Solb! 21 Centers, 21 Meals, 1 Day in Antique

18 November 2010 at 15:00 1 comment

“Solb” or “solve” is Filipino slang for “problem solved,” and typically said upon finishing a big meal. My problem (hunger) is solved, and I am full.

Was I ever solb last Friday…

I tagged along with staff from Ahon sa Hirap (ASHI) to visit 21 centers in Antique Province in the Philippines. ASHI members meet at centers every week to make payments, apply for new loans and discuss any issues with an ASHI Development Officer. The centers are also a place for members to cook together, plan special activities and lend each other financial and emotional support.

Every year ASHI holds competitions for the Best Center Hall, in which the most organized, most unified and most structurally sound centers win special recognition from ASHI.

For the judging day, we piled into a jeepney and hit the road early, in order to hit all 21 centers before nightfall.

I had been advised beforehand to get a good night’s sleep and to eat a light breakfast, because every center would prepare food and refreshments for us.

A staff member "judges" the sweet potatoes

The centers did not disappoint. That’s 21 meals, folks!

At each stop, ASHI staff introduced themselves and the center chief spoke about the center hall. On more than one occasion, I was asked to give an impromptu speech to the members. This was only a little bit terrifying:

I loved seeing the special touches that each group gave to their center. Some had started gardens with vegetables and medicinal herbs, others had built playgrounds and indoor toilets.

All of the Antique members were incredibly warm, outgoing, and determined to overfeed me. The famous Filipino hospitality in action…


A group of members with Kiva Fellow Casey


Interested in village banking? Read more about Ahon sa Hirap, a Philippines-based replication of Grameen Bank. You can also lend to Marites, an ASHI member and fish seller from Antique:

Casey Koppelson is a Roaming Kiva Fellow currently at Ahon sa Hirap in the Philippines. She recently completed a KF12 fellowship at Opportunity Fund in the United States.

Entry filed under: Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI), KF12 (Kiva Fellows 12th Class), KF13 (Kiva Fellows 13th Class), Philippines. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment

  • 1. freecallsphilippines  |  22 August 2011 at 23:40

    this is a good project… educational and meaningful. and i can imagine just how “solb” u were! Hope that this cause continues to get the support that it does…

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