Posts tagged ‘pictures’

Second Chances (Part 1)

There’s a certain amount of introspective review that happens near the end of a Kiva Fellow’s time in the field, as previous Fellows have written about self-discoveries in spirituality, competitiveness, and self-acceptance. We’ve all gained a better worldview, certainly. Witnessing extreme poverty, adjusting to life in a developing nation and participating in the small technological miracle of connecting Kiva Lenders and Borrowers can lead to some genuine soul-searching. I’ve learned an important life lesson and, at the risk of public humiliation; but ultimately hoping to a) cement this lesson to my own heart and b) encourage future Fellows, I’ll admit that due to my own ignorance and fear, I nearly missed out on one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Continue Reading 24 November 2011 at 05:15 14 comments

Pride & Poverty: A Photo Essay of Kiva Borrowers in Georgia

Ask any Kiva Fellow what the best part of their job is, and invariably you will hear, “Meeting Kiva Borrowers and hearing their stories.” It’s an incredible honor to be invited into borrowers homes and businesses to witness firsthand how a Kiva loan has helped to change and improve their lives. Spend a little time getting to know a borrower and you’ll be struck by two things- first, how amazingly hard they work and second, how proud they are to share the progress or product a Kiva loan has helped them to develop.

Continue Reading 26 October 2011 at 05:54 13 comments

Trust But Verify

By DJ Forza, KF16, Georgia

It was a gorgeous autumnal morning in Tbilisi, when we set out for Rustavi; Georgia’s third largest city. As we drove east towards Azerbaijan, I was struck by the dramatic change in scenery during our short 30 minute drive to deliver a Kiva training at one of Credo’s newest branch offices. Not only did we leave behind the verdant landscape, there were no charming cobblestone streets or European architecture to be found. Instead, we entered an urban desert and what seemed like hundreds of crumbling soviet-style cement apartment blocks and abandoned factories. The difference was shocking (and a bit depressing) to me. Georgia, of course, has many apartment blocks in every city, but Rustavi seemed to have little else, other than a used car lot and prision to complete the bleak picture.

Continue Reading 4 October 2011 at 08:22 12 comments

Update from the Field: Farewells, Mistaken Identities + Micro-Microfinance

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

We’ve officially hit the point in the Kiva Fellows cycle where the current batch says goodbye just as the latest group is getting their bearings at Kiva HQ. Fortunately, there are a number of posts this week to help us through the transition and cheer us up. If you’re interested in a comprehensive image gallery of the hot designs for share taxis in Rwanda, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also got stories about micro-micro-businesses in Sierra Leone, visiting research fellows in West Timor, and the intersection of medicine and microfinance in Bolivia. Plus, take long trips to the field in Armenia and Peru, and catch up on the impact of microloans in South Africa.

Sierra Leone Poda-Poda

Continue Reading 2 May 2011 at 00:38 4 comments

Sala Kahle: Saying Goodbye to KwaZulu-Natal

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Like most Fellows from Kiva’s 14th class, I am busily tying up the loose ends of my Fellowship. As much as I enjoyed my trips to the rural areas surrounding Richards Bay (although I wasn’t a huge fan of Richards Bay itself), I can’t say that I mind my current locale: the beach at Kommetjie, about an hour south of Cape Town. My Fellowship required a sustained burst of manic energy and proved to be an extraordinary mixed bag that was both incredibly challenging and rewarding. While I’m ready for a little R&R, I wouldn’t take back any part of the past three months, except perhaps for the multitude of yappy dogs that started barking at 5:30am each morning and harassed me on all of my walks. I definitely could have done without them!

Continue Reading 1 May 2011 at 12:20 5 comments

Share Taxis Around The World: The How, Why & Design

By Adam Cohn, Kiva Fellow KF14, Kigali, Rwanda

Share taxis around the world exhibit a variety of names, including Poda-Poda, Tro-Tro, Marshrutka, Jitney, Bemo, and Bush Taxi. Similarly, the colors and designs of the share taxis vary wildly, right down to this Justin Bieber minibus in Kigali, Rwanda.

Kiva Fellow Adam Cohn takes a look at how share taxis work, and shows photos of these colorful carpools from around the world.

Rwanda: That Bieber Fever

Continue Reading 26 April 2011 at 11:00 7 comments

Update from the Field: Earth Day, Celebrations + Exceeding Expectations

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.

Continue Reading 25 April 2011 at 02:45 4 comments

Spazas + Tuck Shops: Corner Stores in South Africa

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

South Africa enjoys an abundance of corner stores and they’re one of the most common businesses funded by Women’s Development Businesses (WDB) in southern KwaZulu-Natal. Corner stores run the gamut from selling a few things out of a home to setting up a small shelter by the side of the road to building a more sturdy structure to leasing a space in a building. They’re a very important source of goods in rural communities since it can be expensive and time-consuming to make a trip to town every time you need something.

