Fellows Blog Posts by DaveMcMurtry

Mar 11, 2010 LR Liberia

My first thought upon arrival in Monrovia, Liberia, in August 2009 for my Kiva Fellowship was, “Wow, such colors and amazing stories!  I should make a movie for those who aren’t as lucky as I am to have this experience.”

So what you have here is just that: an attempt to bring everyone along with me on my amazing 3-month journey to understand, at the most basic-level, exactly how microfinance works and the social impact it has on both borrowers’ and lenders’ lives.  The toughest part was keeping it short, ultimately eliminating over 7 hours of footage,...

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Sep 16, 2009 LR Liberia

“Damn, I can’t believe I got malaria again!”

That’s what I was thinking last week when I recognized the symptoms: fatigue, nausea, headache, pain at the base of the spine and lower back. I flashed back to 1991 when I first got the disease in the Congo and spent 2 weeks on my back with IV needles in my arm to force fluids into my body. “I’m so thirsty I could die.”  Literally.

Apparently the high-voltage mosquito-blasting tennis racket I’ve been using didn’t manage to zap all the little bastards! So wondering what 2...

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Aug 31, 2009 LR Liberia

I was in a 3-hour bush taxi (8 people crammed into a Hyundai) from Monrovia to Gbarnga, Charles Taylor’s former stronghold, when we hit a traffic roadblock.  Curious to know what could cause a complete stoppage of traffic, I walked to the front of the line of cars to find a group of people doing an exorcism of the evil spirits that have caused so many accidents at this exact spot. It was fascinating to watch, mainly because of the apparent fusion of Christianity, Islam, and “local vodoo” (for lack of a better descriptor). Here’s a quick glimpse of the full event...

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Aug 15, 2009 LR Liberia

He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him.

-Charles Taylor’s actual election campaign slogan

I find it amazing that there’s any debate at all as to how horrible a man Charles Taylor is, as is currently being debated at his war crimes trial and in the court of public opinion.

I suppose elsewhere one would have to read the recently released Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, but here in Liberia all I have to do is walk across Tubman Blvd from my apartment to...

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Aug 7, 2009 LR Liberia

This place is like no country I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been fortunate to see over 130 in my 20+ years of adventure travel.The history of Liberia is unique in Africa because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of the few countries in Africa without roots in  European colonialism.   Liberia did not exist as a country until it was colonized by freed American slaves in 1847, forming a government based on the US system.  The capital city is named after President James Monroe and the monetary currency is the Liberian Dollar.

This government was overthrown by a military...

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