Lender Field Trip, Mexico City: Guest Blog #1

(photo credit: Catherine Cocke)

For the first time ever, a few lucky and devoted Kiva lenders are getting the opportunity to see Kiva at work on the ground. This week, these 7 lenders will be visiting 2 Kiva Field Partners and their borrowers in Mexico City, as part of our first lender trip to the field. It’s a unique and thrilling opportunity to see Kiva dollars at work, transforming lives and communities up close.

This post is the first of a 4 part series, which comes in anticipation of the lender trip from Jarryd Widhalm, a long time Kiva lender based locally in Mexico City.

Hi! My name is Jarryd Widhalm. I am 30 years old, and I live in Mexico City. I love Crossfit, dogs and good beer and I work as a consultant for a financial services client creating reports, analyses and dashboards using survey data. I've lived in the neighborhood of La Condesa for a little over a year and a half - a really cool part of the city with great parks, restaurants, bars and tons of dogs. People are nice, the weather is gorgeous (except for it rains every day around 6 pm between April and October), the traffic sucks (you have to accept it) , there is amazing craft beer (although my favorite is Leon which is not a craft beer), the food is delicious, there's lots to do and places to visit. Overall it's a fun adventure.

(photo credit: Catherine Cocke)

After receiving a full-time job with Gallup in June 2011, my dad told me I had to find a charity to support, and I got started with lending $100 on Kiva. Once I started to receive repayments, I wanted even more, so I put in $350 more. Pretty soon after that, I got addicted. I tried to make a loan in every country, then I tried to make 2 loans in every country, then 3 and 4 and so on. I bought a map and put in little green pins for each loan I'd made.

Recently, I achieved a goal of funding an entire loan by myself. My big goal is that I'd like to get to $50,000 in loans, and I'm currently a little less than halfway there. I also keep track of my successful invitees - 25 people who have made 397 loans so far. I talk about Kiva more than I talk about Crossfit... and that's saying something! I love Kiva because it is fun to support hard working people in something they are already doing. I'm saying, "I believe in you. Your plan sounds great. Go for it!"

(photo credit: Catherine Cocke)

I am very excited about this opportunity to meet some the Field Partners and borrowers who have been funded through Kiva. I would like to learn about their process with Kiva, such as what they know about Kiva and their lenders. I want to learn their stories, hear what their goals are, learn if they have kids or dogs, if their kids are going to school and what they want want to do when they grow up.

I hope people learn that Mexico is not that different. I've lived in a few different places and visited more, and Mexico City is my favorite. People here want the same things people anywhere want- to work at something and provide for their family.

About the author

Jessica Hansen

Jessica comes to Kiva with a background in international education, local capacity building, and global engagement in sustainable poverty alleviation. She heads up Kiva’s education initiative to enhance understanding, involvement, and the mobilization of students and teachers around micro-finance. Prior to this, she worked in remote rural Kenya with Nuru International and has also worked with the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Mercy Corps, the IRC/Women’s Refugee Commission, UNHCR, the Centre for Refugee Research, and MSF (Doctors Without Borders). She holds a BA of International Politics from the University of Central Oklahoma/University of Leicester and an MSW in International Social Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her overseas work has been mainly in East Africa and Southeast Asia, and she is conversational in French, Thai, and Kiswahili. She loves people and travel, bouncing between the wilderness and big cities, savoring amazing food, and regularly fawning over children and animals.