Continue Reading 18 April 2011 at 02:52 4 comments

Update from the Field: Trash, Delicious Treats + Community Outreach

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Let’s take a moment to vicariously consume baked goods in Colombia, coffee in Nicaragua, tomatoes in Ukraine, and a traditional meal in Nepal. Once you’re sated, you can read about the dismal state of trash collection in Guatemala, the lives of borrowers in Bolivia, what “mobile” savings really means in Indonesia, and how Kiva’s partner MFIs all around the world are providing life-enhancing services and engaging with the community in meaningful ways.

Continue Reading 18 April 2011 at 00:40 4 comments

Update from the Field: Cute Pigs, New Toilets + Everything is Relative

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

It’s hard to believe but the current batch of Kiva Fellows has been in the field for over two months and most of us have only a few weeks left to go. We’re getting swept up in completing deliverables, making the most of our final month in country, and starting to plot our lives after Kiva. (Travel plans = fun. Applying for “real” jobs = less fun.) Fortunately, starting May 7, a brand new assortment of Fellows will be coming your way and a few KF14 veterans will be sticking around to show them the ropes. So stay tuned for more trips to the field, insights into local culture, contemplations about next steps, and stories of microfinance in action.

Continue Reading 11 April 2011 at 00:45 6 comments

Special Update from the Field: Beaches, Safaris + Cambodian Glamour Shots

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Kiva Fellows are nothing if not creative. We’ve gone to elaborate lengths to convince you that it can be hard to visit borrowers and that when we’re not trekking for miles, we’re doing elaborate calculations or dealing with databases and reporting. In truth, it’s all a front for an extended holiday from our regular lives. You thought our recent Carnival coverage represented a change of pace? Think again!

Continue Reading 1 April 2011 at 00:13 7 comments

Update from the Field: Social Quirks, Justin Bieber + Lots of Carbs

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

While it may have been a slower “official” news week than usual, I can assure you that the Fellows are keeping busy. One Fellow spent hours searching fruitlessly for borrowers in the jungle, another has been suffering from serious gastrointestinal issues (aren’t you glad he didn’t post about that?), and the rest of us have been plotting something very special for the end of the week. In the meantime, you can catch up on social quirks in Rwanda, transportation in West Timor, the importance of corn in Guatemala, and the latest from Mongolia all while taking a look at photos from South Africa. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 28 March 2011 at 03:58 6 comments

Photos from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Procuring your own transportation as a Kiva Fellow can be expensive, particularly when petrol hovers around $5/gallon. But while I miss the adventure of crowded taxis and mini-buses, I can go to the field on very short notice and have enough energy at the end of the day to update this very blog. So here’s the latest collection of photos from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, taken earlier today. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 23 March 2011 at 10:43 7 comments

Update from the Field: Fun Facts, Field Visits + Back to Basics

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

For many Fellows, this week was about getting back to basics: the borrowers. In between fun facts about Kiva Fellowships, doing database detective work, and reflecting on the internal dynamics of Kiva’s partner microfinance institutions, Fellows found themselves in the field again and again, much to their delight and often to the delight of borrowers. From Latin America to Africa to the Caucasus to Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, meet Kiva clients, learn about their businesses, and check out all of the great photos.

Continue Reading 21 March 2011 at 01:53 9 comments

Database Detective: South Africa Edition

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

I realize your interest may be waning based on the title alone but I encourage you to keep reading because not everything a Kiva Fellow does is as wild and crazy and emotionally rewarding as a borrower visit. But, as a Kiva Fellow, I aim to please so I’ve also included pictures from a recent trip to the field at the end of this post. Now there’s something for everyone – for those of you who want to geek out a little, I’ve got you covered, and for everyone else who just wants to be transported to South Africa for a minute in the middle of the workday, you’re taken care of, too.

Continue Reading 15 March 2011 at 05:36 9 comments

Update from the Field: Carnival, Collaboration + Cheese-Making

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

This past week was all about collaboration: Fellows coordinating across continents to profile entrepreneurs and organizations who believe International Women’s Day should be every day and community members coming together to celebrate Carnival in all of its elaborate glory. We learned about public health in Peru, making cheese and cigars in Nicaragua, the impact of climate change in Bolivia, and the challenges faced by a microcredit saleswoman in Guatemala. Life as a Kiva Fellow is busy as always!

Continue Reading 14 March 2011 at 00:45 8 comments

Update from the Field: Man’s Day, Singing Fellows + Learning How to Count

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

The Fellows will be covering International Women’s Day later this week but let’s take a moment to acknowledge its lesser-known cousin in Kyrgyzstan, “Man’s Day”. And while you’re appreciating culture and history in far-off places, take a trip to Peru and West Timor through photos, visit borrowers in Uganda and Rwanda through video, learn a little something about communicating in South Africa, and catch up on the latest from Liberia, Ghana, and Mexico (home to the “Singing Fellow”).

Continue Reading 7 March 2011 at 00:16 7 comments

The Meaning of “Now” in South Africa

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

In addition to the popular phrases “howzit?” (short for “how’s it going?”), “pleasure” (in place of “you’re welcome”), and “ach, shame” (which can emphasize just about anything from appreciation for an adorably cute dog to disappointment over your cricket team losing to acting as a general conversation filler), you’ll hear a lot of “just now” while traveling or living in South Africa.

