Celeste Gonda

Celeste has had a longtime interest in international travel and development, and has lived in Italy, Argentina and Nicaragua. She has spent the last year volunteering for several non-profits, including as an intern at Kiva HQ and as a Vittana Fellow conducting an impact assessment of their student loans in Nicaragua. She is thrilled to rejoin the Kiva team as a fellow in Colombia. Celeste grew up on an island near Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in International Studies.

Fellows Blog Posts by Celeste Gonda

Jan 2, 2014 CO Colombia

Christmas away from home is bittersweet. As much as I enjoy experiencing new holiday traditions in a foreign country (I was pleased to note that Colombia has many more Christmas lights and fewer jingles), I found myself missing home for the first time as a Kiva Fellow. So, naturally, my immediate reaction was to travel. Big festival in the “Salsa Capital of the World”? Yes, please. And so on Christmas Eve, I hopped on an 11-hour bus ride to Cali.  Cali is the third largest city in Colombia; it is located in the southwestern region of the country... Continue Reading >>

Oct 18, 2013 CO Colombia

When Medellin beat New York and Tel Aviv this year for Wall Street Journal’s “Innovative City of the Year”, news articles reminded everyone of the long way Medellin has come from its dark past as the playground for Pablo Escobar’s drug trade and violent crimes. While this is true, Medellin’s forward thinking spirit should become Medellin's defining characteristic. Medellin has transformed into a city with low crime rates, delicious tap water, a free bike sharing system, and a new metro system. All of this was accomplished by focusing on the future rather than dwelling too much in the past.... Continue Reading >>