Aaron Kaye

Fellows Blog Posts by Aaron Kaye

Jul 16, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

I’ve been living in Sierra Leone for the past couple months and have never in my conversations with Sierra Leoneans broached the subject of the fighting and civilian atrocities that shook the country during the late 90s.  I discussed the topic only when friends or colleagues here brought it up.  Was this the right approach, or should I have discussed the topic, heeding US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ advice that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”?

The people of Sierra Leone...

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Jul 2, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a dangerous place to drive.  But this isn’t for lack of communication on the part of the drivers.  The chaotic streets of Sierra Leone’s captial, Freetown, are constantly buzzing with honking taxi horns and motorbike horns.

I had always thought that honking was a universal language — kind of like love or music or football/soccer.  It turns out I was totally wrong.  There is so much to learn about honking and I’ve been thoroughly educated since arriving in Freetown.  At this point you...

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Jun 18, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

What comes to mind when you think of Sierra Leone?  Many people know virtually nothing about the country or perhaps might be able to point to Blood Diamond, the recent film that dramatized the horrible fighting that shook the country in the last decade.  Having lived in Freetown, the capital, for a couple months, a variety of different images come to mind for me.  One of the most beautiful is the country’s stunning beaches and the great people I’ve met there.

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Jun 4, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

In some workplaces in the west, “Casual Fridays” are a way for office workers to dress down a bit from more formal dress codes.  In Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, office workers have their own version of alternative dress once a week: African Fridays.

Cloth samples in Freetown

Each Friday many office workers here trade in the...

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May 14, 2010 SL Sierra Leone

By Aaron Kaye, Kiva Fellow, Sierra Leone

In Kenya they’re known as matatu.  In Turkey they are referred to as dolmus.  Here in Sierra Leone they’re poda poda.  Whatever they’re called in whatever place you’ve traveled or lived, the simple minibus represents an effective, if crowded means of basic urban transport.  Additionally, these vehicles represent an instance of private enterprise performing a role that’s often filled by municipal governments in more developed countries.  And in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, minibus...

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