Continue Reading 1 March 2011 at 10:21 81 comments

Update from the Field: Videos, Epic Commutes + Going Beyond Microfinance

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Another week, another incredible range of dispatches from around the world. Several Fellows told their stories with video and pictures while others took time to reflect on the state of microfinance as a global industry and in their respective countries. And what would a week in the field be without getting to know a few borrowers? Plus, scroll to the end of the post for pictures you may have missed the first time around.

Continue Reading 28 February 2011 at 00:38 10 comments

Last Week in the Field: “Christmas”, Trekking, Adversity + Good Company

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Members of the 14th class of Kiva Fellows have officially hit their stride. While we never know where the next dispatch will come from or what interesting topics the Fellows will cover next, we always know we’ll be transported, entertained, and edified. This past week, topics included “Christmas”, trekking to a remote village (with video!), handling adversity (including a serious car accident and stolen electronics), and enjoying the company of loan officers, borrowers, and community members. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 21 February 2011 at 02:17 12 comments

Next Steps for Kiva’s Partner in South Africa

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

You may or may not have noticed that posts from South Africa have been on the non-specific end of the spectrum. This is because Kiva’s first partner in South Africa, Women’s Development Businesses (WDB), is currently in a “pilot” stage. Both Kiva and WDB are figuring out the best processes and procedures for working together so that WDB can keep doing what it does best and Kiva and Kiva’s users can have the reporting they crave.

If you were eagerly awaiting lots of info from South Africa, this is the post for you! And if you just want to see happy pictures of loan officers and clients, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the page.

Continue Reading 17 February 2011 at 04:18 13 comments

First Borrower Visit (Take 350+)

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Readers of the Kiva Fellows Blog may be familiar with this outline:
- New Fellow arrives at placement
- Fellow goes on first borrower visit which involves bumpy roads and/or novel forms of transportation, questionable directions, meeting borrowers, and some unexpected form of hijinx
- Fellow returns home after a long day in the field both exhausted and exhilarated

Continue Reading 14 February 2011 at 05:37 17 comments

A Hand-Delivered Kiva Fellow

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

As many a Kiva Fellow will tell you, sometimes things just seem to work out and it makes up for all the times they don’t.

Case in point: I showed up for my first day at Women’s Development Businesses with mosquito bites all over my face, including one on my eyelid that made me look like I was suffering from some sort of paralysis. I didn’t have the correct adapter for my computer charger even though I bought it in South Africa. And I ran out of money on my pay-as-you-go 3G modem at noon so no Internet for the rest of the day.

Continue Reading 3 February 2011 at 04:48 15 comments

Drawings from Training and Greetings from Boston

By Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

You’ll be hearing a lot from the 14th batch of Kiva Fellows (KF14) in the next few months but I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself while my Internet is fast and my motivation to go outside is low (it’s well below freezing in Boston).

Continue Reading 18 January 2011 at 08:42 14 comments

Wait, What Do You Do Again?

By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru

As a Kiva Fellow, no two days are the same.  One morning I will wake up at 5am to try to visit a borrower before they head out to work, and the next I’ll be in the office uploading loans or training the Kiva team on how to take a great picture or write a journal worth reading.  In fact, as a Kiva Fellow, our job is so diverse that the Kiva staff creates long lists of things for us to do called deliverables.  My favorite on these “To Dos” is Borrower Verifications.  Essentially, we go into the field and do a spot check to make sure that information uploaded on the Kiva website is real.

(more…)

27 December 2010 at 05:00

Do the poor have dreams?/ A quoi rêvent les pauvres?

By Aurélie Dagneaux, KF11, Ecuador

One of my favorite questions when interviewing borrowers for new loans and journals (update on a loan), is: “What are your dreams and hopes for the future?”
Tough question, but on this one I always get an answer.
They all have dreams. YOU can help fulfill them.

Ma question préférée, lorsque j’interviewe des clients pour des nouveaux prêts ou pour des suivis de crédits existants, est : « Quels sont vos rêves pour le futur ? »
Question difficile, mais j’obtiens toujours une réponse.
lls ont tous des rêves. Et VOUS pouvez aider à les réaliser.

Continue Reading 10 June 2010 at 11:01 4 comments

Fear vs. delight: The two sides to getting your picture taken for Kiva

There are two responses Alidé’s clients in Benin have when asked to have their picture taken for Kiva: fear and delight.  Generally, both paths end with laughter and a lot of pictures of me, the Kiva Fellow assigned to Alidé.

Fear:  They say that while Benin has about 50% Christians and 40% Muslins, 95% of the population simultaneously practices Voodoo.  This means you can buy fétiches (magical objects like monkey skulls) at the market, and that you’ll encounter a number of clients who fear that having their picture taken might steal their soul. (more…)

2 April 2010 at 00:16 2 comments


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