Fellows Blog Posts by lethalsheethal

Apr 23, 2010 BO Bolivia

By Sheethal Shobowale, KF10, Bolivia

Transportation has been an integral part of my travels in South America. I have been in cars, vans, buses, scooters, motorcycles, trains, boats, planes, even a bus transported by a boat and of course I have walked.

In many cities, walking (or running for exercise) is usually not the best option because you breathe in a ton of pollution from passing vehicles.  In cities, I’ve noticed and heard that Peruvians and Bolivians don’t walk much.

Public transport is popular because not many people can afford to have their own...

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Mar 28, 2010 BO Bolivia

By Sheethal Shobowale, KF10, Bolivia

Everywhere I go in Bolivia I see huge billboards that advertise “Mini Carga desde 1 Bs” (Mini recharge from 1 Boliviano) with a picture of a guy holding a 1 Boliviano coin and a cellphone.

Mini Carga desde 1 Boliviano (Mini-Recharge from 1 Boliviano)

After having my Bolivian cellphone for only a day, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why companies were advertising such a...

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Mar 5, 2010 BO Bolivia

By Sheethal Shobowale, KF10, Bolivia

I met some Dutch Kiva lenders during a trip to Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca in Bolivia who don’t like to loan to groups on Kiva because

  • They miss out on the personal connection with one particular entrepreneur
  • They feel like the loans amounts are too big so they feel they aren’t making as much of a dent in the group loan amount as they would have if they had lent to one entrepreneur
  • They don’t get to see the entrepreneur at work if the photo is of a group of people at a meeting
  • ... Continue Reading >>

    Feb 5, 2010 BO Bolivia

    If you haven’t heard, there have been terrible floods in Cusco, Peru in the past week. Since we are in the thick of La Epoca de la Lluvia (the rainy season), rain is expected but the level of destruction seen in the area is unimaginable.

    Tourism is the main industry in Cusco, and the damage produced by the rain does substantial damage on the Cusco economy. From the February 3rd warden message from the U.S. Embassy in Peru, I read that Machu Picchu is closed and the rail line between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes is closed due to landslides until possibly March. I...

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    Feb 2, 2010 BO Bolivia

    At microfinance institution Asociación Arariwa in Cusco, Peru, and now working with Emprender in La Paz, Bolivia, I have met a ton of animals.  Being an animal lover and from New York where I rarely see live animals walking around (unless the occasional stray cat or rat or cockroach counts), seeing animals as part of my daily life is a pleasure.

    Here are several Kiva Fellow animal stories in photos -

    Below are stories of Kiva Fellow animal encounters from around the world.  If you enjoyed Kiva’s Animal Kingdom, please consider making a loan to a Kiva entrepreneur who... Continue Reading >>

    Jan 17, 2010 PE Peru

    By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

    Doris, one of the loan officers at Asociación Arariwa, has been working with clients in Urubamba and Cusco for 17 years.

    I sat in on one of the monthly loan payment meetings of one of her communal banks, Aguas Buenas.  All members paid their monthly payments on time, but two of the members asked permission beforehand not to attend.  Because of their absence, Doris commented on the importance of attending the monthly meetings, saying “No vamos a lograr nada” (We won’t achieve anything this way).  She...

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    Dec 21, 2009 PE Peru

    By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

    Counterfeit money is a very serious topic in Peru.  There is so much false money floating around that it is extremely possible that at some point or another, you will try to buy some fruit from the woman selling fruit on the corner and she will return your bill or coin exclaiming, “falso!” (false!)

    This has happened to several of my friends during my time in Cusco.   One friend tried to pay for our salsa class with a 5 soles coin.  Then someone else paid with a larger bill and got his coin as change.  “Falso!”...

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    Dec 4, 2009 PE Peru

    By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

    I had the pleasure of attending Asociación Arariwa’s 25th anniversary celebrations. In true Peruvian form, the celebrating lasted two weeks with lots of fanfare – a parade, music, dancing, eating and of course, Cusqueña (Peruvian beer) and sweet Peruvian wine.

    Just for some background on the organization, there are three divisions of Asociación Arariwa -

    • ARARIWA PROMOCIÓN – Whose mission is to support rural development, strengthen production systems, fortify institutions and improve...
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    Oct 31, 2009 PE Peru

    By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

    In Cusco, Peru, Halloween is celebrated in full force.  It kinda feels like home (side note: home for me is Brooklyn, New York).  Back in New York, I usually put some pumpkins on my stoop and make some curried pumpkin soup. This year, Cynthia McMurry (Kiva’s Field Support Specialist in South America) and I are going to carve a zapallo and make some soup.  So it will feel like home!

    Here are some photos from Halloween in Cusco -

    I’ll add more over the weekend when I see people dressed up and out trick ‘o...

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    Oct 28, 2009 PE Peru

    By Sheethal Shobowale, KF9, Peru

    My first loan disbursement outside of the Asociación Arariwa office took place in San Sebastian, an area of Cusco about 15 minutes away from the office.

    This group meeting was my ideal picture of group microfinance.  Banco Comunal de Maria Auxiliadora is a group of 11 low-income women from Cusco, engaged all all different types of businesses, from cosmetic and grocery sales to artesanía.  They had failed to make their repayments on time in their last loan cycle but this time, Valentina, their loan officer was determined for them to...

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