Posts tagged ‘liberia’

Update from the Field: World Happiness, Food Aid + When Beauty and Poverty Collide

Compiled by Allison Moomey | KF16 & KF17 | Bénin

Now there comes a time in every Kiva fellow’s life when… he or she begins contemplating, analyzing, and trying to make sense of the past few months’ experiences. We’ve learned how to navigate busy streets, seen joyful faces, and witnessed trials in the lives of clients. From transportation to foreign aid, we’ve gained a little insight, and many of us now have deeper poverty alleviation thoughts rolling around in our heads. While our fellowships may not have given us an answer as to how to sustainably develop a country’s economy, they have raised a lot of valuable questions for us to contemplate. Read this week’s posts to check out perspectives on the World Happiness Report from the country ranked lowest, reflections on aid, development and agriculture, creative transportation, and the reality of poverty amidst beautiful beach landscapes.

Continue Reading 17 April 2012 at 02:00 4 comments

Micro-Credit’s Dirty Little Secret

Ryan Cummings | KF 17 | Liberia

Cynthia and Maroline with their Bangladeshi host

All too often, when people talk about the positive impact of micro-credit, they focus exclusively on borrowers. While they are obviously a significant beneficiary of micro-credit, I have a dirty little secret for you: many other people benefit from micro-credit too.

There is an entirely different group of people who are having their lives changed for the better by the micro-credit movement. Who am I talking about? (more…)

4 March 2012 at 07:55 10 comments

Unusual Roles of a Kiva Fellowship

What do a woman, a priest, a diamond trader have in common with microfinance?

As a Kiva Fellow one has many roles like trainer, guest speaker, advisor and others but I never expected someone to think of me as a woman, a priest or a diamond trader… how did it happened?

Meeting a Microfinance Group in Monrovia

(more…)

27 April 2011 at 12:50 4 comments

Kiva Fellows by the Numbers

By David McNeill (Sierra Leone) and Adam Cohn (Rwanda), with lots of help from the 14th class of Kiva Fellows

It turns out that one thing Kiva Fellows seem to have in common is a love for data. With that, Kiva Fellows David and Adam polled the current fellows in the field on the costs of various necessities and niceties in their current placements. The numbers, which we humbly title the Kiva Fellows Index, give some good insight into the conditions in the far-flung places we now live and work.

Far from home

Kiva Fellows are in it for the long haul. On average, we’re 5,745 miles away from home, as the crow flies. The fellows who have trucked the farthest, at least by line of sight, are: Adam Cohn, who crossed 8,892 miles from Seattle, WA to Kigali, Rwanda; Caitlin Ross, who also went to Kigali from her home in Burlingame, CA, for a total of 9,417 miles; and the longest haul goes to Lisa Skowron, who flew 9,519 miles from her home in Chicago, IL to Kupang, Indonesia!

Internet
The first prize for the slowest Internet speed goes to Carlos Cruz in Liberia, with a close second and third for Claudine Emeott in Nepal and David McNeill in Sierra Leone. They experience speeds 10-100 times slower than in the US, making them thankful to the Kiva engineers who make Kiva.org one of the quicker websites to load. At these speeds video chatting is impossible, voice is dodgy if possible at all, and emails aren’t even guaranteed to work. Forget about watching videos on YouTube or listening to Internet radio. Having Internet access is quickly becoming almost as important as having electricity or indoor plumbing.

Weather
Many of us are serving in hot parts of the world without the blessing of air conditioning. The unlucky winners in this category are neighbors in West Africa – Carlos Cruz in Liberia and David McNeill in Sierra Leone. They survive high temperatures in the low 90’s (F) and lows that only get down to the upper 70’s or low 80’s (F). Carlos, we hope you’ve got a fan and electricity to run it like David does (most of the time).

On the other side of the spectrum, Amber Barger is struggling to keep warm in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where it dips down to -9 (F) at night. David would be happy to trade one of his hot sunny beaches for some of Amber’s ice!

Amber trying to stay warm on her unheated camel ride in Mongolia

Housing
Carlos Cruz got the sweetest deal on rent, with free housing courtesy of his host microfinance institution in Liberia. The runner up is Gustavo Visalli in Totonicapan, Guatemala. He pays only $100/month, and that includes electricity, a flush toilet, and all the black beans and eggs he can eat!

Gustavo cooking up his all-you-can eat buffet in his sweet house in Guatemala

Transportation
There are some definite advantages to working in developing countries. Most of us spend less than $1 getting to work each day riding buses, motorcycles, or other modes of public transportation. For David in Sierra Leone, a ride in the back of a car taxi to a town 2.5 hours away only costs $3.50 (there are four people squished in a seat made for three, though). Stephanie Sibal has the sweetest deal on transportation – her host organization in Phnom Penh, Cambodia provides her a car and driver to bring her in to work in the morning.

With the cost of oil on the rise, we did a quick poll of gas prices where we are serving. The highest price is in South Africa at $5/gallon. If you want the cheapest price, you’ll have to drive to Indonesia ($2.15/gallon) or Kyrgyzstan ($2.73/gallon).

Refreshment
For refreshment, Stephanie Sibal is a definite winner – she only has to pay 15 cents for a Coke served in a plastic baggie! The following people have a four-way tie for the cheapest beer at only $1 a bottle: Stephanie Sibal again (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), John Gwillim (Barranquilla, Colombia), Geeta Uhl (Ayacucho, Peru), and John Farmer (Mexico City, Mexico). For coffee, some people like John Farmer have the luxury of a nearby Starbucks in Mexico City, Adam Cohn can drink 100% local coffee at multiple Bourbon locations in Rwanda, while poor Noreen Giga is still searching for a good cup in Lima, Peru.

Stephanie enjoying her Bag-o-Coke in Cambodia

As you can see, some of life’s necessities are more accessible, while others are prohibitive, for those who relocate to the other side of the globe. If you’d like to look at our full spreadsheet of stats, you can see it here.
Have you found places where a Coke is incredibly expensive, or internet is mind-blowingly slow? Let us know in the comments!

14 March 2011 at 04:00 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

$3,000 Rent Anyone? Renta de 3,000 dólares? No, Gracias!

by Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF14, Liberia
Upon arriving to Liberia I started looking for a place to live, was just looking for a furnished apartment with nothing out of the ordinary… walked into a new building that was almost finished. The apartments included things like power 24/7, water, water heaters, bedroom set, TV, and a kitchen with gas stove, fridge and some cabinets… nothing out of the ordinary, right? Then I asked about the rent… how much? Three thousand dollars???

Despues de llegar a Liberia me dediqué a buscar un departamento, algo simple y sin lujos. Entré a un edificio que estaban renovando, los departamento tenían todo nuevo e incluían lo básico, electricidad, agua, calentador de agua, cama, closet, y la cocina tenia una estufa de gas, refrigerador y algunos gabinetes. Al parecer nada fuera de lo común… y la renta al mes es cuanto? Tres mil dólares???

Continue Reading 28 January 2011 at 20:00 11 comments

This, too, is Liberia

by EB Moore, KF12 Liberia

As I prepare to leave Liberia, I find that I’m at a loss for words to describe my feelings. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m letting some photos do the talking for me in this photo diary.

Continue Reading 29 October 2010 at 11:00

Older Posts


Get Involved!

Learn more about this blog and about Kiva Fellows

Visit Kiva.org

Apply to be a Kiva Fellow

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,348 other followers

Archives

Drawing from the Field

Kiva Blog Policy