I fell in love today. It started out as an innocent crush, evolved into a dangerous infatuation, and today turned into full-blown, head-over-heels in love…with Guatemala, that is! What an amazing place this is. I’ve spent quite a bit of time traveling throughout Latin America, but I’ve never been so taken by a place and its people. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has swept me off my feet, but it’s some wonderful combination of the breathtaking countryside, the extreme warmth of the people, the crazy packed buses and terrible roads, the conversations...Continue Reading >>
When I tell people that I am heading to Sierra Leone for the summer to do microfinance I usually end up getting the following three questions: 1) Aren’t they killing each other over there? 2) Did you choose Sierra Leone? 3) Are you crazy?
So I thought I’d kick off my first post to the Fellows Blog by answering those questions. And to keep you on your toes, I’ll start with question 2, follow that with question 1, and then let you decide for yourself on question 3. Oh...Continue Reading >>
When I set out to write this, I thought it would be important to give some background on Bosnia and Herzegovina in this first blog. As I tried to think of intros to sum up the situation in Bosnia, no quote or cliché seemed to fit. And maybe I am not articulate enough (probably) or wise enough (definitely) to make sense of it. So instead of pretending to understand what I clearly don’t, I’ll just write what I’ve learned so far.
Most of the history I read to prepare...Continue Reading >>
So much has happened since I last wrote that I feel it is necessary to cover three topics in this entry. For my friends who have inquired about Kampala, I wanted to speak more about the city. In addition, I have officially started work and have been in the field on several occasions, piquing my interest and desire to share information on both the loan officers at MCDT and the amazing women I have met. Please bear with me…
Kampala has completely surprised me. I realize now that unlike my last trip to East Africa, I was not mentally, emotionally or...Continue Reading >>
I wonder if Jessica and Matt Flannery, Kiva co-founders, meant to create a Microfinance Fund to help local entrepreneurs in developing countries have money to grow or help their business. When I decided to join Kiva as a Kiva fellow I told my friends I was going to work for a Microfinance Fund. Last week I understood I was completely wrong. Kiva is a global community, not a microfinance fund based on small individual lending.
The other Friday, June 6th 08, I posted a journal about a client I visited the previous day. Nothing special, that...Continue Reading >>
After spending my first few nights in Badung, Bali at a local hotel, Mr. Alit, the Executive Director for DINARI (Kiva’s MFI partner in Bali), invited me to stay in his guest room. I happily accepted and now enjoy sharing meals with Mr. Alit, along with his two children, Ayu and Jeremy, his very kind wife, Nenny, and their assistant, Neni.
For my first weekend in Badung, I was invited by my coworker at DINARI and new friend, Ferdinand, to join him on a trek to...Continue Reading >>
So after three nights in Bangkok and two nights in the Bali surf town of Kuta, I was picked up yesterday by Ferdinand, who I will be working with side by side at DINARI, the microfinance institution (“MFI”) here in Bali that Kiva has partnered with. Ferdinand drove me to Sempidi, which is 20 km’s inland and north of Kuta (and about 20 degrees hotter), where I met many of the 30+ employees at the DINARI headquarters. DINARI also has a second branch in West Bali (Melaya) and is planning to open two more branches in the coming year.... Continue Reading >>
So I had this crazy experience in Phnom Penh yesterday. I saw a sign for a $7 massage. Seven dollars!!! No way! Turns out the experience was a crazy experience in which this tiny Khmer woman twisted and contorted my—
Oh, blast. Gary already told this story. I guess I’ll have to come up with something else….
My one week in Phnom...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been working in Mozambique with Hluvuku-Adsema for the past 3 months now and I’m not even close to adapted. I must have visited more than 100 clients so far, and sometimes it is still quite hard to face reality. As a professional in the field I’m supposed to leave my emotions aside, right? Why is it so hard? Am I a bad “field employee” because I feel or am I just hurting myself?
I remember when my brother started to operate while in Medical University. My aunt, a doctor herself, told him the hardest part of being a doctor was to put...Continue Reading >>
While I didn’t quite get it together enough in the midst of scrambling to get ready to go to write a pre-departure blog, here’s a go at some initial impressions and aspirations for my fellowship. I’ve been in Guatemala a little over 48 hours, and one of the things I’ve been most struck with is how friendly people are here. As with any with any adventure into a new place, there’s a lot of uncertainty. And as I’ve asked for directions, inquired about how to say this or that, and questioned various aspects of how things are done around here, I’ve...Continue Reading >>