Compiled by Laurie Young, KF16, Indonesia
I know! We can’t believe it either! Our Kiva Fellowships, as the 16th class, have come to an end. So what’s in store for us once we return to our homes? Or perhaps, stay in the field for another fellowship? Read on for the next chapter in the lives of some of the 16th Class of Kiva Fellows Alumni.
I am returning to San Francisco after working around Latin America for the past year. Apparently, it’s time to go home and get ‘a real job’. I will be looking for work in social enterprise or impact investing. I will miss the ‘tranquilo’ pace of life here in Nicaragua. Its not often you get the privilege of calculating an operational cost analysis from the comfort of a hammock. I will also miss catching my coworkers at AFODENIC singing along to Spanish versions of classics like ‘Dust in the Wind’ and ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’ on Radio Amor. I am really glad I participated in the Kiva Fellows program. It was a real good time.
It is hard to believe my time in Central America is coming to an end, and that I have already started to say my good-byes. After almost 4 months in the region, I am forever changed by the people I’ve met in El Salvador and Costa Rica. The tenacity of both the staff I worked with and the clients I met, has ratified that in life you’ve got to find what you love, and don’t settle. With that in mind I’ve decided to continue my journey in the world of microfinance and social impact investing, while leaving behind my life as a consultant in the for-profit sector. Once I’m back in the States I will be spending time with family and friends, and hopefully moving out of New York City to wherever this new adventure takes me.
I am returning to a temperate winter in Tempe, AZ where I plan to enjoy the remainder of the NFL season, complete my dissertation, and (hopefully) defend in the spring of 2012. My goal after graduation is to find a career as a teaching professor of information systems and international business at an overseas university. I’m going to miss visits to the field with a camera around my neck surrounded by swarms of curious Cambodian children. Humiliating moment – getting schooled in volleyball by Cambodian men shorter than my wife.
Kim Strathearn, Maya Microfinance Enterprise , Turkey
My fellowship ended on 12/30/2011. I am remaining in Turkey and will immediately start substituting at my friend’s Turkish restaurant and cooking school while she takes her winter vacation in January and February. I will be helping to coordinate a university service learning program in January. I have enjoyed working with Maya staff, meeting Maya entrepreneurs, and learning about the challenges of microfinance in Turkey. I hope to continue with KF17, helping Maya move from pilot to active stage.
Most of my wonderful classmates in KF16 are wrapping up their fellowships and heading home for the holidays – but I’m still out here! I’m happy to say that I’m continuing on with KF17, so there’ll be a lot more Kiva in my future. My first placement was sort of a rollercoaster. I started out with six productive, truly eye-opening weeks at IMON International  in Tajikistan that reminded me just how badly this region needs help … but then I got caught in a web of post-Soviet visa bureaucracy and had trouble getting into Azerbaijan to continue my Kiva work. But I made it! I’ve spent the past month in Baku getting to know my new host MFIs, Aqroinvest Credit Union  and Komak Credit Union , and soon enough I’ll be starting work with Kiva’s newest field partner in Azerbaijan, VisionFund AzerCredit LLC . After that, I’m off to Kiev to finish up my Kiva Fellowship with HOPE Ukraine . Three countries, five field partners, and innumerable approaches to microfinance and poverty alleviation - what an incredible experience this has been!
Laurie Young, VisionFund Indonesia , Jakarta
I am returning to six months of grey skies and light rain in Seattle. I never thought I’d say this, but it may actually feel somewhat refreshing after the 90 degree weather I’ve been having in Jakarta for the past 4 months. I jump back into life as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers just in time for accounting ‘busy season’. I’m definitely going to miss spending afternoons with my Kiva Coordinator writing borrower profiles for kiva.org , usually while eating fried Indonesian snack foods! Although it’s sad to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people I’ve been working with at VFI and the clients that have welcomed me into their homes, I’m looking forward to spending time with family and friends during the Holidays.
Check back next week for Part 2 where we’ll feature some more Kiva Fellows alumni!