Fellows in the field

This feria is held every year from August 7 to the 17 and boasts daily parades, colorful indigenous clothing, religious activities, musical performances, typical food such as garnachas (similiar to flat, mini tacos) and of course fireworks. The feria honors the Virgen de la Asunción, or the “patron saint” of the Sololá department.  

“I went to two other banks, but they won’t give me all the money I want... [and] Interest was high, and it was too much for me to pay."
"Advans will lend me the money I need, at a good price,” she added.

Banks are extremely difficult to access due to their paperwork requirements and initial capital or collateral. They also have an extremely bad reputation amongst the rural population, particularly in terms of poor practices when collecting repayments. As Louis, a borrower, explained, “There is a vicious circle of indebtedness when people go to banks.”

I knew about deforestation but was still taken aback to see it so clearly. Unlike its neighbour the Dominican Republic, which has 41% of its land covered by forest, Haiti struggles to reach a 4% coverage. This is a stark contrast from the 1920s, when forests covered 75% of the land. 

Within a short period, Jackson has been able to expand his farmland to cover a full two acres, expand his business and employ people in his village, thereby creating a ripple effect of economic opportunity.

With over a quarter billion people from different ethnic groups, Indonesia is a dense melting pot and has the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Yet, despite its rapid economic growth, the country also faces enormous challenges.

“You can see the self esteem and dignity that they gain,” Shadrack says. Shadrack is a program manager at Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, a Kiva field partner in Kenya. He is describing the impact that Hand in Hand's youth entrepreneurship clubs have on their student participants.

I had nothing to wear for my birthday, until a Kiva borrower came to my rescue. Her name is Judith, and at 66 years old, she has a lifetime of dressmaking experience.

While the Dominican Republic is famous for Punta Cana and its pristine beaches, its neighbour Haiti is mostly known for being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In the 24 years since the genocide, more than 3.4 million Rwandan refugees have returned home, and people are still crossing the border back into Rwanda today. But while the Rwandan government and economy have largely stabilized, those of many neighboring countries have not.

Doña Micaela sits on the floor, knees on a straw mat and a spool of cotton thread whittled in her hand. Behind her is a display of natural dyes, labeled for tourists. “Can I please take a picture of you?” I ask her in Spanish.

Upon arriving in the Dominican Republic, you’re bound to encounter one recurring type of shop…a colmado. What is a colmado? Well...it's a bit of everything.