Fellows Blog Posts by Nilima

Jul 31, 2009 BO Bolivia

By: Nilima Achwal, KF8, Bolivia

While taking pictures throughout Bolivia of Kiva clients, colleagues, and friends, I’ve noticed a theme. Most people don’t smile. No matter if it’s a jolly loan officer who loves his job, the cleaning girl that always peers curiously over my shoulder at my laptop and brings me mate de coca, or good friends hanging out after work. The second I take out my camera, in fact, the second before I click the shutter, the grins vanish. Ironically (and maddeningly), the second the flash is out, the subject in question almost always smiles or laughs....

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Jul 15, 2009 BO Bolivia

By: Nilima Achwal, KF8 Bolivia

I rode on the back of a motorcycle with a loan officer while going to visit Kiva clients on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia. As my hair blew in the wind, I took in the tranquil green pastures, spotted cows grazing, and women in colorful skirts strolling down the dirt road. When we stopped, I exclaimed, “I love this part of town!” “Really?” the loan officer answered in shock. “I thought you would be horrified; this is the poorest section of town.”

I didn’t quite know how to respond to that. True, I had noticed that the area was very poor,...

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Jul 7, 2009 BO Bolivia

By Nilima Achwal, KF8 Bolivia

On my second day in La Paz, I braved the high altitude and made my way to Calle Sagarnaga, the main tourist shopping street. As I trudged up the slippery cobbled street, a skinny middle-aged man carrying a folder easily kept pace beside me and urged me to take a look at his paintings. Since I only needed an excuse to stop climbing, I stopped, and the man started sifting through painting after painting of indigenous women wearing a myriad of hats and shawls and pointing out the corresponding figures on the street. I soon learned that his name was Jorge...

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