On the plane to Kigali for my Kiva Fellowship at Urwego Opportunity International, I realise that my knowledge of Rwanda, the country of a thousand hills, is limited to the famous mountain gorillas and the tragic history of genocide in 1994.
I have little idea of what the people and the country will be like. Wary of the fact that everyone over 19 years old must have a significant story, I approach the city and its people with cautious optimism. I should not have been worried. Everywhere I go, gracious, smiling and incredibly polite people...
Stories tagged with Africa
By Kiva Fellows | KF19 | All Over the World
A Happy Holidays to the Kiva family everywhere! May your celebrations be filled with foods and flavor, smiling faces, natural beauty, light and memories… here are some gifts from around the world courtesy of the Kiva Fellows 19th class:On the Twelve Days of Christmas my Kiva Fellow gave to me…
Day 1: A Turtle Heading Out to...Continue Reading >>
By Holly Sarkissian, KF 19, Benin & Togo
In Benin, New Year’s Eve is a BIG HOLIDAY. I recently spoke with two Kiva borrowers about their plans to celebrate. Meet Flaure:
Flaure is currently saving money to celebrate the New Year. She plans to buy pagne (or colorful fabric) to make a new outfit for each member of the family. She will also celebrate by cooking a special meal and dancing with her friends and family.
Meet Romance of the Dieu Est Grand Group (God is Big Group):
Romance is looking forward to celebrating...Continue Reading >>
Laura Sellmansberger | KF19 | Uganda
Roughly 1.6 billion people in the world do not have access to reliable electricity. Lack of power is a complex issue that results in countless other problems, and it is both a cause and an effect of unremitting poverty. Without light, children are unable to do their homework and study. Midwives must perform deliveries in the dark. Children, especially girls, often spend hours a day collecting firewood to be used for light and heat instead of going to school. Mothers are forced to cook with kerosene,...Continue Reading >>
As you might have heard many times before, meeting with the borrowers is the most rewarding part of the fellowship. It’s always such a great feeling to meet the Kiva borrowers in person and see that the loans are actually making a big difference in their lives. When you work with Kiva Zip you also get the opportunity to meet our trustees, which are fantastic organizations and individuals that all have in common that they want to help low-income entrepreneurs to create a better life for themselves and their families.
During last week’s field visit, me and my colleagues Shy and Alyza...Continue Reading >>
Laura Sellmansberger | KF19 | Uganda
Uganda offers its visitors a wide variety of foods to sample, but many would agree that the most delicious of these is the rolex. What is a rolex, you ask? I have heard many people describe the Ugandan rolex as something similar to the “breakfast burrito,” a peculiar food item that can be found at a number of American fast food chains. For purposes of basic mental imagery, this description may not be too far off; however, I personally believe that this comparison fails to give the rolex the credit that it deserves. That...Continue Reading >>
Senegalese cellphone subscribers 2000: Senegalese cellphone subscribers 2011:
Approximately 250,000 Approximately 9.3 million
The numbers are jarring, and the widespread presence of cellphones is palpable.
Before coming to Senegal, a friend encouraged me to keep an eye out for the radical, drastic, and constant ...Continue Reading >>
This Thanksgiving I may not be eating turkey and pumpkin pie, but I have many reasons to be thankful. I am grateful to work with two Kiva Partners in Togo and Benin who go above and beyond to provide services to poor clients who previously had no access to formal credit.
Reaching the Poorest of the Poor...Continue Reading >>
Mame Aly Laye had an anchoring presence and glow that pulled me in.
I typically acknowledge the clients stopping by whichever branch I’m working at with a head nod, a soft smile, and a swift return of my gaze back down to whichever activity I’m absorbed in. It’s my imperfect way of acknowledging that we both have busy days we must carry on with.
There was something different about Mame. The moment I spotted him walking...
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 >>