Posts filed under ‘Philippines’
Keith Baillie | KF19 | Philippines
Part I: Construction of a New Community
Following the Sendong typhoon, many Cagayan de Oro residents were displaced. I visited one of the resettlement villages, Xavier Ecoville. Flood victims are still currently living in temporary wooden accommodation built by agencies like Habitat for Humanity.
Among the first facilities constructed are a church and a community hall. There are also a health and family planning center, day care and preschool facilities, and covered basketball and volleyball court. Housing is in low-rise terraces, enabling neighbors to mingle in the street.
Part II: Factors Driving Community Spirit
If I mention that I am visiting or eating somewhere, they always ask “Who’s with you, sir?” I ask myself “What are the factors that drive the strong Filipino sense of community?” Here are some factors that occur to me:
- Strong family bonds. Filipinos typically have large families. Working children are responsible for helping support parents and younger siblings (including their education). Children will frequently work abroad to accomplish this. Such family obligations imprint a model for shared responsibility in the broader community.
Note: However, nowadays many Filipino couples separate and many children are born outside of marriage. Nevertheless, parents or grandparents always take care of the children if the mother cannot.
- Living accommodation. Single Filipinos typically live with their family until they marry and establish their own family home. Young Filipinos studying or working away from home typically live with colleagues in boarding houses, which provides a community atmosphere in place of the family home. Few Filipinos live completely alone, even when elderly.
- Shared religion. (I have worked in Christian areas but suspect the same holds true in Muslim and indigenous areas.) Almost all Filipinos I have met have a strong, active Christian faith. Although most are Catholic, other denominations are integrated in non-sectarian events, like religious festivals/fiestas and office devotionals. One of the first questions Filipinos ask me is “What is your religion?”
- Avoidance of conflict. Filipinos rarely get angry or raise their voices. If I say something critical, a Filipino will ask “Are you mad at me, Sir?” leading me to soften my response. I do not see angry rows or fights even in drinking establishments. When I berated a young girl for pushing in front of me in a grocery line, she just remained silent. And when my motorcycle taxi nearly collided with a motorcyclist who had pulled in front of him, there were no expletives. They both just smiled and chuckled.
- Community service. I met a large group of students who were studying a college course in cleaning neighborhoods and planting mangroves. When they graduate, they will be unpaid volunteers. In the cooperatives I have visited, serving the community (especially the poor) is always stressed in the devotionals and board members provide their time for free.
- Performances and shows. Church, school, college and office events bring people together to practice for dance performances, beauty contests, sports contests, etc.
- Fiestas. Each municipality has an annual fiesta when community members who live away return home. There are family reunions, school reunions, church services, public entertainments, and the roaming meals where people visit a succession of homes to eat.
- Texting. Throughout the day, Filipinos text small talk like “Good morning!” and “Have you had your breakfast?” This is an extension of normal social interaction.
- Maintenance of local bonds while away. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) maintain social connections with others from their city or region – for example maids in Hong Kong or workers in the Middle East congregate on particular streets or intersections designated for their home location.
Whatever the reasons, there is no doubt that Filipinos have a strong sense of community – both with other Filipinos and (happily) in welcoming visitors from other cultures.
Afterthought: This may explain why Filipinos so readily ask foreigners for money. When they see financial inequality, it seems only right to share it. However, they don’t seem to resent the rich-poor divide within their own country enough to change it.
By Kiva Fellows | KF19 | All Over the World
With January 2013 coming to an end, KF19 fellows are either continuing on with KF20 or returning home to various responsibilities and careers. Regardless of the next adventure or destination, one thing is common among all: KF19 fellows have been permanently changed by their placements.
What began as a joint blog post about any person, place, or event during the course of the fellowship that affected our lives, of itself turned into simply the one person who left the most impact. Afterall, Kiva’s mission is to alleviate poverty through connecting people. The fellows of KF19 have witnessed this connection over the course of the last three to four months, and nothing could have prepared us for meeting the people who would touch our lives in various ways.
KF19 presents to you Kiva One, a small collection of stories about human connections, hope, and inspiration.
By Kiva Fellows | KF19 | All Over the World
A Happy Holidays to the Kiva family everywhere! May your celebrations be filled with foods and flavor, smiling faces, natural beauty, light and memories… here are some gifts from around the world courtesy of the Kiva Fellows 19th class:
On the Twelve Days of Christmas my Kiva Fellow gave to me…
Watching Green Turtles hatch on a beach near Mafia Island in Tanzania was magical, and heartbreaking, because they looked so vulnerable. They’re tiny little things – no bigger than the palm of my hand – so the 15m of beach is an epic journey but they scramble forward determinedly despite the obstacles. I was thrilled to see this little guy heading out into the world!
