You know you’re not in Kansas anymore when you receive the following message from the U.S. Embassy with respect to recent political protests:
“…the Embassy reminds American citizens that even political rallies intended to be peaceful can possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to exercise caution [when in public]…”
As I write this, there are celebratory fireworks (which sound more like bombs) going off in the sky over the city center. Each cacophonous boom jars me into thinking deeply about the reality of this land I currently call ‘home’.
This is certainly a land of stark contrast. There are beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and charming people. There is also a history of political turmoil and economic malaise. While such a heated political setting adds an appealing edge to my time in Nicaragua (the fledgling journalist in me becoming intrigued), I must continually remind myself of a broader purpose here: to develop knowledge and experience in micro finance, and to proactively assist in the alleviation of poverty. Nonetheless, it is interesting to reflect how this political environment affects economic growth, both in its macro and micro scopes. One can assume a direct connection between macro politics and micro development, especially in a country comprised of the following:
- Population: 5,359,759
- GDP per capita (PPP): $3,636
- Labor force: 43% Services; 42% Agriculture; 15% Industry
- Population below poverty line: 50%
- Literacy rate: 67.5%
What I’m especially curious to know, however, is whether the average citizen understands this correlation when taking to the streets in protest, or considering my purpose here, seeking micro loans to develop micro businesses?
Keeping that theme in mind, please enjoy the short video clip below. This woman is on her 17th micro loan; she started with nothing and now operates a successful general store and a burgeoning taxi business. She is truly grateful for the graces bestowed to her by Kiva lenders; I am grateful to experience this new perspective first-hand.
Please help out similar borrowers as this woman by lending directly to Fundacion Leon 2000 and its network of borrowers here.' />