Yesterday was a rather typical day for me in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. I left my host family’s nice home and walked fifteen minutes to the nearest metro station. On the way to the metro station I passed new apartment buildings, food shops with locally-grown fruit displays, clothing stores with bright skirts hanging in the windows, street cats lolling in the sun, bored taxi drivers playing backgammon, and street vendors selling cell phone cards. I weaved through and dodged traffic when necessary, Frogger-style. $0.05, three metro stops, and...Continue Reading >>
We escaped to the country…to Grandma Rose’s.
Grandma Rose lives in Nsawam, which is at the foothills of the mountains, approximately a two hour drive from Accra, Ghana. Nsawam is “lush.” This tucked away small community oozes with vibrant, tropical vegetation everywhere I looked…a far cry from the sweating, concrete jungle of Accra. It reminded me of the gentle, climbing, misty foothills and rich vegetation of the Blue Mountains outside Kingston, Jamaica where I used to teach many years ago.
Grandma Rose is 83....Continue Reading >>
It’s been a while since my last entry and I have a few different momentsI want to cover, so I apologize in advance if the following is a little disjointed and meandering. (And for Russell, I apologize that I’ll most likely switch tenses several times in this entry.) I think the best way to cover the highlights of the past two weeks is list form:
James (Ebony Foundation’s director) arranged for me to see the KCB Safari Rally. Basically, it’s a year-long series off-road derbies, or as I like...Continue Reading >>
The other day I got to witness the excitement felt at PEMCI when a loan is filled on the Kiva web site. One of the loan officers had put a great deal of effort into writing a descriptive profile for Fred Wafula Lubisia, who sought a loan to purchase a motorbike. The loan was for 1,200 USD, which is a significant loan relative to what PEMCI usually offers. The next day, I was browsing Kiva.org, and saw that the entire loan had been filled, thanks to the collective contribution of 10 lenders. I let the loan officer know, and he was initially...Continue Reading >>
Before arriving in Malaba as a Kiva fellow, one of the assumptions I had about the businesses is that they would be entirely profit driven. Considering the economic situation that most of the clients here are living in, I could only imagine that people’s efforts would be entirely focused on making enough money to support their own family. I have met a few people who have shattered this misconception.
One of those people is Mark Ochubi, who has provided herbal medicine to over 500 clients in Malaba for the past three years. Mark trained at the School for Alternative Medicine in...Continue Reading >>
Imagine a world without Walgreens, Macy’s, Banana Republic, Nordstrom’s, Blockbuster, Ethan Allen, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Safeway or Whole Foods. Instead of driving to your favorite mall or grocery store to buy clothes, food or supplies from a salesperson working for a corporation, you walk down the dirt road to your local market to buy goods from a neighbor, friend or acquaintance. Instead of one-stop shopping, you stop at several different stores to pick up all the supplies you need, relishing each transaction by engaging in conversation and slowly passing over the bills and...Continue Reading >>
La Paz, Bolivia
Its been a dynamic 2 days, filled with meetings, client visits, presentations and lots of delicious mate de coca. Heres the update:
I sleep past my alarm and awake to the sounds of husting taxis sounding their horns outside my hotel window. Jumping up I throw on my dress suit and snag a cab downtown. Destination: FADES’ headquarter office. The largest MFI in Bolivia, FADES serves over 21,000 rural borrowers through individual lending at 84...Continue Reading >>
My name is Anne Sophie Breuning and i am a Kiva Fellow in Ghana. I have now been in Accra, Ghana for almost 72 hours and my jetlag is slowly wearing off. The air is hot and humid; the streets are crazy with no sidewalks, open sewers, a million honking cars, and street peddlers hawking everything from plastic spoons to Ghanaian soccer shirts. We are staying in the Osu district in the center of Accra at theMotel4.com – not to be confused with having any connection the internet since the hotel has no internet connection or website. Most places here are named God is Great, God is King and...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been hanging out with the Prisma staff for almost three weeks now. The moment I stepped off the plane, they made me feel right at home. They’ve been eager to take me out in the field to meet borrowers, and educate me on the intricacies of microfinance in Honduras. It’s hard to believe it’s only been three weeks.
I am based out of the main office in the Loma Linda Sur neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. However, Kiva clients are spread throughout Prisma’s five offices so I am traveling between all of them. In addition to Loma Linda Sur, there’s the Pedregal office which services...Continue Reading >>
Michelle from the Kiva Partnerships Team here, representing South America and the Kiva staff;) I’ve so enjoyed reading all of the fellows posts, and am excited to now add my own stories to the mix!!
I’ll be traveling on behalf of Kiva for the next 3 weeks through Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, with a brief (9 hour, but yep already have a meeting lined up!) stop in Argentina. I’ll be meeting with new and potential partners about Kiva, and will also be visiting two of our superstar MFIs that are already on the platform, IMPRO and Fundacion Paraguaya...Continue Reading >>