Fellows Blog Posts by kellykmckinnon

Jan 17, 2010

By Kelly McKinnon KF9, Leon Nicaragua

I ask my mom to edit most of my writing because she is super smart (and beautiful and kind and fun and patient) but also because she is a great audience has a general understanding of what I’m doing as a Kiva Fellow.

The exchange that follows is from my mom’s review of my latest blog “The View From Here” in which I talked about two borrower stories. My responses to her questions are far from academic explanations and my terse answers leave an enormous amount unsaid. But this post is less about explanations and more about...

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Jan 9, 2010 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9 Leon, Nicaragua

In my time as a Kiva Fellow I’ve written more than 100 borrower profiles and 40 or so journal updates. When writing profiles one tends to fall into a rhythm, there are words that come up repeatedly, expressions that are almost invariably used, translations that don’t quite work. Often my days are spent trying to deciphering the handwriting of a loan officer with little knowledge of the borrower beyond what is scrawled. Most of the time I look at the back of a computer. It wasn’t exactly the vision I had when I dreamed of joining the...

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Dec 24, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9 Leon, Nicaragua

The question is posed casually, but as all heads in the room turn to await my response, I sense that this is not a simple question. Ummm, I stammer. Rapidly wracking my brain for cultural cues or anecdotes I’ve heard on the importance of soup in Nicaragua. Nothing, I’ve got nothing. So I stall a bit more, Soup? You are asking me if I like soup?

I am sitting at the kitchen table with a coworker and her family. Her grandmother poses the question, her aunt eyes me, and my coworker and her three sisters stop chattering to await my...

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Dec 15, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9 Leon Nicaragua

¿Quién Causa Tanta Alegría?

¡La Concepción de María!

An exuberant young man, who I was to later understand is the Priest who hosts a Grand Purísima celebration (attended by former presidents, the bishop, the mayor and a five piece brass band), rattled off the schedule of events of the day’s celebration of La Purísima:

12:00p   Fireworks are lit all over the city to signal the beginning of the celebration.*

12:10p   Gigantona dance competition in the central plaza**

6:00p     Mass ends and more...

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Dec 5, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9, León, Nicaragua

It’s not Christmas.

90 degree days and the glow of the Nicaraguan sunlight and my celebration of Thanksgiving in the reception of a medical clinic where I was diagnosed with a stomach bacteria, (Oh the irony!) somehow make the holiday season seem far away.

And yet, I didn’t think it was Friday either. After checking my calendar, twice, I now recognize that my coworkers are not trying to trick me. And neither is the rest of Nicaragua.

Signs of the (rapidly) approaching holiday have been springing up around León and...

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Nov 1, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9 Leon Nicaragua

I fell off the sidewalk tonight. It was bound to happen.

The sidewalks here are raised and tiled and narrow. No extra room is allotted for lamp posts or stoops or two-way traffic, all must exist in no more than four feet dedicated to pedestrian passages.

The rules to walking in Leon are thus: a gentleman passes on the outside, there is plenty of room, and greet passersby with a smile and an “Adiooos.”

My days begin with these passages. Rather, as I, dedicated tom-boy, wobble to work in high...

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Oct 13, 2009 NI Nicaragua

by Kelly McKinnon, KF9, Leon, Nicaragua

My attraction to Kiva and to their model of how microfinance fits into development, I’ve realized, has very much to do with their insistence upon the dignity of the individual. Throughout the Kiva Fellows training, through conversations and actions this concept was repeated, emphasized and modeled. I’m wishing I had the presence of mind to recognize that this exact insistence is what drew me here in the first place, wishing I recognized long ago this is what I felt during my summer in Honduras, wishing I had the eloquence to express...

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Sep 23, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Kelly McKinnon, KF9, Nicaragua

Hey there, I wanted to take a second to introduce myself. I’m Kelly and I’m headed to Leon, Nicaragua to work with Fundacion Leon 2000. We’re mid-way through our week of training here at Kiva headquarters, I could not be more excited about being a part of this fellows team as well as the greater Kiva Love Machine!

I’ll begin posting as soon as I can and will report all about Fundacion Leon, in the meantime you can begin to get to know the borrowers that I’ll be working with by clicking on this link to...

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