When you enter a YOSEFO community bank you are sure to encounter business owners facing every stage of the business life cycle. Some entrepreneurs are just getting their ventures off the ground and are using their loan money to purchase their first sewing machine, food stuffs or rent a salon space. Other businesses are flourishing, sales are growing and customers are becoming more regular. A few businesses are on the decline; higher prices for goods or a new industry regulation could be making it hard to maintain profits. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet the...Continue Reading >>
From left to right: Stephen (me), Mariah, Martha, and Martin (June 11, 2007)
Today is my first day at the office of Women Economic Empowerment Consort (WEEC), residing in Kajiado district, just outside of Nairobi district, Kenya. ...Continue Reading >>
Yesterday was my first day of field work – meeting entrepreneurs who have gotten loans from Kiva lenders and capturing their stories and lives to be written about in journals that are then posted on the Kiva site. The following is an account of the day’s happenings. Disclaimer: It was an eventful day so this will definitely be a long entry; feel free to skim.
I arrived at Ebony’s office around 9:30 in the morning. Jane made some brief preparations to leave and then we were off. Jane was a loan officer for Ebony and worked here out of the main...Continue Reading >>
A good friend of mine at college who is currently spending the summer in Cairo emailed me a comment in response my post about Mariah Carey being everywhere that I thought was really insightful and well-said and deserved to be shared:
“I really have to agree with you about how ridiculously pervasive American sh*t is everywhere—-even in the Middle East, which is supposedly the most anti-American place ever, basically every bilboard is about some American company…I just went to Alexandria and there was this one block where there was a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, LIttle Ceaser’s, KFC and...Continue Reading >>
I start going out in to the field to meet entrepreneurs tomorrow, so I promise to have more Kiva-related info on here soon. In the meantime, here’s some more about the touristy aspects of my time here…
I still don’t have my luggage. It seems that a lot of people had their bags lost on British Airways because their Nairobi airport lost bags telephone # is always busy or no one picks up. It’s a bit frustrating to be honest. I had to go buy some clothes from a store called Wool Matt, which I’m pretty sure is a thinly veiled imitation of Wal Mart. You can buy anything you need...Continue Reading >>
Takoradi, Western Region, Ghana
Waking up to the refreshing cool air and the morning cockerels crowing around 4:30…is Africa’s “alarm clock”…..not mine!
This is when most Ghanaians start to move around. It makes sense….it is the coolest part of the day. Similarly they are in bed around 9 p.m., having had dinner around 6 p.m. We are yet to get on this schedule…and love it when we do!
We are in Western Africa…..it takes getting used to.
We normally go into the field 2-4 days per week. Millicent, one of Kraban’s many outstanding staff members meets us...Continue Reading >>
I arrived in Kenya on Wednesday evening (two nights ago) after a long flight from New York via London. Because of weather delays from New York, I had to literally run the length of Heathrow Airport just to catch my connecting flight to Nairobi. Apparently my bags didn’t move that fast. The British Airways reps assure me that the bags will be coming hopefully within the next day or two. In the meantime it’s been amusing to see how long I can stretch the small supply of clothing and toiletries that fit in to my carry-on luggage.
I was met at the airport by Nancy, who is the unit...Continue Reading >>
I arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras last Wednesday. Two of the staff members of Prisma Honduras, Orbelina and Lucy, were kind enough to brave the rush hour traffic and pick me up at the airport. You can read more about the staff members and the various Prisma offices on Dr. Kendall Mau’s informative blog: .
My first impressions of Tegucigalpa were that I could be in any large suburban US city, albeit with a little Latin flare! In my first three days here, I visited two different malls, both packed with people shopping at many of the same stores you find in the US, went to Wal-...Continue Reading >>
I hear Bob Marley beckoning me: “Rise up this morning. Smile at the rising sun.” Rhythmic reggae vibrates in my head, waking me up. My hand parts the seashell curtain-door. Inside, red, yellow, and green stripes of the Ghanaian flag decorate every wall. I glance down at my cell phone, as I belly up to the bar. It is 10 am.
Every Monday morning at Point Five Bar, 28 members of the Dwen Hwe Kan Group meet to repay loans, discuss business, and socialize. In the Fante language, Dwen Hwe Kan means, “With every step you take, consider the future.” The dynamic support...Continue Reading >>
Hi…my name is Jacki Marshall, and I am from Charlotte, North Carolina working with the remarkable Kraban Support Foundation in Ghana. It is my first time in West Africa, and I was very excited about coming…..it is very different from East Africa, an area I am more familiar with. I shall be sending weekly posts back to the Kiva site, and I would love for you to join me on this amazing journey……Get ready for the ride…..I am!
The pre-departure was interesting. Where was I going to stay? How was I going to get my visa managed fifteen days before my departure….I did not feel...Continue Reading >>