Fellows Blog Posts by Carlos

May 9, 2011 LR Liberia

by Carlos Cruz Montaño KF14, Liberia

Are you hungry and you have only one dollar for a snack? With an exchange rate around 72 Liberian Dollars (LRD) per US dollar, a buck will give you a chance to try several snacks that sell for 10LRD or less…

Click to view slideshow.

1. Two donuts will also cost you 5LRD each. Walking around the streets you can find ladies carrying clear buckets on their heads (check also David’s blog), there’s a good variety of snacks and food to be found in these buckets; donuts...

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Apr 27, 2011 LR Liberia

What do a woman, a priest, a diamond trader have in common with microfinance?

As a Kiva Fellow one has many roles like trainer, guest speaker, advisor and others but I never expected someone to think of me as a woman, a priest or a diamond trader… how did it happened?

Meeting a Microfinance Group in Monrovia

Walking through a small town I was happily greeted by many kids that were calling me Father – it sounded more like ‘fada’. I didn’t understand...

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Mar 1, 2011 GT Guatemala

The Difference Between Knowing & Understanding by Carlos Cruz Montano, KF14

Finished Collecting. Terminando de Cobrar.

One of my local friends came to me one day… “Mr. Montano I need to talk to you”. Later that day he told me he had to send money to his mother and had other expenses but payday which was still a few days away. We agreed on the terms, half with the current month’s pay and the other half with the following month’s pay; both at the end of the month...

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Jan 28, 2011 LR Liberia

By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF14, Liberia

Upon arriving to Liberia I started looking for a place to live, was just looking for a furnished apartment with nothing out of the ordinary… walked into a new building that was almost finished. The apartments included things like power 24/7, water, water heaters, bedroom set, TV, and a kitchen with gas stove, fridge and some cabinets… nothing out of the ordinary, right? Then I asked about the rent… how much? Three thousand dollars???

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Dec 12, 2010 PY Paraguay

By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF12, Paraguay

Want to know what is it like to work with a loan officer? Come on… join the ride for a day! Click to view slideshow. Should be an easy day, I planned to go with one of the loan officers, Nidia, to a workshop for two groups of women about planting greens and vegetables in their gardens. She is one of the graduates from the self-sufficient agricultural highschool (Escuela Agrícola San Francisco)  run also by Fundación Paraguaya where kids live in campus, go to class and do field work related to their coursework.

7am Branch manager is...

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Nov 5, 2010 PY Paraguay

Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF12 Paraguay

One of my favorite business talks is from Yvon Chouinard, the founder/owner of Patagonia, an outdoor clothing manufacturer. Patagonia has been very successful at innovating in the apparel industry but they did it by finding the way to do the right thing at all levels of their business.

As I work with Fundación Paraguaya, travel to branch offices, attend meetings and events one quote comes to mind from this talk: “leading and examined life where you have to question everything you do is a real pain in the ass, let me tell you”. In...

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Oct 10, 2010 PY Paraguay

By Carlos Cruz Montaño

Within the Americas Region, spanning from Chile in South America passing through the Caribbean and all the way to the United States, Kiva currently has 39 partner MFIs in 15 countries and about one third of all Kiva loans funded so far. Last Tuesday the Kiva Summit of the Americas took place, the Kiva team in charge of managing all these partnerships met with a group of representatives from some of these institutions for the third time in Montevideo, Uruguay. As a Kiva Fellow, this was a great opportunity to participate in the discussion of the...

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Sep 7, 2010 PY Paraguay

by Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF12, Paraguay Ikatú… si se puede!

Fundación Paraguaya (FP) ha sido socio de Kiva desde mediados del 2007 y ahora recauda alrededor de 200,000 dólares por mes en préstamos. Además de las microfinanzas, la Fundación tiene otras actividades y programas, uno de ellos es Ikatú que se enfoca en disminuir la pobreza. Este sábado pasado fue un día especial ya que por primera vez se realizó un evento para reunir a los cuatro grupos de mujeres que participan en este programa con el objetivo de compartir experiencias y conocimientos, ampliar las redes de...

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Apr 18, 2010 GT Guatemala

By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF10 Guatemala

Have you read cartoons before understanding what they really meant? Ignorance is bliss from Calvin & Hobbes is definitely one of those cartoons for me. I worked as a design engineer before and in many occasions I thought I was asking a yes/no question but it never turned out to be that simple. You have to approach problems knowing the basic principles, look carefully at the details, make decisions and learn from your mistakes. As an engineer, the product of my work was an object and I needed technical knowledge; as a Kiva Fellow, I work...

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Mar 19, 2010 GT Guatemala

By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF10, Guatemala

Going through borrower files I found finger prints in the signature line of many documents but didn’t think much about it until I went to the field to actually meet borrowers…

A very important task for a Kiva Fellow is to do Borrower Verification, this ensures that the people you lend money to are real persons that are actually taking loans as described in their profiles. To start this process I went to the borrower file which is very detailed; they include copies of personal ID, address (including a sketch of the house...

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