Have you read cartoons before understanding what they really meant? Ignorance is bliss from Calvin & Hobbes is definitely one of those cartoons for me. I worked as a design engineer before and in many occasions I thought I was asking a yes/no question but it never turned out to be that simple. You have to approach problems knowing the basic principles, look carefully at the details, make decisions and learn from your mistakes. As an engineer, the product of my work was an object and I needed technical knowledge; as a Kiva Fellow, I...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Guatemala
By Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF10, Guatemala
Going through borrower files I found finger prints in the signature line of many documents but didn’t think much about it until I went to the field to actually meet borrowers…
A very important task for a Kiva Fellow is to do Borrower Verification, this ensures that the people you lend money to are real persons that are actually taking loans as described in their profiles. To start this process I went to the borrower file which is very detailed; they include copies of personal ID, address (including a sketch of the house...Continue Reading >>
by Carlos Cruz Montaño, KF10, Guatemala
There’s differing opinions and many comments on the default protection policy where partners will no longer be able to guarantee Kiva loans (see posts by Claude Mansell and Nicky Goh), many of you Kiva Lenders are worried this move will greatly affect your portfolio and that MFIs will not care as much about delinquency and default in Kiva loans, but I ask… are you alone?
Of course these are valid concerns. While you are a very important part of the Kiva supply chain, there are many shareholders and stakeholders in the...Continue Reading >>
As a kid growing up, and now at 5’-6” tall I’ve always been on the short side, among friends, classmates, teammates, you name it! As I walk around town and meet people in my new town, I noticed I’m actually a tall person around here. Never thought being a Kiva Fellow would make me tall… anyways, what is interesting is that it depends on your reference point.
We know that the earth is round but can you tell...Continue Reading >>
By Jeremy Lapedis, KF9, Guatemala
A violinist and pianist set the ambiance along with a slide show of pictures. Everyone attended FAPE’s 25th anniversary celebration: the board of directors, the general assembly, representatives from FAPE’s international partners (I was Kiva’s representative), and FAPE’s director, accountant, and lawyer. Moriré con las botas puestas. That’s what FAPE’s vice president of the board of directors said while giving an award to the president of the board.... Continue Reading >>
Jeremy Lapedis, KF9, Guatemala
On Wednesday I traveled with Aura, a loan officer. My main goal was to get some signatures from Kiva borrowers so that we could use their photos in a press release. What I ended up getting, along with the signatures, was a glimpse into Aura’s life
Since getting the signatures required us to go a little village called Cruz Blanca (White Cross), where Aura’s lives, I asked if I could see her house. She in turn suggested that we just eat lunch there. Her house had several rooms, but the floor was a base of concrete. Aura shared...Continue Reading >>
Jeremy Lapedis, KF9, Guatemala
I spent thanksgiving in Costa Rica with four other Kiva Fellows who are placed in Central America. Before going, the Guatemalans who I had spoken with about my trip mentioned two things: Costa Rica is safer than Guatemala, but it has less of it’s own culture. Having spent only five days in Costa Rica, I can hardly make any judgments about Costa Rica’s culture (however you define culture, be it ideas, materials, art, family values, government etc.), but I can confidently confirm that Costa Rica is safer than Guatemala: walking down...Continue Reading >>
Today is my last day as a Kiva Fellow working in Guatemala City. I will admit that in recent weeks my mind has been wandering to the luxuries of home: ethnic food, safe and timely public transportation, dishwashers, smog laws, etc… But as always, when leaving a new “home”, I know that I will miss the experiences and friendships that I have been lucky enough to experience while here.
As one of my fellow Kiva Fellows pointed out in an earlier post, we fellows tend to receive credit for the support that all of you lenders are really giving. I wish I could offer you one of the glasses...Continue Reading >>
Someone asked me how it was that I seemed to have (almost) constant access to the internet AND no indoor running water or heat. From an American perspective, it seems irrational and contradictory. But, Guatemala is filled with (seeming) contradictions and contrasts. I suspect that many of my “fellow” fellows have experienced the same in the countries where they are working.
The family I live with has satellite TV, a wide screen television (and a television in every bedroom) but they have no indoor running water or heating. They...Continue Reading >>
So, warning, this has NOTHING to do with microfinance.
But, here are two videos that give a definite flavor of life here in Nimasac, Guatemala where I have spent the last two months as a Kiva Fellow with ASDIR, Kiva’s field partner in Totonicapan, Guatemala.
K’iche is the predominant language spoken here. Many people have asked me to describe what it sounds like, but I’ve found that to be an impossible task, so here is a short video of animated dinner conversation in K’iche.'... Continue Reading >>