Sep 18, 2008 KE Kenya

Jambo everyone! Or, to prove that I’m “in the know”, Mambo!

Okay, so these may be the only two words I know in Swahili at this point, but I am expecting/hoping that my vocabulary will exponentially increase in the next 13 weeks. At this moment, I am sitting among 29 other, and infinitely more interesting than I, future Fellows in a training session at Kiva headquarters. Here at the Kiva office we have been overeating and learning how to be the very best Fellows we can be (which of course includes learning how to post on this blog!).

This initial post is...

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Sep 18, 2008

I’m here at Kiva HQ, training as part of KF6, or Kiva fellows class 6.  Short take: there is an amazing amount to learn before we go into the field, and these Kiva people — staff, volunteers — are amazing.

We’re learning about Kiva, the organization, how it came to be and where it’s going.   We’ve been taught more about microfinance, and how Kiva partners with and works to strengthen the institutions in the field that actually do the lending.  We’re getting a crash course in the technologies that help make this all happen.  And we’re...

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Sep 18, 2008 TJ Tajikistan

Personally, I really enjoy preparing for a big trip to some far away place.  There are so many unknowns: what will I see, who will I meet, what will I eat, and what type of terrifying illness will I suffer?  But preparing for three months in Tajikistan has been a bit different.

With only a little more than two weeks until my departure, I still have a some pretty important items to secure – like a visa and some very very warm clothing.  I am cramming to learn some essential Russian and Tajiki phrases so that I can actually get myself from the airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to...

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Sep 18, 2008 AZ Azerbaijan

I’m the only fellow headed to Azerbaijan from Kiva Fellows 6, so I’m pretty excited to bring word of this fascinating region to those of you who make Kiva such a success. I’ll be visiting each of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions in the region to assist them in any way I can, support Kiva, journal and train the MFIs on new software systems being put into place.

I’ve never been to the Caucasus. It’s largely a blank slate to me. What the Lonely Planet, my Azeri taxi driver last night and previous Kiva Fellows in the area, such as Jonathan...

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Sep 18, 2008 UG Uganda

Everyone is this is room is an experienced traveler.  Collectively, we’ve ventured to the farthest corners of the globe.  Most have spent time in the developing world.  Yet, the excitement level is off the charts as we prepare for our adventures.  I’m humbled by the extraordinary company I find myself so privileged to among.  The learning challenge surpasses my expectations; there’s so much to learn!  This the type of volunteer challenge I’ve been seeking.  One that satisfies a profound social mission while providing a meaningful life expereince and a rare...

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Sep 18, 2008

I am Eviatar Frankel, the new Kiva Fellow for Samoa. Starting in October, I will be spending three months working with South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), the MFI there. Afterward, I will probably be going to Vietnam for another three months, but we’re working on that. Currently, I am in San Francisco for a week long training for all the fellows in this sixth class. It’s been a great experience so far- learning all about microfinance and Kiva, meeting some great people, and having some good fun. The amount of information is empowering, but the complexity can be...

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Sep 18, 2008

My name is Cassie DeFillipo, and I am one of the new Kiva Fellows currently training in San Francisco and preparing to head out into the field to serve as a liason for Kiva and its microfinance institutions in Africa. I will be spending my first three months at CRAN (Christian Rural Aid Network) on the coast of Ghana about an hour west of its capital city and then three months working with Sinapi Aba Trust in Kumasi, Ghana’s cultural capital where many of its most famous products come from. After that, I will be sent somewhere else in Africa–pretty much wherever Kiva needs me....

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Sep 18, 2008 VN Vietnam

For someone who is non-technical, blogging is a whole new adventure. So I’ll keep this short just to see if I can post this blog. Ciao.

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Sep 18, 2008 TJ Tajikistan

I’ve been immersed in the mission this week – San Francisco’s Mission district.  Block after colorful block surrounds Kiva’s office at 18th and Folsom where we’ve been gathered just prior to our departures throughout the world.  And while you can find virtually any type of cuisine in the area – from Salvadoran to Vietnamese to Senegalese – it’s really all about the burritos.  Last night’s sampling was a bulging toasty tortilla jammed with spicy al pastor courtesy of El Farolito on 24th and Mission.  Taqueria Cancun is just a short 5...

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Sep 18, 2008 ID Indonesia

I will now share my knowledge and potentially erroneous information about Bali, Indonesia:

  • My principal mode of transportation, motor bike, will significantly increase my chances of bodily harm and death
  • The start of the rainy season is October, which neatly coincides with my start date
  • Bali has world-class banana pancakes

This is all important because I am going to be volunteering for Kiva’s field partner in Bali, the DINARI Foundation.  I will be doing my best to interview borrowers, help DINARI comply with Kiva’s procedures and...

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