Victoria

Fellows Blog Posts by Victoria

Jan 12, 2010 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

As I finish up my placement as a Kiva Fellow in Nicaragua, there is one question that I didn’t know the answer to when I arrived and that still confounds me three months later. Why isn’t Nicaragua a more “popular” country to lend to on Kiva?

The average time to fund a loan on Kiva to a borrower from AFODENIC, the microfinance institution where I’ve been a Kiva Fellow here in Nicaragua, is 5.65 days, almost 2.5 times the overall average (this information can be found on any partner page, under the “Loan Characteristics on...

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Dec 19, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

I try not to play favorites, but this week I met my favorite borrower. The borrowers I’ve liked the most so far have been those who are particularly friendly, have particularly interesting things to say, or give me food. Kenia fell into that first category, and I really enjoyed talking both to her and her younger sister-in-law, who helps Kenia make the 60 lunches she puts together every day for a nearby business. Not only did the rest of her family not look at me as if I’m an alien – which I’ve actually almost gotten used to by now! – but...

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Dec 11, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

Last week I met three borrowers who struck me as particularly interesting, each for a different reason. All three have been thought-provoking and have stuck with me over the course of the week. In their own way, each of the three represented a unique experience for me. Even though I’d been here for over eight weeks, Gregoria, Gloria, and Maria each presented something new, so I want to introduce you to these three women, whose loans are disbursed through the microfinance institution where I’m a Kiva Fellow, Kiva’s field...

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Dec 1, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

Since arriving in Nicaragua for my Kiva Fellowship about two months ago, my time here has been marked by a range of new experiences. I have become surprisingly adept at pouring juice from a plastic bag into a glass. I am intimately familiar with the smell of burning garbage, the most common way trash is disposed of here in Managua. I have perfected (and passed on) the art of wagging my finger to tell a taxi driver that I don’t want to get in when he already has another passenger. And for the first time, I’ve gotten to see how...

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Nov 19, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

As the holiday season fast approaches, I imagine many of you back at home are starting to make lists (checking them twice?) of presents or of people you’re going to buy presents for or even of presents you hope someone else gets you. It’s no secret that businesses in the United States – and in other countries – experience a significant uptick in sales in December.

But I’ve learned in the past few weeks that this phenomenon isn’t unique to the United States or to developed countries. Many of the borrowers I’ve met with recently have...

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Nov 5, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

Before I left for my placement as a Kiva Fellow in Nicaragua, I was browsing my microfinance institution’s web site, trying to see what I could learn from it and to familiarize myself with the organization, AFODENIC, a bit more. I clicked on a link in the left sidebar called “Fuentes de Financiamiento,” or “Sources of Funding.” After the page loaded, I realized that, subconsciously and perhaps naïvely, I had been expecting to see a particular logo we know so well, that comforting, familiar green logo, with its...

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Oct 21, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

In one of our training sessions for the 9th class of Kiva Fellows at the end of September, a staffer told us that we might be living and working during our fellowships in places without street signs–because the streets are unnamed. He described how, in small towns, a direction might be given simply as “past the banana tree” or something similar. He even had a hand-drawn map that he got when he visited one of Kiva’s partners; the microfinance institution had sketched the diagram to indicate the locations of its...

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Oct 8, 2009 NI Nicaragua

By Victoria Kabak, KF9, Nicaragua

As some of you may have noticed, this week a notification was placed underneath the borrower profiles on all loans to Nicaraguan borrowers on Kiva.org. It reads, in part:

In mid 2008, a movement began in Nicaragua called “Movimiento No Pago” (a movement for non-payment of loans). This movement, supported mostly by farmers of the north of Nicaragua with ties to the left-wing party in Nicaragua, has been organizing protests (some violent) and forcing microfinance institution branches to close…This group has submitted a law to the...

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