Mar 5, 2009 KE Kenya

Not every day as a Kiva Fellow is a good one. There are days when I wait for seven hours for a credit officer to be available to take me to the field to collect journal updates for only two clients. There are hours of intermittent internet in which I am able to load less than one page. There are the clients I meet about whom I would be inspired except that after doing the math I’m not convinced they’ve found a way to run their businesses with a net profit. Luckily, after more than 7 months of victories and setbacks, I think I’m in the black.

Small moments compensate for...

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Mar 4, 2009 PY Paraguay

In Caacupé they make chipa. This mellow Paraguayan town, ensconced between beautiful green hills and canyons, is known for the small, biscuit-shaped snack, which is made with mandioca flour and cheese. You can find plenty of chipa in Asunción as well, but here it grows on the shelves of every food stall and floats through the streets on the heads of

Basilica de Caacupé

hardworking saleswomen. A soft, porous piece of bread chipa is not. If you...

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Mar 4, 2009 KH Cambodia

On Monday I was able to meet with a few Kiva borrowers for the first time. I thought I had a good appreciation of both the huge physical barriers that Kiva is able to overcome and the strength that so many of the borrowers possess. I was wrong on both counts. Just going out and visiting 5 clients took all day and the individuals I was able to visit with were more inspiring than I ever could have imagined. I put together a short video in hopes to share some of that experience.

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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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