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...
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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...
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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...
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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 >>


Sep 10, 2013 PH Philippines

As my time in the Philippines draws to a close, I want to take some time to reflect on the places I have had the opportunity to visit. I would like to preface this post by saying that during the week, I was actually working - I promise. However, those 48 hours in between Friday and Monday were just enough time to head out to the beach, scale a volcano, practice my karaoke, or visit nearby historical sites. The common question seems to be "which place was your favorite"....well, that question is rather impossible to answer without two or three caveats, so the below list of 'must-dos'...

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Aug 30, 2013 CR Costa Rica, GO Global Update

Journaling. Is it a lost art or a relic of times past that has rightfully disappeared in a world of easy electronic fixes for expression? Journals are deeply private things, they represent ourselves poured out in ink. Our moods can be seen in every penstroke, our thoughts in every malformed word. We don't edit ourselves in journals. Looking back, our writing seems disjointed and without the structure or social awareness that is expected from a polished status update. Journals are the only places, besides our minds, where our true selves live....

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Aug 26, 2013 CR Costa Rica, SV El Salvador, GO Global Update, GT Guatemala, HN Honduras

This August, I completed 7 months on the road in Central America with Kiva!  I had once ignorantly assumed homogeneity among Central American countries, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover differences in each city, region, and country that I have visited. From climate, to cuisine, to culture, to colloquialisms, I found myself amazed at the variety and distinctions.  So, here are 5 lessons learned and my Top Ten Favorites from my time in the Central America. Lesson 1: The “Stay at Home” mom doesn’t exist After visiting hundreds of Kiva... Continue Reading >>


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