Day 2: Two Washington War Memorials
Christina Reif | Kiva Zip (Washington D.C.) | United States
The Korean War Memorial (left): Nestled between juniper bushes which represent the rugged terrain of Korea, 7ft tall statues of soldiers – wary of a suspected ambush – give the visitor a haunting feel of the a soldier’s reality.
The Vietnam Memorial (right): As I stood taking the picture I overheard the veteran say: there were 18 of us and only 9 came back. It was said matter of factly, a story told many times before, a piece of history that never loses its emotional impact.
Day 3: Three Colorado Microbrews
Rachel Davis | Kiva Zip (Denver) | United States
Here are three beers from three Colorado breweries, enjoy!
Day 4: Four Kuki Carolers
Eileen Flannigan | WSDS-Initiate | India
What are these Kuki’s most excited about this holiday? “The caroling bus!” This tradition only happens every two years because of the cost of renting the buses, which each family in the village (200+) contributes to all year. On Christmas Eve the buses tour all the neighboring villages as a symbol of peace, unity and good old fashion fun! At midnight, the elders go home and the youths visit each house in the village to “offer them a song”, which include tribal songs, classic Christmas songs and even Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe”.
When I asked them what they would like to say to Kiva lenders around the world, they joyfully said they wanted to “offer a song of thanksgiving”. Through giggles and jolly spirits, these Kiva borrowers sing “Joy to the World”, dressed in their holiday best, which is all weaved from their own hands. They graciously wrap me in these special threads and awake my heart with the “Christmas spirit”.
Day 5: Five Gorgeous Costa Rican Birds
Jane Imai | EDESA and FUNDECOCA | Costa Rica
What speaks of Costa Rica more than a bunch of beautiful, tropical birds? Costa Rica boasts a huge biodiversity when it comes to wildlife, including almost 900 species of birds. Here are some of ones I was able to see while I was here:
- Blue macaw (wild, La Fortuna)
- Scarlet macaws (wild, en route to Monteverde)
- Violet sabrewing (wildlife refuge, La Paz Waterfall Gardens)
- Yellow-naped parrots (free roaming pets known as Lola and Paco, San Jose)
- Keel-billed toucan (wildlife refuge, La Paz Waterfall Gardens)
Day 6: Six Delicious Dishes from Kyrgyzstan
Abhishesh Adhikari | Bai Tushum & Partners | Kyrgyzstan
- Lagman: Noodle dish with beef and pepper
- Mante: Dumplings filled with ground beef and onions
- Turkish Kebab
- Russian style roast duck with apples
- Plov: Fried rice mixed with meat and carrots
- Traditional Kyrgyz soup with meat and potatoes
Day 7: Seven Candles for Día de las Velitas
Rose Larsen | Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD) | Colombia
Día de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles) is a holiday in Colombia honoring the Immaculate Conception. Every year, on the 8th of December, at 3AM, Colombians light candles and put them in colorful lanterns outside their homes. This day is also the (unofficial) launch of the Christmas season.
Day 8: Eight Filipino Christmas Lights and Festive Faces
Keith Baillie | Roaming Mindanao | Philippines
Christmas preparations start early in the Philippines. Since November, carols are played on the radio and offices and homes have put up Christmas decorations. Groups of children roam around singing carols, hoping for a handout. Here are some pics of Dipolog’s tree lighting festival – with monsters for kids, sculpted and living angels, fireworks and popular bands.
Maayong Pasco! (Bisayan for Merry Christmas!)
Day 9: Nine Jordanian Herbs
Taline Khansa | Tamweelcom | Jordan
One of the most exciting and lively areas in Jordan is the downtown Amman “Balad” region. The streets are filled with a multitude of elements that stimulate the senses from perfumeries making custom concoctions to falafel hole-in-the-wall restaurants. My favorite places are the small shops selling bulk herbs and spices (for super cheap!), some of which I recognize and others I’ve never heard of. The merchants will often allow you to smell or taste the products and may offer some advice on use and preparation techniques.
