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

1 April 2011 at 00:13 7 comments

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Where Kiva Fellows actually spend their time (Indonesia pictured)

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 (here and here) represented a change of pace? Think again!

Frolicking at Foreign Monuments
Country: Armenia / Fellow: Caree Edson (KF14)

While masquerading as a Kiva Fellow in Armenia, Caree is actually spending her time decorating ancient monuments and historical sites.

Safaris in Swaziland
Country: South Africa / Fellow: Alexis Ditkowsky (KF14)

Why work on deliverables when you can be hanging out with rhinos? The alleged “border run” is a favorite work-avoidance tactic for Kiva Fellows.

Pretending to be a Princess
Country: Cambodia / Fellow: Stephanie Sibal (KF14)

Not only does Stephanie spend all day dressed up as a Khmer Princess, she also documents her transformation in professional Cambodian glamour shots.

Going out into the field but only if there’s food involved
Country: Mexico / Fellow: John Farmer (KF14)

One Kiva Fellow does actually meet with borrowers, but only if there’s food involved. John followed up his recent visit to a tamaleria with a very important stop at the ice cream shop.

Staying Hydrated
Country: Ghana / Fellow: Mei-ing Cheok (KF14)

Mei-ing takes her health and hydration very seriously. Fortunately, she has discovered the wholesome goodness of Star beer, which she claims has prevented heat strokes on many an occasion.

Jungling and Rivering
Country: Uganda / Fellow: Nila Uthayakumar (KF14)

Nila was intrigued by the similarities between her name and the infamous River Nile, which proved to be as good an excuse as any to leave the office. She’s since been investigating the coincidence by traipsing through tropical forest and lounging by the river’s source in Jinja, Uganda.

It’s getting hot in here
Country: Sierra Leone / Fellow: David McNeill (KF14)

Did you know it’s hot in Sierra Leone? Like, really hot? Fortunately, David planned ahead and packed a hammock. Good luck to anyone who tries to pry him from it in the middle of the day.

Karaoke in Chiclayo
Country: Peru / Fellow: Sherrise Pond (KF14)

Sherrise spends most of her free time entertaining the residents of Chiclayo with her tone-deaf singing at Karaoke bars all around town. As Sherrise has been heard to say, “Any time of the day or night, it’s time to pass the mic!”

Watching the Wheels
Country: Rwanda / Fellow: Adam Cohn (KF14)

Adam has chosen to indulge in the Rwandan pastime of lying by the side of the road, watching traffic go by. Adam prefers his choice spot above Lake Burera to staring at his laptop at the MFI head office, but plans to leave just in time to catch a flight to Bangkok in May.

Always Ready for Winter
Country: Bolivia / Fellow: Clara Vreeken (KF14)

Clara’s been wearing a winter hat since her first day in Bolivia and chances are pretty good that she won’t remove it until long after she leaves. (She’s discovered that Bolivia can be surprisingly cold and you never know what the weather will be like in the Netherlands.)

Mud Man
Country: Colombia / Fellow: John Gwillim (KF14)

For centuries, locals near the Cartagena/Barranquilla mud volcano have warned tourists about the the mud’s transformative properties but John just wouldn’t listen. They fear that he’s become the latest incarnation of “Mud Man”, destined to aimlessly roam the countryside until the mud finally washes off.

Life of Leisure
Country: Nicaragua / Fellow: Karen Gray (KF14)

Karen is taking her Kiva Vacation, er, Fellowship very seriously. From eating cheese to smoking cigars to just being a vaquera on horseback, she’s loving the opportunity to kick back, relax, and practice her español.

Let’s go fly a kite
Country: Benin / Fellow: Gareth Davies (KF14)

Aside from trying to keep his head above water while running the Kiva operations at his MFI, Gareth is testing out new eco-friendly travel methods which he hopes will “take-off” in Benin.

Playing on the Playa in Peru
Country: Peru / Fellows: Geeta Uhl (KF14) & Noreen Giga (KF14)

Geeta was sick of the torrential rains in Ayacucho and Noreen couldn’t stand the crowds in Lima, so they decided to stay put at the Playa San Bartolo. These super Fellows are making great progress on their Peruvian tans!

And an epic update from Lisa in West Timor:

What’s the point of being on an island if you can’t go surfing all the time?
Country: Indonesia / Fellow: Lisa Skowron (KF14)

Lisa writes, “Sorry to break the news to you, but there has been some fallacy in my past blog posts about my ‘experiences in the field.’ I arrived in Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia in late January bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to make a difference in the world working with TLM. However, I found that Edwin Au-Young (KF13) had already done all the work and TLM was running like an all-star, well-oiled machine. So what is a girl to do in that scenario after trekking 9,519 miles from Chicago? Surf!

The next morning I took the ferry out to Rote, an island 2 hours off the coast of West Timor, and began practicing my surfing skills. Now that I’ve spent 99.9% of my time in Indonesia surfing (sorry Kiva!), I’ll be competing in the Oakley Pro 11 in Bali. I hope to make the highlights reel with my wicked backhand re-entry!! Win or lose, at least I’ll get to spend the week partying it up!”

Plus more pictures from “the field”:

Indonesia (by Lisa Skowron)

Mexico (by John Farmer)

Cambodia (by Stephanie Sibal)

Sierra Leone (by David McNeill)

Ghana (by Mei-ing Cheok)

Uganda (by Nila Uthayakumar)

Swaziland (by Alexis Ditkowsky)

Colombia (by John Gwillim)

Nicaragua (by Karen Gray)

Bolivia (by Clara Vreeken)

Armenia (by Caree Edson)

Rwanda (by Adam Cohn)

Peru (by Sherrise Pond)

Benin (by Gareth Davies)

Peru (by Geeta Uhl and Noreen Giga)

Entry filed under: Africa, Americas, Armenia, Benin, blogsherpa, Cambodia, Colombia, East Asia & the Pacific (EAP), Ghana, Indonesia, KF14 (Kiva Fellows 14th Class), Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

In Peru, the race for President heats up “The Good Family”

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