By Kate Bennett, KF15 Ecuador / KF16 Perú

After my first placement in Ecuador, I thought I knew living and working in South America- three months in Ica, Perú proved me wrong. New (and delicious) food, a drastically different (and drier) climate, and wonderful new friends, coworkers, and chicha-vending Kiva borrowers showed me another side of South America’s many amazing countries and cultures. As I phase out of my second fellowship back into the real world, I want to share these photos, and photos from my first placement in Ecuador, with you lenders and give thanks to KFP and Perú for an amazing fellowship experience! Click the photos to see them enlarged!

My first week in Ica, Perú. If you thought Perú didn't do desert, guess again. With my coworkers on my last day at Kiva Partner Caja Rural Señor de Luren Kiva Borrower Marisela shows off her Christmas wares, including dolls, shawls and hats. She crochets all the fabrics herself and makes the dolls by hand. If you find yourself locked out of your room on a Thursday during lunch hour, as I did during my first month in Ica, Perú, look to Paredes to help you get back in. Isabel Paula was my favorite neighborhood chicha morada vendor (chicha morada is a delicious, traditional corn-based juice with pineapple, cloves and cinnamon) in Ica, Perú. Turns out she's a successful Kiva borrower, too! Kiva borrower Lilia runs a successful book store- but she also sells pick-me-ups like Inca Cola, Perú's most popular beverage (though it's possibly tied with chicha) Choza houses outside of Camaná, Perú- choza, or reed, houses last up to five years in Camaná's arid climate, but by no means are they permanent. We visited two Kiva borrowers living in homes like these. A Caja Rural Señor de Luren out post in a small town in Perú. Caja Luren shares offices with one of the more traditional national financial institutions in Perú, which allows it to expand access to microfinance to many previously under-served populations A Kiva borrower smiles for her photo in Parcona, Perú During a trip to Cusco, a shot of some of the incredible, traditional textiles of highland Perú Kiva borrower María Victoria in Ica, Perú takes a break from cooking (she's making ceviche for a dinner party of 100!) to talk to me during a borrower verification Kiva takes Machu Picchu by storm My "host-grandma" Bertha in Ica, Perú. Apart from being a constant source of support, warmth and humor in a new country, Bertha taught me all kinds of important phrases in Spanish, like "picaflores" (womanizer) and "¿qué es este tono que estás empleando?" (what's that tone you're taking with me?!)

Kate Bennett (KF16) is thrilled to be working in Ica, Peru with Kiva Field Partner Caja Rural Señor de Luren. For more on Kate’s experiences with Caja Rural Señor de Luren or life in Peru, follow her work here.


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Kate Bennett Prior to working with Kiva, Kate lived in Quito, Ecuador working in environmental management as a consultant for USAID implementing partners in the global south. After earning her B.A. in Political Economy, Postcolonial History, and Development from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in January 2010, she pursued a practice-based understanding of effective tools in development through work with New York based social change organizations and grassroots nonprofit organizations in Guatemala. Kate worked previously with Kiva as a Kiva Fellow in Ecuador and Peru, which fomented her commitment to microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation.