Jan 20, 2009 UG Uganda

This is a blog from Grace Natoolo, the Kiva Coordinator at PEARL Microfinance, as part of an occasional series on reflections from the field. Grace worked most recently with KF6 Bill Brick to continue to grow PEARL’s partnership with Kiva:

WORKING WITH A KIVA FELLOW

Working as a Kiva coordinator for a Microfinance Institution is an interesting and fulfilling obligation especially for one that has the interest and capacity to do so. In most cases we get the chance to do what we are supposed to do, interact with clients, take photos, write stories, and make these...

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Jan 14, 2009 DO Dominican Republic

Sweet December

My Dominican co-workers wore sweaters to work when temperature fell below 70 degrees in December. “Winter is cold here,” friends and employees told me. While I stuck to my t-shirts in the day, I did cut short my nightly unheated showers.

Mujeres Necesitades outside the Hato Mayor office: these bank members finished a loan in December and took out another, expecting that December would be a better month for sales. Numerous community banks...

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Jan 12, 2009 KE Kenya

“Idhi tich?” Nelson, my compound’s askari (guard), asked as I made my way to the gate. “Adhi tich!” I replied with complete enthusiasm, slightly mangling the Dholuo phrase, but hoping that maybe, just maybe, today I had said it well enough to be understood.

With an encouraging, patient smile, Nelson had me repeat the phrase that explained I was going to work until it was intelligible to him, if not anyone else who might have to suffer the misfortune of hearing my rather hopeless, though enthusiastic, attempts to speak Dholuo.

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Jan 11, 2009 HN Honduras

Day in and day out I swerve through Honduran shanty towns, isolated hovels, over exquisite landscapes and into ditches. I can’t open my eyes wide enough, and at the end of everyday I have more questions than the day before. The questions are complex and every one leads me down a rabbit hole. Its starts like this: To begin with, how do we really measure poverty here in Honduras? And once I identify the poor, I wonder, does Prisma reach the poorest of the poor? If not, is it enough that they reach the middle poor, and by virtue of growing small business opportunity, they grow opportunities...

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Jan 10, 2009 TZ Tanzania

My life has turned into a bunch of “lasts.”  My last time seeing friends I have made here, my last time gathering around the table with what has become my family, my last time going to my favorite market where they know me by name, my last time swimming in the warm and oh-so-blue Indian Ocean, my last time laughing with others about my attempt to speak and understand kiswahili, my last time holding on for dear life on a daladala (city bus), my last time climbing those 3 flights of stairs to the whitewashed office that is SELFINA (the partner Mico-Finance...

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Jan 7, 2009 TG Togo

Three years ago, the streets I drive on today in downtown Lomé were ablaze with burning tires and barricades, as civilians protested the contested results of the presidential election. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the longest ruling leader in Africa (second in the world only to Fidel Castro) had died on February 5, 2005. Two months later, an election pronounced his son, Faure Gnassingbé, the winner, defeating an opposition coalition of six parties.

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Jan 7, 2009 KH Cambodia

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve explained the concept behind Kiva to family, friends, and people I’ve met along the way, but each time my explanation is slightly different.

This is because Kiva is really quite difficult to explain. It incorporates frightfully odd concepts such as microfinance, acronyms such as MFIs, faux acronyms (“what does K.I.V.A. stand for anyhow?”), frequently confused verbs “lend” and “borrow”, crossovers between banking and charity, international flows of money, interest and yet no...

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Jan 4, 2009 AZ Azerbaijan

Why is it that when you’re just starting a job, you always introduce yourself to the CEO with spinach in your teeth, or rip your pants pocket, or spill toner on your shirt?

My finest hour was when I was starting on the copy desk at a newspaper, trying to make a good impression as a head-down, able worker, and the copy chief gave me a big story. I had my take-out dinner on my desk. As I stared intently at the screen, trying to be the model of a journalist who’s so totally engrossed in the task at hand he can’t even be bothered to look at his food, I gave my Orangina...

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Dec 26, 2008 KH Cambodia

It is the last day at HKL today and I’m heading back to my country-Japan. So I am reviewing what I did in Cambodia. Maybe my contribution is a little different from other fellows due to different background-I’m from Asia.

The reason I became Kiva fellow is to learn Kiva and micro finance and then try to localize Kiva since language barrier is very high for Japanese people unfortunately. Many of my friends don’t loan even if they are interested in Kiva.

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Dec 23, 2008 BJ Benin

Abozu with Abby and I of "Why I can't give Abozu my Camera" blog fame

I spent the weekend in Lomé, Togo with Abby Gray, another Kiva fellow at WAGES. Wages is basically like Alide in a few years: larger, and with a deeper relationship with Kiva. To get to Togo, I had to cross the border from Benin to Togo alone, which was just a little bit more harrowing and stressful than was necessary between two small, relatively stable countries. I decided to go to Togo on...

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