Aug 18, 2016 KG Kyrgyzstan

In December 2007, two things happened almost simultaneously: 1.) I enrolled in a Finance and Applied Mathematics dual-degree program at the University of Auckland and; 2.) Financial markets all over the world crashed overnight This naturally meant that my entire tertiary education revolved around the recession. I spent many nights using the benefit of hindsight to build financial models that could’ve predicted the timing of America’s housing bubble burst. For one of my favourite courses, we had to perform investment analysis and research before picking a ten-stock portfolio on Google... Continue Reading >>


Aug 10, 2016 GO Global Update

I am writing this blog from a cafe in Jaen, Peru. By my estimation I am the only white person in the entire city. I’ve come to this conclusion on account of not seeing anyone overtly non-Peruvian and being regularly stared at with great skepticism. Obviously, I have no qualms about being in such a scenario – it’s simply something I have never experienced. The first month and a half of my fellowship was spent in Cusco, Peru, a city stocked with foreign travelers making their way to Macchu Picchu, Canyon de Colca, Lake Titicaca or enjoying the nearby attractions. Cut to Jaen, Peru, a city of... Continue Reading >>


Aug 9, 2016 MX Mexico

As a Kiva Fellow on my own in a new country, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. One of which, the Marketplace Tech podcast, has a game called Silicon Tally. Every week on Silicon Tally, the host and a guest try to guess the significance of numbers from that week’s tech news headlines that have been stripped from their context. Here’s my version, Mexico Tally, with this week’s focus on Sistema Biobolsa. The numbers to guess are… 17, 196, 6%, 11, $260, $28-$40, 2.4 million+ While you prepare your guesses, I’ll provide a bit of background. Sistema Biobolsa (Biobolsa) is a social enterprise... Continue Reading >>


Aug 9, 2016 GO Global Update

Standing at a whopping 6 feet 2 inches tall, with kind eyes and a warm, toothy grin, Yessaya Lyimo is quite the presence in any room. He is the first person I met in Tanzania, and has probably been the most influential in making my time here a safe, engaging, and enjoyable one.
Yessaya at this desk in the office
  Since the moment he spotted me (not a difficult task, but hey) in the steamy arrivals hall of the Dar International Airport, Yessaya has taken me under his wing, and treated me like a child of his own.... Continue Reading >>


Aug 7, 2016 TJ Tajikistan

Last month I had an opportunity to meet two Kiva borrowers in Khujand, Tajikistan’s second largest city, a city with a long and rich history. Both borrowers are young and ambitious women. Both of their loans were facilitated by one of Kiva’s partners in the country, IMON International. Mavjuda, who just turned 20, is currently studying in a medical school with a dream of becoming a midwife and eventually opening her own private clinic for women. When we met at one of IMON’s offices in the city, Mavjuda was shy at first, but she began to smile and speak more freely when sharing her... Continue Reading >>


Jul 30, 2016 GO Global Update

I can’t read anything. That was the first daunting realisation that hit me as my airport shuttle found a spot in Bishkek’s morning traffic jam. Before moving to Kyrgyzstan as a Kiva Fellow, I had not lived and worked in a country where the official language was not english. In the capital, Bishkek, russian is widely spoken while the native, kyrgyz is prominent in the south. When you’re traveling for pleasure, it is easy to get by with only a handful of useful local words like gelato, bratwurst and phở. Here I was, learning russian Microsoft Excel formulas and trying to do my grocery shopping... Continue Reading >>


Jul 29, 2016 GO Global Update

I arrived in Dar es Salaam in early June, a hot and sweaty mess, after 24 hours of flying time. It is my first time on the continent, meaning that every sight, smell, and experience is a new one for me. This has thus far made for an incredibly interesting, challenging, but ultimately enriching experience. While I have had moments where I have questioned my decision to embark on this journey (several hours on an over-packed dala dala, or local bus, in traffic will do things to your head), I have also experienced some seriously incredible, out-of-this-world moments, that reaffirm why I... Continue Reading >>


Jul 27, 2016 GO Global Update

In anticipation of my fellowship in Peru, I hopped on the computer and began taking a look at potential living situations. All fellowships carry a certain level of ambiguity with them, so signing month-long leases generally doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Fellows are frequent visitors of temporary housing sites such as Couchingsurfing, Airbnb, Homeaway, Hostelrefuge.com, etc. While browsing airbnb.com, I found a private room with all the necessary amenities and a 15-minute walk from work. For just ten dollars a night, I figured it would suffice. Twenty minutes after booking the room, I... Continue Reading >>


Jul 18, 2016 HT Haiti

Outside of Haiti, little is known about these amazing and courageous women who oftentimes put their lives at risk every day to provide a better future for their families. A “Madan Sara” is a businesswoman who will travel to rural regions in the country to buy local goods and bring them to the city markets to sell. Normally, we find two types of Madans Sara: those who are wholesalers and those who work in the retail business by reselling large stocks in smaller portions. It is a profession that is normally passed on from mothers to daughters, and in many occasions...
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Jul 18, 2016 KE Kenya

The majority of Kenyans in rural areas are completely reliant on natural sources for all of their water needs; this includes bathing, washing clothes, cooking, and drinking. Unfortunately, these sources of water are in no way purified or fit for human consumption. Therefore, before it can be consumed, the water must be boiled to kill bacteria. This is an arduous process that not only requires time and money, but also has a lasting environmental impact – as coal is the source of heat for heating the water. Enter Evidence Action – a Kiva partner with a solution that addresses all three issues... Continue Reading >>


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