The nine bulk herbs in this picture are: Two kinds of sage, Melissa, Rosemary, Artemisia, Rose, Guava Leaves, Marjoram, and Hibiscus… Happy Holidays from the Middle East!
Day 10: Ten Bags-a-Brimming With Honduran Coffee
Wesley Schrock | Roaming Fellow | Honduras
Kiva borrower Miguel, a coffee farmer from Trojes in Honduras, stands in front of a wet processing station. In the lower left-hand corner note his ten bags of pulped, fermented, and dried coffee beans ready for roasting.
Having spent close to three months in India, I must say I have not had one bad meal. The food is always flavorful and delicious. While working at Mahashakti, I have been fortunate to have lunch with the staff every day, prepared by the office caretaker, Radha Kanta, or just Rahda for short. Since many of the staff travel from branch to branch at a regular basis, they stay at the office overnight. Radha prepares meals for the traveling staff and me.
One day I learned to make a traditional Odisha dish – Simba Rai – from the following ingredients (pictured from left to right): Garlic, Turmeric, Radha in action, Ginger, Masala paste and powder, Green Chili, Potatoes, Green beans (Simba), Chili powder, Mustard seeds, Tomatoes, Shallots, and we’re ready to eat!
The smiling faces of twelve bright futures for the children of Kiva borrowers in Togo and Benin!
FROM THE KIVA FELLOWS!
Compiled by Philip Issa | KF17 | Palestine
We’ve all had these moments: Trying to impress a native speaker with our ability to speak their language, we compose an elegant sentence in our minds, open our mouths, and… proceed to swallow our feet whole. Indeed, we Kiva Fellows have had no shortage of these moments – we’ve twisted and tortured whole phrases so that they come out no better suited than to embarrass and offend.
So here are a few stories of us Fellows shattering our carefully constructed, professional identities with a spectacular “whoops!”
Compiled by Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo
Despite the often upbeat tone of fellows’ posting on the blog, I’ll be the first to admit that the position entails some universal hardships. There is the occasional social isolation that leaves you Saturday night at home with a book and bottle of the local plonk, despite apparently leading a life of swinging exoticism and sun-drenched adventure. There’s is a lot of driving around, waiting, driving some more, and then getting told some tall tales by people who look at you like you’re definitely one of those foreign imbeciles that regularly swallows half-truths and thoroughly enjoys the taste.
I’ve also come home and spent a good hour picking black soot out of my ears and my nose, then showered and found the water around my feet an unhealthy, industrial smelling, swirl of charcoal. (I also associate the smell of burning plastic with Africa, most often first thing in the morning, as dutiful sweepers light fire to the last day’s fallen leaves and dropped plastic bags.)
Fortunately, there’s food. Blessed food. Balm to the solitary and bruised soul; and even if the full stomach isn’t spiritual salvation, it is a way to warm the heart, as many a romanticized grandmother may have advised uncomprehending grand-daughters. Kiva Fellow Chris Paci has pointed out that I can eat a lot of food in a given day, which is more or less true, so I thought to spread the love and identify who among my colleagues are the true foodies.
As ever, my thanks and recognition to the other fellows.
Michael Slattery (KF17) is serving as a Kiva Fellow with WAGES in Lomé, Togo. He’s pretty sure that one day he will have a coronary bypass and a large stock holding in an antacid producer. Find a borrower in Togo and lend today!
Update From The Field: Client Visits In Bethlehem, A New Partnership In Cameroon + A Peek Into A Loan Officer’s World
Compiled by Allison Moomey | KF16 & KF17 | Bénin
KF17 fellows have now made their way into the field, which means new workplaces, new countries, and new cultures for us all. Even more importantly it means fascinating new blog posts from every corner of the globe for you. Check out this week’s posts and join fellows as they observe microfinance in action Palestine, share about a great new partner in Cameroon, visit a village bank in Peru, and adjust to life in Togo. Then continue reading to learn about a cricket-raising business in Indonesia, microsavings in Mozambique, Senegalese politics, an apartment search in Mongolia, and a loan officer training in the Philippines.
