Sitting Some Days

Some days as a Kiva Fellow totally rock. Its like, “snap, snap, snap!” You are in the groove, making good decisions, few cultural errors, you are visiting clients, streamlining internal processes, inspiring the staff of Kiva’s partners, making connections and generally rocking out. Here is a quick video I made of a day during which I visited clients.


Some days…ie, today, are not so snappy. I got to one of Emprender’s field offices to find that they really didn’t have time to take me to visit clients like I had thought, and as we planned together. So far, Emprender has been more strict about adhereing to the daily plan we nailed out on day one than me, so I didn’t expect this change. I come without computer, in sneakers, jeans, sweater, rain jacket, plastic bags for electronics and lots of pens. I sit down, still not totally getting it that we aren’t going anywhere today and start to “observe”. Which means……make sure my eyes stay open.

Without preparation, besides being available for casual, around the water cooler conversations about Kiva, there is little capacity training I can do, and no one has time for me anyways. I ended up observing a few groups repay their loans (not Kiva clients), and a group prepare for a disbursment (again, not Kiva clients), and I managed to eat an enormous bowl filled will boiled chicken feet, but other than that. I sat there. For 6.5 hours. No book.

Kiva Fellows looking to pump me up, and my own internal dialogue tell me, “This is very normal, and your physical presence actually does create connections between Emprender and Kiva. It is important not to undervalue the importance of observing their processes and becoming a familiar sight. You can learn a lot that way about how the office functions, and use your experience with the group loans to write a general blog post about Emprender”. Its true, I know. But still.

So far, I’ve been truly surprised by the productivity, so I won’t beat myself up over today. But its still good to note, despite climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro, massively re-working the way Kiva is implemented, connecting on a deeply personal level with clients and generally saving the world- some days, a Kiva Fellow just sits.


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Sierra Visher