Mar 4, 2009 GT Guatemala

I am not exactly sure how the “department” (like one of our states) of Totonicapan fared during the so called“civil war” in Guatemala during the 1980’s and 1990’s when it is estimated over 200,000 indigenous people were murdered by the government. Entire villages and all their inhabitants were destroyed during this time of genocide in Guatemala. (It is not a subject I have felt comfortable broaching……yet). BUT, I can tell you that this department seems fiercely independent, cohesive and not easily intimidated. In my two weeks here, I have become familiar with two examples of the...

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Mar 3, 2009 CM Cameroon

Hello from Bamenda!!!

After about a two day transit adventure (NY to Paris (7hr), Paris to Douala (7hr), Douala to Bamenda (8 hr mini bus)), I arrived in Bamenda on Valentine’s Day, a day I thought I could avoid, but was proven incorrect!  I am working with GHAPE (Grounded & Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment) and everyone in the office is incredibly helpful and great to talk with.  However, while my time in Cameroon has been positive, I have hit a major roadblock: I brought my Macintosh with me abroad and the software for accessing the internet here is for...

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Mar 2, 2009 PH Philippines
By R

KISS is more than just one of the great bands of the last half century (if you disregard the ‘Unmasked’ era), it’s an acronym introduced to me by a grade school teacher which – unlike most of what I learned in school – has stuck with me through the years.  It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Whether it’s in areas of communication, design or organization, the KISS philosophy is sage advice.

I’m fortunate enough to have internet access in my apartment here in the Philippines and I had high hopes for networking my WiFi-enabled cell phone and...

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Mar 2, 2009 KH Cambodia

Kiva Happy Hour in Phnom Penh

I once heard that Kentucky Fried Chicken conducted a market survey on their brand and found that the words “Kentucky”, “Fried”, and “Chicken” each had negative psychological associations. Hence the change to the more deliciously ambiguous “KFC”.

If this is true, then “Kiva Happy Hour” must surely invoke feelings of warmth and joyous goodwill in most people. Take one fuzzy...

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Mar 2, 2009 NI Nicaragua

Nicaragua is taking the “Christmas in July” concept to a whole new level.  The famous (or infamous, depending on who you’re asking) first lady, Rosario Murillo, commissioned the placement of giant, ostentatious Christmas trees in each of the several rotondas (roundabouts) scattered throughout Managua. Placed there in October 2008, the trees have overstayed their welcome well into 2009. And Nicaraguenses can plan on enjoying these magnificent, lit trees against the horizon for at least the next several months. Murillo has ordained that every tree...

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Mar 2, 2009 PE Peru

Upon learning that I had been accepted as a Kiva Fellow and would be heading to Peru to work with a microfinance institution (MFI) on Kiva’s behalf, I had no idea that the organization with which I would be working would be much more than a bank that provides microloans.

Manuela Ramos is an organization that was founded in Peru in 1978 and is dedicated to the implementation of programs and projects that advance the rights of Peruvian women. They have more than ten offices throughout Peru and seven of those are operating with a microfinance program. Their programs include educating...

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Mar 2, 2009 PE Peru

Woman from Tarapoto selling fruit

It’s been a little more than a week since I arrived in Tarapoto, a burgeoning city in the Amazon Basin of Peru. I came to my placement with Manuela Ramos/CrediMUJER with an open mind but with a burning question: is there really a link between microfinance and women’s empowerment?

Manuela Ramos/CrediMUJER is an MFI that works exclusively with women borrowers in Peru. Besides...

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Mar 2, 2009 VN Vietnam

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In Vietnam, the beginning of spring is marked by a very large festival called the Tet Festival where the symbol of the Lunar New Year and spring awakening is the arrival of the blooming kumquat and peach trees. Unfortunately, I missed this festival by just a week or so before arriving in Hanoi. While I missed the actual Tet festival, the festivities do not stop that soon: every year for one or two months after Tet, Buddhist pilgrims (85% of...

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Mar 2, 2009 KH Cambodia

Banking conferences in and of themselves are really boring. I attended my share of them as a corporate banking analyst in New York City. Keynote speakers, break-out sessions, networking events, and trade shows all packed into two days of conference center bliss. The Cambodia National Banking Conference held in Phnom Penh February 19-20th was no exception to this formula, however, it was by far the most exciting and significant BORING banking conference I have ever attended.

My name is Katie Davis and I am a new Kiva Fellow (KF7...

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Mar 1, 2009 NI Nicaragua

You know you’re not in Kansas anymore when you receive the following message from the U.S. Embassy with respect to recent political protests:

“…the Embassy reminds American citizens that even political rallies intended to be peaceful can possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to exercise caution [when in public]…”

As I write this, there are celebratory fireworks (which sound more like bombs) going off in the sky over the city center. Each cacophonous boom jars me into thinking deeply about the reality of this land I currently call ‘home...

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