By Julia Kastner, KF10 Mexico
Feliz Navidad and Feliz Año Nuevo from Mexico!
Yesterday was the first day of my second Kiva placement at a brand new MFI called CrediComun. I completed my first placement with Fundacion Realidad in mid-December (make a loan to them here!) so I had a couple weeks of vacation to travel! I went to the city of Oaxaca, a city famous for history and art, and to Zihuatenejo, a fishing village turned beach. Let’s just say it was a really tough couple of weeks! But I must admit, I couldn’t quite clear the microfinance perspective from my eyes…
Mexico s full of micro-businesses. Everywhere I went, I ran into people who reminded me of the clients I had worked with over the last couple of months, whether it was women selling tamales (a regional dumpling-like food) on the street or the taxi drivers who helped me get around.
In Oaxaca, I spent my time sipping coffee in chic, alternative cafes, visiting ancient ruins, and visiting natural wonders, but I also decided to go on tours of carpet-weaving and sculpture workshops to learn about local crafts. I just couldn’t stop myself from asking “what are your hopes for the business? How has your business changed the lives of you and your family?” The answer was always that owning a business had made a difference.
Even in Zihuatenejo, I spent a lot of time chatting with the owner of the small hotel I stayed at about the history of his business and his hopes for the future. And everywhere I went, people were selling crafts, snacks, and drinks. Some people spend hours walking up and down the beaches with necklaces, baskets, or carved toys for sale.
Observing and talking with all these small businesses made me all the more excited to get back to Mexico City to start my second placement with an MFI called CrediComun. Monday was my first day, and I can already tell they’re going to be a great contribution to the Kiva network and will allow me to have some great new experiences! I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!/>