Personally, I really enjoy preparing for a big trip to some far away place.  There are so many unknowns: what will I see, who will I meet, what will I eat, and what type of terrifying illness will I suffer?  But preparing for three months in Tajikistan has been a bit different.

With only a little more than two weeks until my departure, I still have a some pretty important items to secure – like a visa and some very very warm clothing.  I am cramming to learn some essential Russian and Tajiki phrases so that I can actually get myself from the airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to my home in Khujand, Tajikistan.  And, I still have a few more steps to wrapping up my most recent venture: learning to eat meat (particularly goat and lamb) for the first time in 10 years.  Despite all of the unknowns and the very full ‘to-do list’, I am excited to get started.

Right now I am finishing up the most important step of my preparations – training to become a Kiva Fellow.  I am currently at Kiva’s offices in San Francisco with around 30 of my fellow Fellows.  We have spent an intense week learning the intricacies of Microfinance, Kiva operations, and working with our Microfinance Institutions (MFI).

I am excited to be working with IMON, which has a reputation for being an established and well run MFI.  IMON supports entrepreneurs throughout Tajikistan by providing them access to high-quality financial services and products.  They work with a variety of projects in the trade, manufacturing, and agricultural fields.  Click here if you’d like to see current fundraising opportunities for their entrepreneurs’ loans.

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