Jul 8, 2007 TZ Tanzania

I wish this was a story about an overnight flight to Kenya, but it’s not. I literally have red eyes.  It’s a bacterial infection of the eye which turns the whole eye red. The eye swells and it’s quite uncomfortable and there is a bunch of mucus that comes out of the eye. Yeah, it’s really gross.

I’ve seen many people around Dar with “red eyes” and my roommates warned me against shaking hands with people I meet because the disease is so contagious. They warned me to always, always wash my hands if I touched anyone. I’ve been following their advice...

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Jul 7, 2007 AZ Azerbaijan

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...

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Jul 5, 2007 GH Ghana

 

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....

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Jul 4, 2007 KE Kenya

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:

June 23:

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...

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Jul 2, 2007 KE Kenya

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...

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Jun 30, 2007 KE Kenya

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...

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Jun 30, 2007 TZ Tanzania

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...

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Jun 29, 2007 BO Bolivia

 

La Paz, Bolivia

Buenas!

Its been a dynamic 2 days, filled with meetings, client visits, presentations and lots of delicious mate de coca. Heres the update:

Wednesday

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...

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Jun 29, 2007 GH Ghana

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...

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Jun 27, 2007 HN Honduras

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...

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