My Motorcycle Diary from Guayaquil

6 November 2009 at 13:45 10 comments

By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

Last week, I blogged about D-MIRO’s influence in the peri-urban zones of Guayaquil.  There is no way to describe the dedicated D-MIRO staff members and the lengths they go to reach those marginalized from the traditional financial system. So I opted to film a sample day! Here is “My Motorcycle Diary”:

Fun Facts about Ecuador:

  1. Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar.  In 2000, Ecuador discontinued their 116-year-old currency (the sucre) in order to “rein in runaway inflation, encourage investment and reverse capital flight”.  Many locals were unhappy about the switch.  The current president, Presidente Correa was a critic of dollarization, but he acknowledges that it would be more harmful to the economy to change back to the sucre. 
  2. Until it rains in Cuenca, there are mandatory power outages in Ecuador!  Guayaquil (the city I am working in) currently has power outages everyday from 7 to 11 AM and from 1 pm to 4 pm (luckily D-MIRO has a generator!).  Each zone in the country has similarly scheduled power outages.  This will continue until it rains near Cuenca (a city 150 miles away from Guayaquil).  The dam near Cuenca (“Represa Hidroeléctrica Daniel Palacios”) is responsible for generating the majority of Ecuador’s hydroelectricity. 
  3.  Fingerprint identification is preffered.  Many organizations (including D-MIRO) ask hourly employees to clock-in to work using their finger print (see minute 0:43 of video)
  4. You never have to think  about what to wear to work.  Ecuador’s labor laws state that all businesses must have a uniform for their employees.  During the lunch hour, groups of co-workers dine together in coordinated business wear.  I have 3 of D-MIRO’s uniform polos!
  5. Ecuadorians have major karoake skills.  Rather than coffee shops on every corner, there are karoake bars everywhere!   There are no stages, everyone remains seated at their table while the restaurant manager passes along the microphone. Karoake is an actual art form, the country is filled with potential “American Idol” talent.
  6. Smile, you are on camera! The Guayaquil airport has an employee dedicated to filming every person entering the country from an international destination!  When departing Guayaquil’s “terminal terrestre”, the secure bus companies also have employees that walk around filming each passenger.

Kimia Raafat is a Kiva Fellow (KF9) at a new Kiva partner, D-MIRO  in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  If you would like to know more about D-MIRO please visit the Partner page or Lend!

Entry filed under: All, Ecuador. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Verb rules and road duels The Most Bizarre Client Interview (Part 2 of 2)


  • […] Preparing for my first borrower visit in the US, I retired my list of Spanish microfinance terms, exited Kiva Headquarters and walked 7 blocks to Georgia’s event space, the whole time I kept thinking of my parallel experiences in South America. In my head I compared the cemented sidewalks of San Francisco to the unpaved roads of Guayaquil (Ecuador), the social-media savvy beautician to the homelier “Chipas” vendor in Asuncion, and the subway ride on BART to my motorcycle journeys. […]

  • 2. Ed Coambs  |  13 November 2009 at 02:37

    What a ride,

    do you still feel it in your back because I sure do. It looks like you are having a good time.

    Nothing like a dusty road to get you ready for a borrower visit.


  • 3. Thomas Gold  |  9 November 2009 at 17:50

    Awesome video Kimia, seems like Josh has serious competition now on Fellow diary videos!!
    Cheers from DR

  • 4. Haiyang  |  9 November 2009 at 12:54

    Those Ecuadorians don’t know what they’re up against when it comes to Kimia and KARAOKE! Stay safe in those EXTRA small work polos 😉 haha

  • 5. Hami Raafat  |  8 November 2009 at 19:21

    Hi Kimi,

    Interesting video, Seems like your days are full of advanture. It was good to see different parts of the city. It seems like the people are very nice and friendly.


  • 6. Emily Enberg  |  8 November 2009 at 04:24

    You are LOVIN that song kimsababe!! I dont blame you though…its a good one! Will and I think the video is great!! You are muy bueno!! Keep it up!! I want to go to that taco place when I come visit!

  • 7. evacwu  |  7 November 2009 at 22:59

    Awesome video like everyone else said! I love the clips of the MFI staff and also the reference to turkeys being an obstacles. At a celebration for HSPFI project officers just a few days ago someone was telling me how pavos were really mean, so Filipinos much prefer to keep/eat chicken! 😀

  • 8. J.T.  |  7 November 2009 at 16:38

    I wonder what the Ecuadorians think about our government spending and how it is tanking the dollar….inflation must be bad there and it’s going to get worse. Return of the sucre?

  • 9. Julie  |  7 November 2009 at 08:52

    Oh my god Kimia!! Your mad video skills puts us all to shame!! Awesome, awesome job 😀 plus nice reference to “The Motorcycle Diaries,” a great movie…

  • 10. Zach Weismann  |  6 November 2009 at 15:00

    Wow what a great video! You guys are doing great!

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