Fellows Blog Posts by erindal

Dec 29, 2011 BO Bolivia

By Eric Rindal – KF 16 – Bolivia

Before I volunteered as a Kiva Fellow in Sierra Leone (May of 2011) and Bolivia (September 2011), I was living in Santa Barbara, California. Imagine: Santa Barbara beaches saturated with color, mansions with the smell of jasmine twisting through the air, and a pace of life only to be set by the sun. While there, I was working for a de jure artist and took up the ranks as a de facto artist myself. Life was pretty easy, and moving to a developing country and working with microfinance seemed a million miles away. Leaving it all made...

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Dec 19, 2011 BO Bolivia

By Eric Rindal – KF16 – Bolivia

Part of my Fellowship here in Bolivia is to complete two Borrower Verifications (BVs) for two Kiva partner microfinance intuitions: Emprender and IMPRO. During the BV, I ask four questions to verify that the borrower is the real borrower, and I ask one question to understand the Kiva borrower better. This one question: What is your dream for you life or your business, is the most moving part of my Fellowship. I am so inspired by Kiva borrowers. Some of their dreams are simple, some are...

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Nov 17, 2011 BO Bolivia

Eric Rindal – KF16 – La Paz, Bolivia

This Monday morning I woke up under new sheets on a small bed in a small room amid warm and verdant Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It took me 30 frantic and confused seconds to piece together where I was as the sun beamed through the cracks in the unfamiliar blinds. The day before I was living across the country for two weeks verifying loan terms of Kiva borrowers. Three weeks before that I was in La Paz, Bolivia for eight weeks creating new Kiva borrower profile templates. I wander, therefore I am…a Wandering Fellow.

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Oct 16, 2011 BO Bolivia

Eric Rindal – KF16 – La Paz, Bolivia

Another day, another dollar lost as a volunteer. The first part of my second Fellowship has gone by tremendously fast. I only have two more months left of what will be my seven months as a Kiva Fellow. No longer do I feel like a volunteer, this is now my way of life. At this juncture, after leaving Sierra Leone and entering Bolivia, I ask three questions: Why micro loans; Why small business; and Why poverty.

As a Fellow these questions encapsulate most of what I think about. In short, I want to know why things are...

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Sep 23, 2011 BO Bolivia

Eric Rindal – KF16 – Bolivia

After Jeffrey Sachs  started talking about ladders, rungs, and poverty, many wondered if there would be an end to poverty. The way he saw it was that if a developing country could just make it to that first “rung” on the ladder, they would reach the global economy and lift themselves from poverty. He augmented this with “clinical economics,” treating developing countries like patients by offering a unique diagnosis, by properly addressing a country’s need. I am not going to analyze Sachs’ book, rather I will compare the differences...

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Aug 11, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

By Eric Rindal – KF15 – Sierra Leone

“Soon you’re not going to be here anymore, and I need to start doing things for myself,” Mbalu, the Kiva Coordinator at BRAC SL, earnestly said to me. One of my main objectives here in Sierra Leone has been to finalize Mbalu’s orientation of writing the Kiva borrower profiles, posting profiles to, and reporting borrower repayments to Kiva headquarters. With a great sense of accomplishment, last month was Mbalu’s first time posting borrowers onto without any

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Jul 30, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

By Eric Rindal – Sierra Leone – KF15

I am writing this blog by hand today as I sit at my desk in Makeni, Sierra Leone. There is no power for the whole office. When I ask, “isn’t there National Power from the grid?” people just laugh (it only comes on at night for a few hours). When I ask, “What about the generator?” people just shrug (it runs on petrol). The town is actually out of petrol on this cloud-tumbling Monday morning. With finicky fuel costs, scarcity of fuel, and an inflation rate of 17.7% there are many reasons for days like this. The MFI (Microfinance...

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Jul 18, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

by Eric Rindal – KF15 – Sierra Leone


“What has changed in your business since you took out your loan?” I ask Kiva borrower Fatmata as we stand amongst the whirling crowd in a Freetown market. “Oh, very much, everything has changed,” she says as her eyes quickly sway toward the crowd, then back to mine. I ask her to be more specific; she picks up some of her merchandise and slaps it down with a smile, “I can pay for my child’s school fees.

I have one, a girl, who is in her last year of schooling.” Her pending graduation is quite an accomplishment in a...

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Jun 7, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

By Eric Rindal – KF15 – Sierra Leone

Mosquito nets are an essential part of most, if not all, Kiva Fellows’ experience. From Senegal, to Ecuador, to the Philippians, we all need them; in fact, it would be crazy to sleep without one. I find my faith in these perforated cocoons may actually be deeper and extend further than I thought.

My “mosquito net” used to drape well beyond the four corners of my bed, delicately hanging both as a distance and a shield from poverty. This physical distance fostered a mental distance such that I could safely experience poverty...

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May 18, 2011 SL Sierra Leone

By Eric Rindal, KF15, Sierra Leone

“To touch a person’s heart, you must see a person’s face.” (quote from My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok)

Lending on is a very personal experience. Reading a borrower’s profile, understanding a glimpse of their life, and seeing their picture, kindles, in one way or another, a sincere interest in their potential and forms a connection with the uniqueness of that borrower. Beyond the loan, lenders affirm a strong and inherent hope within the borrower and encourage their entrepreneurial spirit. How awesome for global lenders...

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