Nov 23, 2007 MZ Mozambique

First, I want to apologize for not blogging earlier! I’ve had some problems with my account, but now that I’m able to write, I have absolutely no idea where to begin… It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for about two months already and only have one more to go. To quickly introduce myself, my name is Charline Yim and I’m currently a Kiva Fellow in Mozambique, working for Kiva´s partner microfinance institution Fundo de Desenvolvimento da Muhler (FDM). I don’t know how exactly to explain what an incredible, crazy experience this has been, but I’ll try my best....

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Nov 18, 2007 PE Peru

Wow, what to say…

I’ve been in Peru now about a month and a half and have had a collection of experiences reflecting every aspect between the poles of ‘what am I doing here?!’ and ‘awe-inspiring beauty’… here are some thoughts I’ve gathered along the way…

Sitting in the idle combi, waiting for it to fill so we can get a move on to Lampa. Been here for about 15 minutes and so far no new passengers; I’m guessing we need at least 4 more until they’ll consider it worth the trip. The señora sits on the street corner, nursing her small child, calling out ‘A Lampa Lampa Lampa’,...

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Nov 18, 2007 VN Vietnam

Hi everyone.  I’m Felix, a Kiva fellow in Vietnam.  I am and have been working with Mekong Plus since late August.  I apologize for not blogging earlier.  My schedule was much different from what I expected, but I will be making up those blogs in the next few weeks with reflections on what has happened these past 3 months.

I guess for my first blog EVER, I’d like to share a story about why microlending has greater potential for success rather than donations.  After some 200 or some odd interviews, I had some questions and concerns about microlending.  Many of the borrowers I visited...

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Nov 16, 2007 KH Cambodia

Phnom Penh 

(Had a little trouble getting my account activated.  This post is from Oct. 18th.)  We now have two days of field visits under our belts.  The long-awaited quest to gather information has yielded notepad pages full of facts.  There is no question we’re dealing with people holding onto the lower rungs of the economic ladder.  Many loan recipients have no electricity.  If they do, they often can’t afford to use it.  Many get their water either from the Mekong in the dry season or collect rain in the monsoon. ...

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Nov 14, 2007 GH Ghana

I’ve been in Ghana for 3 months now. I thought my culture shock stages were over after the tro-tro (mini-van bus) dodging, fou-fou (sticky plantains mixed with cassava) eating, sun burning, marriage proposing, etc etc…, but I was wrong.Last week I started my Kiva internship, which involved me moving from Cape Coast to Sinapi’s head office in Kumasi. When I stepped off of the jammed packed tro-tro and into Kumasi, I thought I was stepping off of a plane and into a different country. The hustle and bustle of Kumasi is a different beast. The goats and chickens don’t...

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Nov 10, 2007 GT Guatemala

We’re back in the US now, but Nancy and I thought you’d like to see our little book. We were so taken with the wonderful women of Guatemala and their inspiring stories that we compiled the stories and pictures into a little book. It’s only 40 pages, not much of a book, but it does a pretty decent job of capturing what’s really happening with Friendship Bridge and Kiva.

The book is a free pdf download that you can read on your computer (or print out if you want).

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Nov 8, 2007 WS Samoa

Every year, SPBD holds an event to celebrate its clients. An award ceremony is usually held to recognize exceptional members among the ladies who participate in the loan program. This year’s event was held this past Saturday, and it proved to be the grandest celebration to date. For the first time ever, a parade was organized to march down the main road of Apia, featuring over one thousand of SPBD’s clients. The boisterous women arrived in the early morning and, decked out in matching uniforms according to their borrowing centres, sang and danced their way to the starting...

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Oct 14, 2007 UG Uganda

My husband, Taylor and I have had an exciting and challenging first few weeks as we meet new people, learn about the culture, and try to navigate in a city of a million people, with 2 traffic lights total  Peter, LiA’s staff member was the first to show us around. I thought we would get at “taxi,” meaning a driver in front and us in the back, I soon discovered that “taxis” were called Matatus. For anyone who has experienced this form of transportation, they can understand the deer in the headlights look as I boarded a small mini-bus packed with people while the conductor yelled at me in...

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Oct 12, 2007 UG Uganda

It was not my intent to write so soon about another lending group, but I found a real gem in the Alinyikira Lending Group in the Village of Mutundwe, just on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda.

To get to Mutundwe, you have to go to Old Taxi Park in the center of Kampala. This could be a story in itself, but in brief, it consists of approximately 10 acres of land jammed with matatoos: converted Toyota vans capable of handling 14 passengers. They all are white and look exactly the same. Thousands of riders are constantly converging on the park as...

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Oct 8, 2007 WS Samoa

After tossing out some statistics on the poverty situation in Samoa in my first entry, I think I’m ready for a more personal take on the impact of impact of micro-credit and the overall economic situation in Samoa.

South Pacific Business Development is one of Kiva’s earliest partner microfinance institutions. With an entire staff of just 16 employees (including management), the institution covers over 2,000 active clients, whose loans total over $700,000. SPBD follows the original Grameen Bank model by administering its loans via borrowing groups. With very few exceptions, all of...

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