Posts tagged ‘Lome’

Who are these handsome devils?

Loan officer AMETEPE Kafui, who waited patiently for the foreigner while he made pretenses to know what he was doing with the camera.

Previous to the Kiva Fellowship, I worked for the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada’s federal tax department.  It was the only job I’ve ever had where I was reluctant to tell people what I did for a living.  While working for the Agency carries with it a certain stigma, the job itself can be described as people management; you learn to understand and quickly read your fellow citizen and how best to communicate with them, all the while recalling that you’re there to serve their best interests.

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14 March 2012 at 10:00 15 comments

The Sums of a Social Performance Certificate

Michael Slattery | KF 17 | Togo

Early on in my stay in Lomé I presented the Social Performance badge certificate awarded by Kiva to my microfinance institution WAGES.  I made enquiries and had a gilded frame made for the certificate at a local photography shop, and presented it to the Director of Women and Associations for Gains for Economic and Social (WAGES), Monsieur NASSIROU Ramanou.

Here we are at WAGES' headquarters in central Lomé. From left to right is M. AFO Kossi, Program Director, then M. NASSIROU Ramanou, Director General of WAGES, M. HOFFER Carine, Kiva Coordinator, the author with Canadian winter tan, and M. ASSANI-BENTHO Nasser, Projects Manager.

The certificate reflects two badges awarded earlier this year, Entrepreneurial Support and Facilitation of Savings, which recognize the services provided to WAGES’ clients that have specific social-economic impact.

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4 March 2012 at 04:12 6 comments

Lomé La Belle

Michael Slattery KF17 |Togo

A constant breeze flows across Lomé, day and night, alleviating the tropical heat.  It is a near constant 30 degrees Celsius at every moment of the day; only around the middle of the day when the sun is highest does the temperature rise. At this moment, people grow languid, traffic abates, eyelids droop, and it is time for the daily nap.

Solving the ills of social inequality requires a thoughtful environment.

Alternately, the beach beckons and seats under the palms fill with all sorts: office workers take off their jackets and sit next to dozing street vendors and down-and-outs while young couples eat together in intimate silence; all the while the breeze covers us in calm. (more…)

22 February 2012 at 12:21 18 comments

I Am Happiest When…

I began writing this blog on a scrap piece of paper just north of the Burkinabé/Ghanaian border. I had spent my morning walking across the border carrying a 40-pound pack and subsequently spending far too much money on a taxi into the nearest town. My Kiva Fellowship had ended a week and a half earlier, and I was sitting in a hot, dirty hotel room with a concrete floor, grimy walls, and inconsistent electricity. I was desperate for entertainment. I had finished the only book I brought on this three-week post-fellowship excursion, my computer was lifeless without the electricity to charge the battery, and my broken iPod seemed to be mocking me with its inaccessible entertainment. I was entirely alone. So, I took some time to process the last four and a half months.

Continue Reading 27 August 2010 at 10:03 4 comments

A Kiva Fellow’s Scrap Book

 
By Leah Gage, KF 10 in Ukraine & KF11 in Togo
 

Today is my last day as a Kiva Fellow. Kiva Fellows Class number 10 (or KF10) took me to Zaporozhye, Ukraine where I worked with Kiva’s field partner HOPE Ukraine; KF11 brought me here to Lomé, Togo, where I work with two different field partners, Microfund Togo and Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social, or WAGES. I can’t think of two countries more different, and I have loved and been challenged by both experiences equally. (more…)

20 August 2010 at 05:25 26 comments

“Il faut profiter, ein?”

This is as close as I can get to looking Togolese!

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

It’s amazing how identity can be so malleable. In a matter of hours, a person can be transformed from local to foreigner, fluent to fumbling, familiar to fascinating, and even from black to white. Anyone who has ever travelled even just a couple hours outside their hometown has experienced this shift. The change in identity may happen to varying degrees, but its unpredictability remains a constant.

In the past, I have often travelled to locations where my skin colour has conveniently allowed me to blend in. The mix of my Jamaican and British heritage has provided me with a variety of clever masks. I may appear to be Ecuadorian, Spanish, and even Moroccan depending on my location. Since my arrival in Lomé, however, I have done anything but blend in. (more…)

15 January 2010 at 07:09 4 comments

When the Road Ends…

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

Picture yourself on a bike riding along a beach. Nice image, isn’t it?

A typical main street in Lome

Now, swap the bike for a motorcycle fishtailing in the sand and replace the crashing waves with revving engines and honking cars. Add dust in your eyes, the smell of exhaust in your nose, and about 30 degrees of heat and you’ve come close to the daily journey of a loan officer in Lomé, Togo.

I know I’m not the first to blog about the difficult trails a loan officer must travel every day. However, many of the blog posts that have come before have been set in rural areas. Lomé, on the other hand, is the capital city of Togo, and home to over 700,000 people. It is an industrial center, a trade center, a travel center, and pretty much the central city in this small country. (more…)

1 January 2010 at 08:51

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