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 >>
Stories from Kenya
Well I have been here for over a month now and have a little less than a month left. I can’t believe so much time has passed already. Next week I will be taking some time off from my Fellow duties to visit Tanzania with some family. Then I return to Nakuru for a week. After that I will travel to Eb-F branch offices in Mombasa and Nairobi.
So it’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s going to be easiest to go with the bullet/list format I went with in my last entry. It’ll be a mix of recapping certain days/events and just random thoughts/...Continue Reading >>
Continuing on from my last blog, I believe I was talking about my adventures last Wednesday, which would have been July 11th. Firstly, one thing I would like to discuss was my bus ride that morning. I waited for 45 minutes to get on a bus, because they were all full. So imagine my delight when FINALLY a bus let me on! I sat in the last row of the bus, and settled into the quick 10-minute journey to ANK. Upon reaching the hospital stop though, this seemingly smooth bus ride turned into a roller coaster at Disneyworld, as the bus was pulling through the bus stop I was being...Continue Reading >>
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 >>
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 >>