Aug 11, 2008 GT Guatemala


Two weeks ago FAPE launched a new program. After months of fighting bureaucracy, they finally got permission to give loans to female prisoners at the Centro Preventivo de Rehabilitación Santa Teresa (loosely translated, the Santa Teresa Prevention Center for Rehabilitation). The program was kicked off with a weeklong training called ISUN (Inicie su...

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Aug 11, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina


There is a lot of talk here and elsewhere as to whether or not microfinance (or any kind of aid for that matter) works.  Is what anyone says the truth or just perceptions and opinions?   It would be nice to have a definite answer, but it always seems a little more complicated than that. 



In my past experience working with volunteers and in nonprofits, I noticed how this lack of certainty over results can trigger...

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Aug 7, 2008 VN Vietnam

Beep! Beep beep beep! This is the natural sound of the habitat that is downtown Hanoi. There is an endless cacophony of horns – sometimes short and squeaky, other times longer and more insistent. There is no aggression intended – the horn is to warn the pedestrian or cyclist ahead that their motorbike ( more of a scooter really ) or car is bearing down on you and that you should not pick this moment to change direction. Driving in Hanoi should be classified as an extreme sport. Insert small confession – I have actually ridden as a...

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Aug 5, 2008 MZ Mozambique

A week ago, Regina Jose, Hluvuku’s client in Mozambique, received a brand new wheelchair to replace her broken one!!! KivaFriends donated it, and with the help of many people it was bought, transported from South Africa to Mozambique and delivered to her!!

Regina was so happy with her new wheelchair that she even cried! Now she will be able to resume her activities and will go to church on Sundays, something she described as her favorite activity. As I wrote in my last blog, it took just over one month since my first journal about Regina to get all this done. One of Regina’s lenders...

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Aug 5, 2008 TZ Tanzania

I never thought I would move to Tanzania to learn about Bengali culture, but then again I never thought I’d eat octopus for dinner so sometimes one must adjust expectations.  How have I happened to find myself sitting in an office shared by one Bengali woman, one Tanzanian woman, and me?  Such is life at BRAC Tanzania’s country office. 

BRAC Tanzania is one of the international legs of the Bengali NGO BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee).  Started in 1972, BRAC has grown to be the largest NGO in the world and employs over...

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Aug 4, 2008 CM Cameroon

On Friday, three members of the GHAPE office went to the funeral of one of our members, Bih Josopha. She was 48 years old and left eight children behind, four of whom are under the age of 14. The daughter had come to the office to inform us of her passing on Thursday, immediately after it occurred, and we decided which office members would go and pay dues. For GHAPE members, attendance at a fellow member’s funeral is compulsory, punishable by a fine. Some of the members were a little discontented when the burial was

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Aug 1, 2008 GT Guatemala

As my fellowship continues to fly by, I’ve had many, many positive experiences, and really only one low point, which I’ll get to after reporting a little on my latest work. I’ve now been at FAPE for two weeks and it’s been fascinating to see the similarities and differences between the two organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with. FAPE is a much smaller organization than Friendship Bridge and FB has access to many more resources, as they are based out of Colorado and therefore have various sources of U.S. support. FAPE is a...

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Aug 1, 2008 GT Guatemala

My First week in Guatemala and already very impressed! Don’t know where to start because it seems I am here already a while when counting the many adventures I already had!

My long flight from Europe through several US places brought me to Guatemala City in the evening. I was picked up from the airport by a very friendly man called Viktor who brought this exhausted woman to the hostel for me a lovely horizontal rest after being wake 24 hours! The next day the mini-van brought me to Antigua where I had 2 hours to wonder around before leaving to Panajachel. Antigua is a beautiful...

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Aug 1, 2008 KE Kenya

This past week Opportunity International-Wedco was able to finally report its loan repayments on Kiva and to its lenders (after pausing during the post-election crisis). Now I can jump into coordinating visits to do journal updates. Special thanks to the sick excel skills of my MPM, Ben Elberger.

I wanted to share a quick funny story from my travels. Many of the fellows have mentioned the various forms of transportation that we get to take around our locations. In Kenya, matatu, tuk-tuk, and boda-boda’s are the transportation staples. Last week I was heading home after leaving...

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Jul 31, 2008 NG Nigeria

There are a number of things here in Nigeria that are just different enough to bring laughter and puzzlement to my days…

“Oyibo” – Wherever I go, people call out “Oyibo.”  Naturally, I initially thought this meant “hello” or served as some sort of greeting.  I suppose it is a greeting of sorts, but literally means “white person.”  It isn’t an insult, just a way to get my attention and a wave.  Generally oyibos remain in Lagos, the business capital, or Port Harcourt, where the oil flows.  I’ve seen two other oyibos in my first month here in Benin City – not many.  I’m certainly an...

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