Compiled by Chris Paci | KF16 & KF17 | Azerbaijan

Alex Connelly offers us a typically "light" Colombian "snack."

Alex Connelly offers us a typically "light" Colombian "snack."

The 17th class of Kiva Fellows was turned loose into the field on January 27th, nearly two months ago – and how long ago it seems! By this point, our intrepid fellows are really starting to get the hang of their placements, forming routines, powering through their workplans, and learning the ins and outs of the national cuisine. But a few members of KF17 have been living in their host countries for even longer, collecting wisdom and digging deeply into local life, and this week we’ve heard from several of them. Read on to gain insight into microfinance, poverty, and everyday life from our fellows in Colombia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. Once you’re back, come sail around Samoa to discover the difficulties of life in the South Pacific, then jump on the back of a Togolese motorbike to learn about the complexities and challenges that loan officers deal with every day.

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Medellin
Alex Connelly | KF17 | Colombia
Alex draws on over a year’s worth of experience living in the city of Medellin to dispel rumors about life in Colombia and share some of the most striking elements of life there.

Glitz and Glamour, Oil Wealth, and the Left-Behind of Baku
Chris Paci | KF16 & KF17 | Azerbaijan
In an update from oil-rich Baku, Chris drinks tea with an alleged former KGB spy and comes to an epiphany about the nature of poverty in his flashy, luxurious host city.

If it is Wednesday, it must be Eskişehir + Eskişehir Entrepreneurs
Kim Strathearn | KF16 & KF17 | Turkey
It’s Wednesday, which means Kim has another post for us in her series of branch office profiles, this one focusing on Maya’s Eskişehir office. She also introduces us to three Eskişehir entrepreneurs who have taken out Kiva loans from Maya.

Who are these handsome devils?
Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo
After three weeks shadowing the hard-working loan officers at his field partner WAGES, Michael reflects on the complexities of a loan officer’s job, which requires psychological insight, strong communication skills, and a lot of determination.

A Poverty of Opportunity: Different Ways to Be Poor
Adria Orr | KF17 | Samoa
In this post, Adria shares the realizations she’s come to regarding poverty in Samoa, a remote South Pacific country with few jobs, exports, industries, or opportunities.

Updates from the Past Month:
A New Perspective from Mexico, Second Chances for Borrowers + A Microfinance Medical Mission
Inspiring Field Partners, Cultural Adjustments + Girl Scout Cookies (No Wait, That’s Not Right)
Client Visits in Bethlehem, A New Partnership in Cameroon + A Peek Into a Loan Officer’s World

Plus more pictures from the past week:

The two sides of Medellin - Alex Connelly, Colombia

The two sides of Medellin - Alex Connelly, Colombia

The seaside Bulvar of Baku - Chris Paci, Azerbaijan

The seaside Bulvar of Baku - Chris Paci, Azerbaijan

A Turkish borrower sees her Kiva profile for the first time - Kim Strathearn, Turkey

A Turkish borrower sees her Kiva profile for the first time - Kim Strathearn, Turkey

A Togolese loan officer ready for action - Michael Slattery, Togo

A Togolese loan officer ready for action - Michael Slattery, Togo

A Samoan dock - Adria Orr, Samoa

A Samoan dock - Adria Orr, Samoa


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