Stories tagged with Bolivia

Dec 12, 2012 BO Bolivia

Any Kiva Fellow will tell you that visiting Kiva borrowers is one of the most satisfying parts of our experience. This is our moment to go beyond the borrower photographs and short biographies on the Kiva website. We greet borrowers by shaking hands and kissing cheeks, we sit in their homes, we walk through their fields, we touch the garments they sew and taste the baked goods from their ovens, we learn the names of their cows, and we try to make their children smile.

These are moments when we transcend the digital world and our Kiva connections become human.

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Nov 11, 2012 BO Bolivia

“Do you know the real San Severino?” asked the inebriated man next to me on the bus back to Cochabamba. “The real San Severino!”

I wasn’t too sure exactly what he meant; the real San Severino died over 1500 years ago. “Well, um, I know he was a saint, from Europe I think, who brings the rains…” I stumbled but tried my best to answer him.

“Bah! No one knows the real San Severino!” he blustered.

After a moment the question came again: “Do you know...

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Nov 11, 2012 BO Bolivia

Agriculture has long been the anchor for the people of land-locked Bolivia. As a testament to the region’s horticultural richness, the number of foods originating here is impressive: potatoes, chili peppers, peanuts, pineapple, kidney beans, manioc, quinoa… foods we all know and should love.

You say potato, I say potahto: Cultivar diversity on display in a Bolivian market

And nowhere else in Bolivia is farming as vital as in the Central...

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Nov 11, 2012 BO Bolivia

Todos Santos in Bolivia: Andean and Christian syncretism

Luckily I’m here in Bolivia for one of the most important celebrations of the year so I jumped at the chance to witness the Todos Santos holiday up close and personal.  My previous knowledge was limited to piecemeal notions imported from Mexico, but here in Bolivia this special celebration takes on its own particular traditions dating back centuries and is deeply rooted in Andean cosmology.

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Oct 10, 2012 BO Bolivia

In the past month, I’ve worn my soles thin pounding the pavement visiting Kiva borrowers in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. I’ve come to love and trust the Kiva microfinance institutions (MFI’s) I’m working with here and would recommend them hands down to any prospective borrower out there.

Yet everywhere I go I can’t help but notice the seemingly endless storefront banners offering cheap credit, personal loans, instant money advances.  In large cities and small towns I see consumer banks, community cooperatives, microcredit institutions, pawn brokers...

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Oct 10, 2012 BO Bolivia

By Peter Soley, KF19, Bolivia

The Tilted Life in Lofty La Paz

Landing at the La Paz International Airport in El Alto leaves one breathless; the thin air is immediately manifest.  At nearly 13,000 feet (4000 m), La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. The lower-altitude Sucre remains the official capital, but La Paz is the de facto power center in the country housing both the executive and legislative branches of government.

La Paz is blessed with a magnificent setting: the austere altiplano perched far...

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Aug 8, 2012 GO Global Update

A cookstove vendor (and Kiva borrower!) in Burkina Faso – Diana Biggs, Burkina Faso

Through motivating stories, informative videos, intriguing sound bytes and interesting first-hand accounts, this week’s update is quite the smorgasbord of stories from the field.  Through accounts of first business loans and stories about successful community banks, Fellows in Georgia and Peru show us the effects of our loans; through sights, sounds and narratives, Fellows in...

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Aug 8, 2012 BO Bolivia

On my last post I outlined some of the difficulties of working and living in Bolivia. Marches, protests, and strikes from nearly every sector of the population make it hard for any organization to conduct business here in La Paz and its surrounding areas. Yet there are plenty of Kiva’s partners that manage to do a great job despite any and all local challenges.

Field meeting of the “Costeñitas” group in Senkata, along with loan officer Remedios (...

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Jul 7, 2012 KH Cambodia

Ceviche and chicharron at a festival on Peru’s National Ceviche Day – Eduarda Carmo Vaz, Peru

As we begin to get a feel for our new placements and our new countries, we Fellows have also begun to ponder items ranging from local business realities to simply why we love what we do.  The nine posts in this update give a great deal of insight into the work of a Fellow, local culture in the locations in which we are placed, and most importantly,...

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Jun 6, 2012 BO Bolivia

By Isabel Balderrama | KF17+18 | Bolivia

When thinking of the wide swath of qualities that make up a Kiva Fellow, one can be certain of the one trait all fellows possess: an unequivocal thirst for exploring unfamiliar territory.

A fellowship assignment presents us with the thrill of being given an opportunity to quench this thirst as it often sends us flying halfway across the world (and sometimes even further), thousands of miles away from our places of birth and comfort zones.

So here I find myself, on my second Kiva fellowship assignment with Kiva Fellows...

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