Jessica Young

Fellows Blog Posts by Jessica Young

May 26, 2008 KH Cambodia

Higher education opportunities aren’t a reality for most females in Cambodia.  Making it to university is a feat for the average male, let alone female.  With limited household income, rural families have difficulties supporting their children through school, especially beyond a primary education.  The odds for children to make it through secondary school will inevitably be dependent upon the school’s distance from the household: transportation to and from can be cost prohibitive.  Take into account the large number of households that must pull their...

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May 21, 2008 KH Cambodia

Often when I visit clients with a loan officer, we show them a picture of their KIVA profile and explain that people around the world have read about them and helped to finance their loans.  Upon seeing their pictures, many blush with embarrassment.  (For many, it’s one of the few photos they’ve taken in their life.)  After a second look, a huge grin usually appears and the entrepreneur proudly shows their profile to other family members or curious neighbors.

 

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Apr 30, 2008 KH Cambodia

Most of the clients I visit make just enough money from their businesses to get by day to day.  When you ask what their future plans or hopes are, some have none in sight- just repeating the same monotonous labor, day in and day out, to continue to put food on the table… challenging enough with the rising food inflation here (http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-04-21-voa21.cfm).  If family members are sick (with an 8+ member household in a developing country- odds are someone will be sick), medical costs can make this prohibitive and put business...

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Apr 16, 2008 KH Cambodia

Inspired by the TZ fellows, I’ve come up with a top 10 for a taste of Cambodia:

1) The first questions people ask you are not “where are you from” or “what do you do” but “how old are you” and “are you married.” 2) Your clients bring you pictures of their sons and try to arrange marriages during your meetings. 3) A “taxi” transports 50+ people… and you don’t get a discount for sitting on the roof. 4) The Lexus SUV on the street has one person inside and the motorcycle beside it is transporting a family of 7… plus some groceries. 5) Drivers make their own lanes, honking is polite,...

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Apr 7, 2008 KH Cambodia

This is why I love my office…

The other day at work, my colleagues found out I have a cell phone.  They immediately took turns getting my digits- wanting my phone # ‘just because.’  Some who are hesitant to use English will call and hang up as a “just wanted to say ‘hi’” gesture.  Better yet, others will leave SMS messages.

 

For the past week, every night, I’ve gotten a goodnight text, tucking me into bed if you will. 

 

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Apr 7, 2008 KH Cambodia

Just one epic of a post to depict a day in the field:

 

Only after experiencing the lows can you fully appreciate the highs.  While everyday in the field is an incredible experience, some days are absolutely exhausting- mentally.  The 8 hours in 90 degree sun dressed like I’m observing purdah is fine… off-roading on a moto… dodging trees and making u-turns in 6 “lanes” of traffic… breathing like I’m on a ventilator through my helmet when sand storms of...

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Apr 6, 2008 KH Cambodia

Only a few weeks into my fellowship in Cambodia, some things are already unmistakably clear. The Maxima staff, who I feel very fortunate to be working with, are an extremely dedicated, close knit family with an excellent client rapport and a visible love for their work. Because they love their work, they love Kiva; as a small operation with one branch (the smallest MFI in Cambodia), the impact of funding through Kiva is huge. The interest-free loans help them fund and service more clients than would otherwise be possible, and to Maxima, service is everything. The MFI...
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