By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

Last week, I blogged about D-MIRO’s influence in the peri-urban zones of Guayaquil.  There is no way to describe the dedicated D-MIRO staff members and the lengths they go to reach those marginalized from the traditional financial system. So I opted to film a sample day! Here is “My Motorcycle Diary”:

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Fun Facts about Ecuador:

  1. Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar.  In 2000, Ecuador discontinued their 116-year-old currency (the sucre) in order to ”rein in runaway inflation, encourage investment and reverse capital flight”.  Many locals were unhappy about the switch.  The current president, Presidente Correa was a critic of dollarization, but he acknowledges that it would be more harmful to the economy to change back to the sucre. 
  2. Until it rains in Cuenca, there are mandatory power outages in Ecuador!  Guayaquil (the city I am working in) currently has power outages everyday from 7 to 11 AM and from 1 pm to 4 pm (luckily D-MIRO has a generator!).  Each zone in the country has similarly scheduled power outages.  This will continue until it rains near Cuenca (a city 150 miles away from Guayaquil).  The dam near Cuenca (“Represa Hidroeléctrica Daniel Palacios”) is responsible for generating the majority of Ecuador’s hydroelectricity. 
  3.  Fingerprint identification is preffered.  Many organizations (including D-MIRO) ask hourly employees to clock-in to work using their finger print (see minute 0:43 of video)
  4. You never have to think  about what to wear to work.  Ecuador’s labor laws state that all businesses must have a uniform for their employees.  During the lunch hour, groups of co-workers dine together in coordinated business wear.  I have 3 of D-MIRO’s uniform polos!
  5. Ecuadorians have major karoake skills.  Rather than coffee shops on every corner, there are karoake bars everywhere!   There are no stages, everyone remains seated at their table while the restaurant manager passes along the microphone. Karoake is an actual art form, the country is filled with potential “American Idol” talent.
  6. Smile, you are on camera! The Guayaquil airport has an employee dedicated to filming every person entering the country from an international destination!  When departing Guayaquil’s “terminal terrestre”, the secure bus companies also have employees that walk around filming each passenger.

Kimia Raafat is a Kiva Fellow (KF9) at a new Kiva partner, D-MIRO  in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  If you would like to know more about D-MIRO please visit the Partner page or Lend!

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