I have a few different momentsI want to cover, so I apologize in advance if the following is a little disjointed and meandering. (And for Russell, I apologize that I’ll most likely switch tenses several times in this entry.) I think the best way to cover the highlights of the past two weeks is list form:
James (Ebony Foundation’s director) arranged for me to see the KCB Safari Rally. Basically, it’s a year-long series off-road derbies, or as I like...Continue Reading >>
The other day I got to witness the excitement felt at PEMCI when a loan is filled on the Kiva web site. One of the loan officers had put a great deal of effort into writing a descriptive profile for Fred Wafula Lubisia, who sought a loan to purchase a motorbike. The loan was for 1,200 USD, which is a significant loan relative to what PEMCI usually offers. The next day, I was browsing Kiva.org, and saw that the entire loan had been filled, thanks to the collective contribution of 10 lenders. I let the loan officer know, and he was...Continue Reading >>
Before arriving in Malaba as a Kiva fellow, one of the assumptions I had about the businesses is that they would be entirely profit driven. Considering the economic situation that most of the clients here are living in, I could only imagine that people’s efforts would be entirely focused on making enough money to support their own family. I have met a few people who have shattered this misconception.
One of those people is Mark Ochubi, who has provided herbal medicine to over 500 clients in Malaba for the past three years. Mark trained at the School for Alternative Medicine in...Continue Reading >>
From left to right: Stephen (me), Mariah, Martha, and Martin (June 11, 2007)
Today is my first day at the office of Women...Continue Reading >>
Yesterday was my first day of field work – meeting entrepreneurs who have gotten loans from Kiva lenders and capturing their stories and lives to be written about in journals that are then posted on the Kiva site. The following is an account of the day’s happenings. Disclaimer: It was an eventful day so this will definitely be a long entry; feel free to skim.
I arrived at Ebony’s office around 9:30 in the morning. Jane made some brief preparations to leave and then we were off. Jane was a loan officer for Ebony and worked here out of the main...Continue Reading >>
A good friend of mine at college who is currently spending the summer in Cairo emailed me a comment in response my post about Mariah Carey being everywhere that I thought was really insightful and well-said and deserved to be shared:
“I really have to agree with you about how ridiculously pervasive American sh*t is everywhere—-even in the Middle East, which is supposedly the most anti-American place ever, basically every bilboard is about some American company…I just went to Alexandria and there was this one block where there was a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, LIttle Ceaser’s, KFC and...Continue Reading >>
I start going out in to the field to meet entrepreneurs tomorrow, so I promise to have more Kiva-related info on here soon. In the meantime, here’s some more about the touristy aspects of my time here…
I still don’t have my luggage. It seems that a lot of people had their bags lost on British Airways because their Nairobi airport lost bags telephone # is always busy or no one picks up. It’s a bit frustrating to be honest. I had to go buy some clothes from a store called Wool Matt, which I’m pretty sure is a thinly veiled imitation of Wal Mart. You can buy anything you need...Continue Reading >>
I arrived in Kenya on Wednesday evening (two nights ago) after a long flight from New York via London. Because of weather delays from New York, I had to literally run the length of Heathrow Airport just to catch my connecting flight to Nairobi. Apparently my bags didn’t move that fast. The British Airways reps assure me that the bags will be coming hopefully within the next day or two. In the meantime it’s been amusing to see how long I can stretch the small supply of clothing and toiletries that fit in to my carry-on luggage.
I was met at the airport by Nancy, who is the unit...Continue Reading >>
My name is Max Schoening, and I’ll be a Kiva Fellow in Malaba, western Kenya for the next six weeks. I’m part of a team of six students from Brown University that will be posting updates onto Kiva.org, as well as making a short movie about Kiva to show at the Clinton Global Initiative Summit this fall. Along with being Kiva Fellows, we are also the Brown chapter of a national organization called Students of the World. Students of the World (www.studentsoftheworld.org) is an organization with a mission to send college students to developing countries in order to document creative...Continue Reading >>