Stories tagged with Kiva Fellow

Nov 11, 2015 UG Uganda
There’s nothing more essential to life than water. It composes over half of our human body and it is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell. However, what happens when this critical “ingredient” to survival is not clean? Unsafe drinking water can transmit harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites, all contributing to waterborne illness and disease.

Clean drinking water is not something I gave much thought to in U.S. It seemed to always be at hand, in the form of a water cooler, bottled water, or even just tap water. However, this basic commodity back home is something that very... Continue Reading >>
Oct 10, 2015 GT Guatemala
Around the majestic Lake Atitlán sits the small town know for its traditional weavings, San Juan La Laguna. I was graciously invited to learn about the weaving process from two borrowers who are part of the women’s cooperative Asociación Tz’utujil. Tz’utujil is the Mayan culture and language of those inhabitants who live around the lake. One Saturday morning, I took the 30-minute boat ride across the lake to see how this cooperative makes their weavings (scarves, table runners, shawls, bags, hammocks, etc.) from start to finish.

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May 5, 2015 CR Costa Rica
Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a lender to meet a borrower? Or a corporate partner to meet a field partner? I had the honor and privilege of being part of Kiva’s first-ever corporate trip to the field – Hewlett-Packard’s Matter to a Million Field Correspondent Trip. This was a three-day event consisting of visits to corporate partner HP’s Costa Rica office, to field partner Fundación Mujer’s office, and to borrowers’ homes. Throughout this trip, representatives from HP, Kiva, Fundación Mujer, and borrowers were all together - visiting, laughing, sharing stories, and...
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May 5, 2015 CR Costa Rica
María Isabel has lived on her farm for fifteen years. Before that, she lived in the capital, San José. It was a hard life trying to earn a living when she didn’t complete school. But on her farm, María Isabel has been able to thrive.

Cows on the Range

María Isabel owns nine dairy cows and milks them every day. Then, twice a day she makes cheese and sour cream. María Isabel has many clients in her community because her products are fresh and less expensive than the stores in the area. She made sure... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2015 CR Costa Rica
Last Friday, I was invited to the community assembly in La Suiza, Costa Rica. This assembly takes place every two years to vote for the Credit Committee’s Board of Directors. A credit committee is similar to a village bank in that it is responsible for assessing and approving loan requests, disbursing loans to borrowers, collecting loan payments, documenting all credit requests and exchanges, and monitoring borrower progress.
When I walked into the community space, the President of the Committee, Doña Ethel called me over to sit next to her. Doña Ethel has been part of the... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2015 CR Costa Rica
Daysi dreams of having her own restaurant. She pictures a comfortable place for families to come, enjoy, and eat. One day, she hopes to make her restaurant her sole source of income. 

Frying Plantain Chips

Daysi lives in an area where the paved streets are now rock, where many of the cement houses are now scrap metal, and where the garbage trucks seem to ignore the community. But within this neighborhood is Daysi’s house with an attached restaurant. On the way to visit Daysi, the loan... Continue Reading >>
Mar 3, 2015 CR Costa Rica
Every second Sunday in March, el Día de Boyero (Day of the Oxcart Driver) is celebrated in San Antonio de Escazú, Costa Rica. It’s a day when the townspeople flood into the streets to honor Costa Rican’s history of using oxcarts to transport crops throughout the country. 

San Antonio de Escazú, Costa Rica

Booths are set up to sell delicious local food and arts and crafts. The main attraction is the parade. It starts with music and young dancers, followed by the boyeros. About 100... Continue Reading >>
Jul 7, 2014 KE Kenya
Village view from a matatu

As I approach the matatu stage I feel a bout of irritation.  Completely empty.  I am the first passenger to arrive, which undoubtedly means waiting for an indefinite amount of time until it is full and ready to head out.  I quickly text the Kiva borrower I am to visit to tell her I may be late.  Having been in this situation many times before, she messages me back with an understanding, “Don’t worry, you still come!”  I get in, pick the best seat, buy a few... Continue Reading >>
May 5, 2014 IN India

Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.” – UN WOMEN

Few people will argue about the importance of women empowerment, and its positive impact in society and economy, but what is the gap between studies and speeches and what’s really happening on the ground?

The election scene in India brought up new... Continue Reading >>
Apr 4, 2014 IN India

Ten miles is a short distance for most of us, but for some women and children in rural India it means isolation from the rest of the world and probably during all their lives.

When I visited Parandih village in the District of Deoghar, Jarkhand, with Kiva Field Partner MicroGraam and their partnering NGO MESP, we were a big group caching the attention of many villagers. Being the only non Indian, for most kids I was probably the first foreigner they’ve ever seen.

This rural village of a hundred homes, like many in India, is not all that far from the... Continue Reading >>