Oct 9, 2013 PH Philippines

9:00am Departure to Bayawan, Philippines


The first two days of shooting interviews with Kiva's successful borrowers can be summed up in one word: amazing. First days are always a bit tough with unexpected obstacles and snags here are there, but I think it was those obstacles and snags that made the first days all the more fulfilling. It was...

Continue Reading >>

Oct 7, 2013 GO Global Update

My personal mission statement: As a Kiva Media Fellow, my goal for this journey in Southeast Asia is to share the stories of Kiva borrowers to the world, through my eyes and my lens. I want to help people see how their contributions from around the world change the lives of so many.  

All packed up and ready to go! So long New Jersey
With only a few pieces of clothing and a ton of gear, I set out for a journey of a lifetime. The... Continue Reading >>

Oct 4, 2013 TZ Tanzania

One of my favorite weekend activities in New York City is to go out to eat with my husband and try new restaurants.  New York has some amazing food and a lot of unique restaurants to visit.  When I learned I would be going to Tanzania I was very excited to spend some time in East Africa.   I decided that while there I wanted to make sure and sample different local food.   So here I am, halfway across the world, ready for my food adventure to begin.  Will it be some strange bug or exotic fruit,  maybe a rare meat that is only known in this region, or... Continue Reading >>

Oct 2, 2013 IN India

Tea Stall Along the Ganges River
When I arrived at field partner BJS on the first day of my fellowship, I was warmly greeted by staff, then swiftly escorted into the CEO’s office. The first order of business? Tea. “How would you like your tea, madam? Black or with milk?” “Um, with milk, please. Thank you!” It arrived in a beautiful white china teacup decorated in gold. A special guest cup, to be sure. There I sat with a few staff members as we got to know each other over tea. I felt so proper and...
Continue Reading >>

Sep 29, 2013 GO Global Update

Moussaka, kufta and blinchika with meat
I am not a foodie, but if I stayed in Georgia long enough, I would be.  Georgian fruits and nuts are plentiful and delicious.  Georgian wine is known throughout the region.  The use of fresh herbs is subtle. One of the benefits of working at LLC Credo is lunch.  For several years, one of the staff members, Eva Shermadini, provided delicious lunches for staff.  She had a staff of 2 cooks who worked in her home and a driver who would deliver food to the... Continue Reading >>

Sep 27, 2013

REDUCING POVERTY BY CREATING OPPORTUNITY As part of my original application to become a Kiva Fellow I wrote in my motivation statement the following. “As a volunteer, I would look forward to working in the front lines, directly with the people whom Kiva wants to help. It would provide an opportunity for me to have a positive impact face to face rather than making loans in front of a computer.” This week that wish came true. I will share with you three stories from our field visits.
Tedi in red...
Continue Reading >>

Sep 27, 2013 KE Kenya

A Juhudi Kilimo Credit Officer using a tablet on a farm in Kenya's unpaved heartland.
Are tablets a practical solution to rural microfinance operations? This is the big question I am working to answer during my 4 months in beautiful Kenya.  This appears to be a simple question with an obvious answer. However, after traveling over 1000 kilometers in one week throughout urban and rural Kenya, I have learned about the obstacles that will make tabletizing Kiva partners more complicated.  Yet... Continue Reading >>

Sep 25, 2013 KE Kenya

As I sank into the plush seat on the overnight bus toward the Kenyan coast for the first time, I let out a sigh of relief. Nairobi, aptly dubbed “Nairobbery” by locals and expats for the high number of muggings, break-ins, and carjackings, was starting to wear me out.   “The coast is different,” my regular taxi driver had told me. “People aren’t as stressed out, and they enjoy life.”   It was true. Maybe it was the lingering humidity or the pristine beaches, but people sauntered through the streets in Mombasa as though to fill the senses with the salty air and the quiet buzz of the... Continue Reading >>

Sep 25, 2013 GO Global Update, VN Vietnam

Hanoi view from the roof top
Departed my family and friends in Ho Chi Minh, my flight arrived to Hanoi at noon, I could feel the heat and humidity even worse than Ho Chi Minh. A cab from airport to downtown Hanoi somehow eased the heat, it was a fixed price trip of 350.000VND (around $15). The host family was so nice, she reminded me of my señora in Salamanca, so welcoming and friendly. That weekend, she took me to her friend's house to make moon cakes. It was my first time experienced with making moon cake...
Continue Reading >>

Sep 24, 2013 MX Mexico

FIRST DAY The first day can mark a unique moment, good or bad, in people's lives.  The first day of school.  The first day as a parent or newly wed couple.  The first day of opening a new business.  Although it does not dictate the rest of the experience, the first day commands a space in the brain that will remain permanent.  Heck, I'm still having night sweats of my first day at a new school when I was younger.  They are the beginning to an experience that knows no bounds and constructs a path unbeknownst to the agent of change.... Continue Reading >>