Sierra Visher

Fellows Blog Posts by Sierra Visher

May 6, 2009 BO Bolivia

Last week was my last week as a Kiva Fellow. As I sat in the cold air of the bar Emprender took me to celebrate the end of my time with their offices and the national Dia del Trabajador (or workers day), I realized how far I have come. And how hard it would be to sum up the personal aspect of being a Kiva Fellow. And equally hard to sum up what microfinance looks like to me.

Here is an effort to show what I mean. Take a look at an album I made of my favorite entrepreneur photos from my placement in Honduras and in Bolivia.

I had just spent a solid hour learning the lilted,...

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Apr 17, 2009 BO Bolivia

Emprender has two offices in Cochabamba and three in Santa Cruz. Both these cities have a distinct character, and reputation that precedes them. The Cochabambinos, or “ “Bambinos” (best nick name ever right?) are known for their gigantic plates of food. Everyone tells me that I would eat a lot in Cochabamba, and that I would find the climate perfect. In Santa Cruz, I would find people of a totally different culture. The kind that whistle at the women in the street, take off dancing at a moment’s notice, men with mojo and women with hot blood. All...

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Mar 6, 2009 BO Bolivia

Some days as a Kiva Fellow totally rock. Its like, “snap, snap, snap!” You are in the groove, making good decisions, few cultural errors, you are visiting clients, streamlining internal processes, inspiring the staff of Kiva’s partners, making connections and generally rocking out. Here is a quick video I made of a day during which I visited clients.

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Some days…ie, today, are not so snappy. I got to one of Emprender’s field offices...

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Feb 26, 2009 BO Bolivia

I arrived in Bolivia on Sunday to the happy sounds and bright colors of Carnaval. The whole country was busy with their week long celebrations before lent. This Christian country incorporates many indigenous beliefs. Nearly all the entradas, or parades, that made getting from the airport to my apartment really difficult, are to honor some deity related to the earth, the sky, hell or food. Many offerings are made throughout the drunken mayhem. Water balloons and super soaker 5000s arm every child on every corner. The streets were filled for days with the sounds of fire crackers, screaming...

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Feb 11, 2009 HN Honduras

Yesterday all the loan officers and agency coordinators from all over Honduras gathered in the small conference room in Prisma’s main office summarize, discuss and clarify the way Kiva would be implemented in the coming year. This was the final day and our final hurrah. I was so honored that they considered my assistance and their partnership with Kiva worth the administrative cost of bringing everyone together for a day- effectively halting all normal activity. The loan officers from San Lorenzo and Choluteca were up at 3 in the morning to catch the bus to the capital and surely didn’t...

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Feb 11, 2009 HN Honduras

Yesterday all the loan officers and agency coordinators from all over Honduras gathered in the small conference room in Prisma’s main office summarize, discuss and clarify the way Kiva would be implemented in the coming year. This was the final day and our final hurrah. I was so honored that they considered my assistance and their partnership with Kiva worth the administrative cost of bringing everyone together for a day- effectively halting all normal activity. The loan officers from San Lorenzo and Choluteca were up at 3 in the morning to catch the bus to the capital and surely didn’t...

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Jan 11, 2009 HN Honduras

Day in and day out I swerve through Honduran shanty towns, isolated hovels, over exquisite landscapes and into ditches. I can’t open my eyes wide enough, and at the end of everyday I have more questions than the day before. The questions are complex and every one leads me down a rabbit hole. Its starts like this: To begin with, how do we really measure poverty here in Honduras? And once I identify the poor, I wonder, does Prisma reach the poorest of the poor? If not, is it enough that they reach the middle poor, and by virtue of growing small business opportunity, they grow opportunities...

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Dec 20, 2008 HN Honduras

Christmas in Honduras sunny and delicious. Christmas parties are everywhere, and come with very royally dressed women and scantily dressed girls. Office beauty pageants. The days are a warm 80 degrees, toasty not humid. I’m eating Tres Leches cake like my heart is made of iron, not soft, susceptible tissue.

I can’t get enough of the Christmas trees. Like everything here, color is supreme.

Christmas Tree in Prisma's Office

Don’t forget that they don’t grow...

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Dec 15, 2008 HN Honduras

On December 4th, I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany Prisma employees to the Premio Impulso Microempresarial 2008.

This was an event put on by a Honduran Magazine called Micro Empresas & Finanzas that seeks to unify and inform the microfinance sector here in Honduras. Prisma was a recipient of the Premio Impuslo Microempresarial, which recognizes their contributions to the microfinance sector.

Orbelina Valeriano, Prisma Director, Holds Award

There...

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Nov 29, 2008 HN Honduras

I am sitting quietly in the cool, green room of a family operated hostel called Dos Molinos in San Pedro Sula. Shortly I will leave for a long bus ride to Tegucigalpa where I meet up with Prisma staff who will show me to my new home.

As I prepare for Monday, when I want to hit the ground running, I find it hard to focus as my mind begins to wander all over the place (though maybe it’s just the vestiges of chloroquine induced dreams…)

My boyfriend prefers professional football to college. He likes brute force of it, and feels closer to the professional teams, which represent...

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