Compiled by Jim Burke, KF16, Nicaragua
This week’s Fellows Blog focuses on adaptability: Adapting microinsurance to poor households in Indonesia, an MFI in Turkey adapts to the needs of women entrepreneurs, a multifaceted borrower in Nepal adapts to market pressures, and a Kiva Fellow adapts to changing expectations. In a continuation of The Stuff Kiva Fellows Like series we hear how different fellows have adapted to their lives abroad by ‘crashing parties’ and ‘going to the Bazaar’. We hear about how practitioners are adapting finance and microinsurance products to their borrowers. Equally nimble we hear from a few borrowers and how they have expertly adapted to market pressures and changing circumstance. Microfinance is a dynamic industry by nature and like DJ or Binu or Maya Enterprise for Micro Finance, ensuring success means staying flexible and welcoming new opportunities born out of challenges. (more…)
Compiled by Jim Burke, KF16, Nicaragua
We are Kiva Fellows. This is the stuff we like. Here is an insider (often critical, or satirical but always true!) view of what it means to be a Kiva Fellow and promote access to financial services around the world. From party crashing to bazaars to street food, these are the things we like and thrive on. Check out Stuff Kiva Fellows Like (SKFL) #1-9!
#10 Street Food
Mariela Cedeño, KF16, Cochabamba, Bolivia
I’m not really sure why, but there is something inherently appealing to a Kiva Fellow’s being about food that is prepared, cooked, and sold on the streets. Perhaps it’s the dubiously hygienic food preparation, the alternative cooking apparatus used to bring food to fire, or it’s ready availability and our relative laziness…wait, no, it’s actually our need to literally ‘taste’ the local culture. In our fits of street food deliriousness we are open and ready to taste all that our surroundings have to offer, however, we often find that the local fare may not quietly find a home in our stomachs. Thankfully, before leaving to our local assignments, our travel nurses reminded us that in times of intestinal woe, Cipro and other like antibiotics will be our best friend. They sometimes are, but because we are well versed in the dangers of overusing antibiotics and are haunted by nightmares of creating giant super bacteria that start kidnapping local women and children, we use them sparingly and wisely. (more…)
Compiled by Kathrin Gerner, KF16, Rwanda
This week on the Kiva fellows blog, start out by learning about three new microfinance products – microinsurance in Indonesia, higher education loans in the Philippines and green and water loans in Kenya. Continue on to Nepal to admire the handiwork of artisan borrowers. Make your way to Ecuador to find out more about the risk of indebtedness. Share the fellows’ personal experiences with the recent elections in Nicaragua and rush hour traffic in Uganda. Finish by taking a critical look at transparency in microfinance and Kiva’s responsibility with regards to transparency.
Compiled by Kathrin Gerner, KF16, Rwanda
This week, you have no fewer than 14 new articles to choose from on the Kiva fellows blog: Let the fellows take you along on borrower visits across the world. Learn how Kiva field partners expand the reach of microfinance in Rwanda, fill the microfinance donut hole in Sierra Leone and improve social performance in Uganda. Find out what poverty is like in urban Tajikistan and rural Burkina Faso. Get inspired by one of the creative ways to bring renewable energy to the developing world in the form of a soccer ball. And finally, watch a video of “Why We Kiva” to get a glimpse of why Kiva fellows jump at the opportunity to be thrown half way around the world to work with Kiva’s many local field partners.
Last week our internationally-scattered Kiva Fellows introduced us to some of the men and women that compose the sixty countries in which Kiva works. From the woman in Cameroon who represents the strength of her nation; to the Phillipino men that must migrate from their country to make a living; to the young men and women of Uganda who show us a glimpse of raw entrepreneurialism and hope. We also see how a nation’s people are brought together, whether by a common and incredible credit culture in Nicaragua, or by the dream for Togolese roads to one day connect people, markets, and credit throughout the country. From roads to remittances, Fellows learn there is more to microfinance than world markets and interest rates, and that human factors are tipping the scales of success for microfinance in all corners of the world.
Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky
Kiva Fellows observed Earth Day by sharing projects initiated by their partner microfinance institutions and host countries and by celebrating Kiva.org’s first batch of “Green Loans”. The upbeat mood also extended to anniversary parties at MFIs in Jordan and Armenia, enthusiastic endorsements to travel to Colombia, and reporting on a great opportunity for Kiva clients in Mongolia. Fellows also visited with borrowers in the Philippines, South Africa, and Armenia, and took us on a typical commute in Mexico City. All in all, a very busy week as members of KF14 wind down their time in the field.
By Kaajal Laungani, KF12 Philippines
During our discussion, Mike mentioned something that I had thought a lot about prior to applying to the Kiva Fellows Program – the concept of being satisfied and feeling grateful. When he would ask his audiences if they had enough time, money, love or energy, most would flatly respond with a NO. I had observed similar sentiments through my interactions with people back home in California.
