Update from the Field: Earthquakes, 5Ks + The Pain of Sickness and Loss

Compiled by Kate Bennett, KF16, Peru

Students from Fundación Paraguaya's financially self-sufficient San Francisco Agricultural School sell their products in Asunción's weekly farmer's market

This week’s Fellows Blog is armed with stories from the field: stories of the uncertain world borrowers live in, and how they (and we) cope with it. We’ve learned that everyone gets tired running a 5K in Paraguay, but for a good enough cause, we can will our legs to power through it. That everyone gets scared during an afternoon earthquake in Peru, but even so, borrowers, coworkers, and Field Partners will lend a hand to anyone that needs it. That everyone gets hungry, but there are no shortage of Kiva borrowers in Peru who are ready and willing to whip up some lunch. That everyone gets sick, but there are openhanded Kiva Field Partners in Ecuador trying to extend financial support to those who might not get better anytime soon. And sadly, we’ve had to learn that for all of our strengths and fortitude, no one is impervious to the sting of death. It affects everyone that plays a part of Kiva’s story, but those left behind can honored these individuals by persevering all the more.

“Fundación Paraguaya al Mundo”: 5K to Tanzania
Country: Paraguay / Fellow: Alba Castillo, KF16

Run stride by stride with Alba in Fundación Paraguaya’s 5K through financially self-sufficient and award-winning San Francisco Agricultural School all the way (figuratively, at least) to FP’s sister institution Teach a Man to Fish’s 25 rural and semi-rural schools in Tanzania.

Earthquake! (and Disaster Mitigation through Microfinance)
Country: Peru/ Fellow: Kate Bennett, KF15 & KF16

Though the earth beneath Caja Señor de Luren’s feet may be shaky, Caja’s clients are solid footing due to the services that microfinance institutions can offer in times of uncertainty.

Visiting an HIV-Clinic in Guayaquil (Part I)
Country: Ecuador / Fellow: Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF16

Emmanuel visits an HIV+ clinic with Banco D-MIRO clients, who though facing an extremely difficult future, are using microloans to take a little more control over their prospects.

Remembering Rizky: VisionFund Indonesia Loses One of Their Own
Country: Indonesia/ Fellow: Laurie Young, KF16

In this poignant post from Kiva Fellow Laurie Young in Indonesia, VisionFund and Laurie remember Loan Officer Rizky, and we’re reminded of the sacrifices that  every loan officer make daily for their work and their clients.

If It Is Thursday, It Must Be Sakarya + What is Bohça?
Country: Turkey / Fellow: Kim Strathearn, KF16

For those of you unfamiliar with both of these terms, look no further. Though, in Sakayra, Turkey the Bohça trade is much more familiar, it is by no means less engrossing to its enthusiastic participants.

Ica’s Next Top Chef
Country: Peru / Fellow: Kate Bennett, KF15 & KF16

What do two Kiva clients, family matriarchs, and the name María Victoria have in common? A tendency to make delicious food, and to repay one’s loans on time.

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Expanding the Reach of Microfinance, Downsizing Development + Why We Kiva
Kiva-style Microfinance, Reggaeton + a Journey though the Commercial Jungle
Loan Use, Agriculture Loans + Stuff Kiva Fellows Like
Starting Capital, Development Levels + Adventurous Borrower Visits
Going Pilot to Active, Meeting Borrowers + Technology and Social Performance

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Plus more on-the-ground photos from the past week:

By Kim Strathearn, KF16, Turkey

Rest in peace, Rizky. By Laurie Young, KF16, VisionFund Indonesia

By Kate Bennett, KF16, Peru

About the author

Kate Bennett

Prior to working with Kiva, Kate lived in Quito, Ecuador working in environmental management as a consultant for USAID implementing partners in the global south. After earning her B.A. in Political Economy, Postcolonial History, and Development from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in January 2010, she pursued a practice-based understanding of effective tools in development through work with New York based social change organizations and grassroots nonprofit organizations in Guatemala. Kate worked previously with Kiva as a Kiva Fellow in Ecuador and Peru, which fomented her commitment to microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation.