Update from the Field: Cute Pigs, New Toilets + Everything is Relative

Compiled by Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

Classic trip to the field moment: a loan officer chats with a borrower (Peru pictured)

It’s hard to believe but the current batch of Kiva Fellows has been in the field for over two months and most of us have only a few weeks left to go. We’re getting swept up in completing deliverables, making the most of our final month in country, and starting to plot our lives after Kiva. (Travel plans = fun. Applying for “real” jobs = less fun.) Fortunately, starting May 7, a brand new assortment of Fellows will be coming your way and a few KF14 veterans will be sticking around to show them the ropes. So stay tuned for more trips to the field, insights into local culture, contemplations about next steps, and stories of microfinance in action.

And if you’re sitting here thinking, “Hey! I want to be a part of the action, too!”, you have until April 23 to apply for Kiva Fellowships starting in August 2011. Check out the application wiki to learn more.

The New Poor
Country: Mexico / Fellow: John Farmer (KF14)

John explores what it means to be the “new poor” in Mexico by profiling a family that previously considered themselves middle class and sharing the lifestyle changes they’ve made in order to keep their heads above water.

A day in the life of a rural loan officer
Country: Peru / Fellow: Geeta Uhl (KF14)

Regular readers of this blog know that microfinance administration often requires very long days in the field. Geeta shadows a rural loan officer in Peru during a busy yet typical day, learning about making bricks, watching a domestic violence awareness training, and appreciating cute pigs along the way.

The Bare Necessities
Country: Cambodia / Fellow: Stephanie Sibal (KF14)

Stephanie reminds us that many Kiva loans are used directly or indirectly to improve the basic living situation of borrowers and their families, many of whom lack access to sanitation, electricity, health care, and secure housing.

Previous updates from the field:
April Fools, Terrible Coffee + Getting Attached
Social Quirks, Justin Bieber + Lots of Carbs
Fun Facts, Field Visits + Back to Basics
Carnival, Collaboration + Cheese-Making
Man’s Day, Singing Fellows + Learning How to Count
Videos, Epic Commutes + Going Beyond Microfinance
“Christmas”, Trekking, Adversity + Good Company


Plus more pictures from this past week:

Peru (by Geeta Uhl)

two churches

Mexico (by John Farmer)

Cambodia (by Stephanie Sibal)

Peru (by Geeta Uhl)

About the author

Alexis Ditkowsky