When I returned to Bohol, I thought it would be interesting to see how Kiva clients responded to the same questions. Before you read on, think about how you would respond to the following questions: Do you have enough time? love? money? energy?
By Kaajal Laungani, KF12 Philippines
It was a typical bright and sunny morning as I walked down the Talibon Pier towards the tiny boat that would take me island hopping for the day. I was greeted by six smiling loan officers already seated inside the boat; they watched as I maneuvered myself down steep sloping rocks, balanced on a beam to cross the water, and finally jumped onto the boat that would take me on an incredible forty-five minute ride through the Philippine Sea…
After a few stops and many laughs, we arrived at Nocnocan Island – a tiny island that is only accessible by boat. We pulled up on the shore and walked through a maze of homes and shops, the alleys approximately three and a half feet wide. At the cluster meeting house, where the CEVI borrowers gather on a weekly basis, I was able to learn about island life and how the microfinance loans were making an impact on the Nocnocan community.
Mindblank! Recently I have been at a loss for words, and haven’t felt so compelled to share anything on the blog. Instead I decided to focus my efforts on producing a video of my time in the field as a Kiva fellow. One of the most amazing parts of being a Kiva fellow is the beautiful meetings you have with microfinance clients. In these sessions you have the opportunity to chat with borrowers about anything and everything. At the end of an interview we all commonly ask borrowers what are their hopes and dreams for the future.
By Joanne Gan, KF12 (Indonesia) and KF13 (Philippines)
If you asked me what I have learned about microfinance during my Kiva Fellowship, I wouldn’t know where to start. I have learned that running a social business comes with its share of challenges. I have learned that technology will pave new ways for the future of microfinance. I have learned that the best microfinance organizations have their clients at the heart of all their activities. I could go on and on about my impressions of microfinance from the last six months…but in my final blog post, I will spare you. Instead, below I share with you my 5 favorite images (from the 1,667 photos I’ve taken here) of microfinance at work.
By Joanne Gan, KF13, Philippines
Since arriving in the Philippines in early November, just in time for the holiday season, I have been to my fair share of parties. None of them, however, quite compare to the event I attended this past weekend in Cauayan, as the Project Dungganon branch office here celebrated its annual Foundation Day.
By Joanne Gan, KF13, Philippines
Dream big. Do you want to pay for your daughter’s university education? Do you want to throw a celebration for your son’s wedding? Do you want to make significant improvements to your house? Even if you are poor, these dreams can be possible through financial planning.
In our first week as Kiva trainees we were taught that microloans are not intended for the very poorest of the poor. Microfinance institutions target the unbankable poor, those who can benefit from a loan for an income-generating activity. There is another level of poverty below that, those who need emergency help for basic human needs. Many MFIs develop alternative services for this segment of the population. At CCT, one of Kiva’s partners in the Philippines, they have started a sustainable farm for street dwellers: Kaibigan (“Friend”) Village. (more…)
By Joanne Gan, KF13, Philippines
Singing and videoke are a large part of the Filipino culture, as I have discovered over the past month and a half while working here. In my first week at the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), I was taken out by staff members to a nearby lounge – and being my first time there (as with all new patrons), was invited on to the stage to sing with the live band. Let’s just say my rendition of “California Gurls” does not quite compare to Katy Perry’s.
Since that first week, some of my most memorable experiences have involved videoke and singing, and I’d like to share a few of them here…
Today, in the wee hours of the morning, American shoppers queued up outside their favorite stores, waiting anxiously to get the holiday season’s best deals. As Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the USA, and is one of the most highly-trafficked days of the year for U.S. malls….I also found myself at the mall this Friday…though this mall was in the Philippines.
In the U.S., there is a great deal of concern about hidden fees from financial service providers. “Read the fine print!” we are warned, because this is where fees and special conditions hide.
In a small village in Antique Province in the Philippines, I witnessed an entirely different approach. (more…)
At a busy center meeting, a woman waits, among 50 other women, for her turn to meet with her loan officer and make a weekly loan repayment. In a different village in the Philippines, one woman collects repayments from her 50 other center members, then travels the distance to the nearest commercial center to make the weekly repayment for the entire group at a bank. Now, imagine a scenario where a borrower can simply go to a retailer in her village and make her loan repayment by text message. Sound interesting?
In a rural area served by NWTF – where mobile banking could prove a useful solution for borrowers (more…)