Fellows Blog Posts by vanickd

Oct 26, 2010 AM Armenia

What is the best way to get a whole office of micro-credit employees together on short notice?

Today I found the answer: pumpkin risotto.

As I am nearing the end of my Kiva fellowship in Armenia, I got together with my MFI staff at SEF International for a goodbye lunch. Armenia is known for its great barbecues, so I decided to cook up something new…and vegetarian.

The risotto turned out great, but the really amazing part for me was getting to know my co-workers in a totally new way. I’ve been working with the staff at SEF for three months now, but I usually...

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Oct 25, 2010

On my recent trip to the Nagorno Karabakh region, I made my way into an open-air produce market. My stash of pickled cabbage was running low, so I decided to buy some more. But as soon as I entered, my focus drifted off towards the delicious smell of freshly baked bread and herbs. Following my nose, I soon spot a group of women preparing treats. I forget about the pickled cabbage and head straight to the street vendors.

The Pickled Goodies Stand...

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Sep 21, 2010 AM Armenia

If I’ve learned anything about Armenia, it’s that people here know how to dress up. On any given night, Yerevan’s main opera square looks like a fashion show: beautiful women and handsome men are dressed up and are struting about, arm in arm.

Until recently I had no idea how much clothing cost here, or even where it came from. A few days ago I went on a Kiva borrower visit in a clothing market in central Yerevan. Aram, a loan officer from the micro-credit organization SEF World Vision invited me to come along.

We enter the market wiggling our way through the...

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Aug 26, 2010 AM Armenia

I recently travelled to the small Armenian town of Sevan to visit a Kiva partner’s branch office. Armenians flock to Sevan throughout the year to enjoy either a lazy day at the beach, attend a wedding reception, or just to visit the  Sevanavank monastery, which is nestled atop a scenic mountain overlooking the Sevan Lake. Due to tourism, this town serves as an important marketplace where people from surrounding communities come to buy clothes, household goods, and food.

Upon my arrival at my MFI’s branch office the loan officers treated me to a feast of barbecued Sevan...

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