Katie Morton

Fellows Blog Posts by Katie Morton

Dec 8, 2010 KE Kenya

So just how long does it take to feel comfortable in an entirely new place?

When I landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in July, I was determined to learn, absorb, and live like a Kenyan. It turns out this wasn’t the most realistic goal given barriers like the timeframe of 90 days and the whole mzungu factor. But I tried anyway.

My approach

I threw myself into the daily routine whenever possible. I commuted in matatus, picked up some Kiswahili, bought my daily liter of maji from the “cat lady” at the neighborhood kiosk, and...

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Nov 27, 2010 KE Kenya

Time spent in the field working with branch staff, conversing with borrowers, and observing the day-to-day mechanics of microfinance is among the most favored aspects of the Kiva Fellowship. Stepping outside of the office and into the nooks and crannies of an unfamiliar land is fun and exciting…at first. But a simple day out and about can very quickly turn into a character-building experience, especially when faced with obstacles like the nonexistence of posted street signs or printed maps, fickle mobiles, and language barriers—all underneath the equatorial sun’s 90 degree rays.

I’...

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Nov 1, 2010 KE Kenya

This is the tale of how I ended up in the Nairobi airport feasting on two rounds of iced coffee, countless chocolate bars, multiple samosas, and even the sugar coated ice cubes at the bottom of the cup. Meanwhile, Sarah Curl lay collapsed atop a motel bed in a dusty Ugandan town where she may quite possibly remain until this very day.

A perk of the Kiva Fellowship is having friends who live and work in diverse locations around the globe. After a few months in Kenya, I decided to take advantage of this network of colleagues and visit a KF12 classmate in Kampala. This is the latest...

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Oct 8, 2010 KE Kenya

It’s 6:45 am, Lil Wayne is blasting in my ears and Tupac is staring me in the face. Welcome to my daily commute.

Good Morning, 2Pac

A ma-what-now?

Like most Mombasans, I travel around the island by matatu. These fourteen passenger vans function as the local transit system but experience more like party buses. They’re the most affordable way to get around...

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Sep 9, 2010 KE Kenya

Yehu Microfinance Trust’s tagline is serving rural Kenya. So when my motorbike broke down en route to visit a Kiva borrower 25 kilometers away from the already remote town of Samburu, I was a little concerned.

The Task

One of my principal duties as a Kiva Fellow while in Kenya is to meet a subset of Kiva clients, ask them some questions, and compare these notes with the information on Kiva’s website and the field partner’s documentation. This process, known in Kiva-speak as the “Borrower Verification,” is a critical piece of the Portfolio Team’s risk and due...

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Sep 1, 2010 KE Kenya

The Internet is out, so I’m writing my first blog post—one of the few things a Kiva Fellow can accomplish without access to the “series of tubes.” I’d like to introduce myself and explain a little about why exactly I wanted to move across the globe, give up access to reliable water pressure, and work for 12 weeks for free.

I’m interested in microlending, Kiva, and social entrepreneurship because of what I’ve learned in the classroom and experienced while spending time abroad. One day I hope to build a career in sustainable economic and social development. I graduated from college a...

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