karlbaumgarten

Fellows Blog Posts by karlbaumgarten

Jan 20, 2010

By Karl Baumgarten KF10, Lima, Peru

I arrived in Lima at 3am Sunday, pretending to be ready to start my second fellowship with EDAPROSPO in just 4 hours. After 2 hours spent regretting my poor planning in the customs line, I hailed a cab and whizzed through Lima’s empty streets to my hospedaje. A few hours of restless sleep and a cup of instant coffee later, I hailed another cab, although in an altogether different Lima. The quiet tranquil city I had seen just 4 hours earlier had transformed itself into a city bursting at the seams with taxis, combis, buses and people...

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Dec 27, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

Time Flies. I feel like I’ve been in Costa Rica for two weeks however my no-nonsense calendar tells an altogether different story.  After nearly 12 weeks learning the ins and outs of FUDECOSUR, things are going smooth. With the Costa Rican summer in full swing, business casual has been replaced by the welcome alternative of jeans and polos. For the first time, I am experiencing the holiday season with 85-degree weather and sunshine. I have tried to start weaning myself off a healthy addiction of gallo pinto, the traditional Costa Rican...

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Nov 18, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

4,000,0000 cups per year. 10,958,904 cups per day. 42 beans per cup.  460,273,968 beans per day. And they all have to be picked one by one by one. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Every cup we make  is the culmination of an incredibly involved process that we all should appreciate.

Below is a video of the coffee process at AsoProLa, an organic coffee company which processes coffee from small scale farmers in Altamira, many of whom have micro-loans with FUDECOSUR

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Oct 16, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

In the last 5 years, financial innovation has spread rapidly to the field of microfinance. What previously was better coined micro-credit is starting to live up to its name, with more and more MFIs starting to offer a full gambit of financial services: microinsurance, microsavings, remittances and others. Technology is enabling these products to spread faster and further. But just what are the impacts of these products and how can we be sure that microfinance is really doing all that its rosy image implies? One increasingly popular method...

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Oct 5, 2009 CR Costa Rica

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9 Costa Rica

After a rainy welcome to San Isidro del General yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by sunshine and smiles for my first day at FUDECOSUR, an MFI working in the impoverished districts of Southern Costa Rica. With my Spanish struggling but my effort appreciated, the staff welcomed the new face around the office that promised to bring more work to their already hectic schedules. FUDECOSUR is currently poised at an interesting time during their pilot partnership with Kiva. They are perhaps days away from posting their first loans to Kiva,...

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