Jul 9, 2007 GH Ghana

We call ahead to at least five hotels that we have starred in the Bradt Guide to Ghana – all of their prices have doubled from what the travel book says – I guess my Obroni accent isn’t exactly helping the situation! After settling on the price of the room, we get to the Raybow (this is probably meant to be “rainbow” but this is Ghana!) and attempt to check in . We run through the “must-have” check list: AC?, Fan? Hot water? Generator when the power fails so at least the fan can run when the AC is out? Check, check – we are all set to go.

“Now can we see the...

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Jul 8, 2007 PE Peru

Hi All!

Greetings from Lima, Peru. Its Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting in a coffee shop near my hotel, the first time I’ve felt it appropriate enough to pull out a computer and work from the comfort of a public establishment. Big cities do have their perks…

It’s been a busy and exciting week in Peru. Many meetings, many miles traveled. The journey began with my first overland border crossing in Copacabana, and since then its continued through the highland towns of Puno and Juliaca, and down to the bustling, crowded, overcast city of Lima. Some highlights from both (note...

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Jul 8, 2007 TZ Tanzania

I’ve only lived in Dar for a few weeks and only know a handful of people but each week I’ve been here someone I know has lost a family member of friend without warning.

First my roommate’s uncle lost a daughter at the age of 2. She went to sleep and didn’t wake up — no symptoms, no warning. The worst thing is that this is his third daughter ini a row to die before reaching the age of three.

The following week my colleague’s friend’s father died instantly of a heart condition. The next week someone I met at dinner told me about his neighbor who was instantly...

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Jul 8, 2007 TZ Tanzania

I wish this was a story about an overnight flight to Kenya, but it’s not. I literally have red eyes.  It’s a bacterial infection of the eye which turns the whole eye red. The eye swells and it’s quite uncomfortable and there is a bunch of mucus that comes out of the eye. Yeah, it’s really gross.

I’ve seen many people around Dar with “red eyes” and my roommates warned me against shaking hands with people I meet because the disease is so contagious. They warned me to always, always wash my hands if I touched anyone. I’ve been following their advice...

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Jul 7, 2007 AZ Azerbaijan

Yesterday was a rather typical day for me in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. I left my host family’s nice home and walked fifteen minutes to the nearest metro station. On the way to the metro station I passed new apartment buildings, food shops with locally-grown fruit displays, clothing stores with bright skirts hanging in the windows, street cats lolling in the sun, bored taxi drivers playing backgammon, and street vendors selling cell phone cards. I weaved through and dodged traffic when necessary, Frogger-style. $0.05, three metro stops, and...

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Jul 5, 2007 GH Ghana


We escaped to the country…to Grandma Rose’s.

Grandma Rose lives in Nsawam, which is at the foothills of the mountains, approximately a two hour drive from Accra, Ghana. Nsawam is “lush.” This tucked away small community oozes with vibrant, tropical vegetation everywhere I looked…a far cry from the sweating, concrete jungle of Accra. It reminded me of the gentle, climbing, misty foothills and rich vegetation of the Blue Mountains outside Kingston, Jamaica where I used to teach many years ago.

Grandma Rose is 83....

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Jul 4, 2007 KE Kenya

It’s been a while since my last entry and I have a few different momentsI want to cover, so I apologize in advance if the following is a little disjointed and meandering. (And for Russell, I apologize that I’ll most likely switch tenses several times in this entry.) I think the best way to cover the highlights of the past two weeks is list form:

June 23:

James (Ebony Foundation’s director) arranged for me to see the KCB Safari Rally. Basically, it’s a year-long series off-road derbies, or as I like...

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Jul 2, 2007 KE Kenya

The other day I got to witness the excitement felt at PEMCI when a loan is filled on the Kiva web site. One of the loan officers had put a great deal of effort into writing a descriptive profile for Fred Wafula Lubisia, who sought a loan to purchase a motorbike.  The loan was for 1,200 USD, which is a significant loan relative to what PEMCI usually offers. The next day, I was browsing Kiva.org, and saw that the entire loan had been filled, thanks to the collective contribution of 10 lenders. I let the loan officer know, and he was initially...

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Jun 30, 2007 KE Kenya

Before arriving in Malaba as a Kiva fellow, one of the assumptions I had about the businesses is that they would be entirely profit driven. Considering the economic situation that most of the clients here are living in, I could only imagine that people’s efforts would be entirely focused on making enough money to support their own family. I have met a few people who have shattered this misconception.

One of those people is Mark Ochubi, who has provided herbal medicine to over 500 clients in Malaba for the past three years. Mark trained at the School for Alternative Medicine in...

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Jun 30, 2007 TZ Tanzania

Imagine a world without Walgreens, Macy’s, Banana Republic, Nordstrom’s, Blockbuster, Ethan Allen, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Safeway or Whole Foods. Instead of driving to your favorite mall or grocery store to buy clothes, food or supplies from a salesperson working for a corporation, you walk down the dirt road to your local market to buy goods from a neighbor, friend or acquaintance. Instead of one-stop shopping, you stop at several different stores to pick up all the supplies you need, relishing each transaction by engaging in conversation and slowly passing over the bills and...

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