Dec 14, 2007 WS Samoa

It was 3 months ago that I stepped off the plane and into the tropical Samoan rain. It seems those same storm clouds have gathered on my last day on the island to see me off. Over the course of my stay, I’d like to think that I learned a few of things. 

I’ve learned of the incredible dedication and hard-work it takes for the staff of a small MFI like SPBD to run its operations.

I’ve learned that despite their demanding daily schedules, the SPBD staff rarely shows signs of stress or frustration. I think I’ll have a better chance of...

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Dec 11, 2007 UG Uganda

Kampala, Uganda Florence Kaluuba is a soft spoken 50 year old school principal who won’t accept no for an answer.

As a teenager she was a brilliant student, excelling in mathematics. At a time when she ranked 8th out of 160 students, her uncle refused to allow her to enroll in the next higher grade level, where she hoped to become a medical doctor. Florence still remembers his words, “She is a girl, and girls just get pregnant anyway”. The uncle decided she would train to be a primary school teacher, which required much less education. Florence enrolled in primary...

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Dec 10, 2007 PE Peru

Ayacucho, Peru has a sad story. In the 80s and early 90s, it was there that the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso, ‘the Shining Path’, was thriving, fighting political and social battles that left 30,000 dead and 40,000 who remain missing. Setting foot in Ayacucho today, you’d never guess its painful history, and although not opposed to talking about it, the locals rarely mention it without being asked.

On a client visit, riding in the back of a moto-taxi through the bustling life of Ayacucho, we head out past the cobblestone streets and abundant colonial churches of the beautiful...

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Dec 10, 2007 UG Uganda

Friends and family have asked about the mundane details of my life as a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. “Where do you live?”and “What is your job?” are two frequently asked questions (FAQ’s).

Where I live: I am a resident of the Kolping Guest House on Bombo Road in the Bwaise neighborhood of Kampala. The Kolping is part of a worldwide chain of guesthouses operated by the International Kolping Society which was founded by Adolph Kolping as a Catholic, educational and action-oriented organization. Fr. Kolping was born on December 8, 1813, in Kerpen, a small village not...

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Dec 9, 2007 TZ Tanzania

Learning more about Tanzanian culture has been a fascinating journey thus far. Like most things in life, the more I learn, the more I discover how little I know. As my relationships slowly deepen with my colleagues at Tujijenge Tanzania and with other new friends, I’m beginning to gradually pick up more insights into their culture– their high values of community and unity, and how everything seems to happen according to the belief “if God wills” –a phrase used frequently in everyday interactions (and especially to explain  the common occurrence of when things don’t happen...

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Dec 5, 2007 KH Cambodia

So…with our MFI (Maxima), we visit a lot of people who make a living by weaving cloth.  With extant samples of hand-woven cloth dating from 5000 BC, weaving must be one of the world’s oldest ways to make money. 


More than two hundred years ago, the Industrial Revolution introduced processes that, to this day, have passed by the villages and the people we visit.  The looms that Maxima’s clients use are hand-made and the technology has not changed for many decades if not longer.  


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Dec 4, 2007 EC Ecuador

Greetings from Ecuador! My name is Elizabeth Li and I am here as a Kiva Fellow working with MFI Mifex. Hard to believe I’ve been here for 2months already with just over 2weeks to go. Due to access difficulties I have not been able to blog until recently. Reading all the other blogs here I’m reminded of one thread that ties us fellows together despite being in distinctly different cultures across the world: living abroad in the developing world is a true challenge!

Mifex operates out of two offices located in the marginalized urban sectors of Guayaquil. Millions of...

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Dec 3, 2007 UG Uganda

I first met Rose Kasoma at the office of Share an Opportunity (SAO) Microfinance, Ltd in Kampala, Uganda where she came to pay the monthly installment on her $1,200 loan funded by Kiva lenders.  We talked briefly and I asked permission to visit her. 

On November 30, 2007, accompanied by Stuart Tamale, a young college educated Ugandan loan officer working for SAO, we went to Rose’s store. 

The store is well located in the Ugandan version of a strip...

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Dec 3, 2007 KE Kenya

Since arriving in Kenya I have been yearning to meet Kiva clients, to see the effects of Kiva and microfinance with my own eyes. Over the years I have read many books and articles about microfinance, but nothing can take the place of seeing the smiles on the clients’ faces as they watch customers file in and out of their shops – often as a direct result of their Kiva loan. I not only saw clients who had been given the opportunity to increase their incomes, I saw people with a newfound sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence. I can now...

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Dec 3, 2007 UG Uganda

After being in Uganda for a few months and journaling for Kiva, September seems like years ago.  Everything was so unfamiliar and I felt like the world I entered was insane.  Yet, now I am used to the traffic, the city, the wonderful people, and the smells. J 

My experience with Life In Africa has been truly eye-opening to the plight of those living in an IDP camp and those trying survive in the city.  Each person I journal about has a unique challenge they are dealing with, or dealt with, along...

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