Fellows Blog Posts by Avani Parekh-Bhatt

Apr 1, 2010

happy at the SMEP office during my first week

Most of you have figured out from reading our posts on the fellows’ blog that most of us start out wide-eyed and optimistic about of fellowships and about the deeper understanding of microfinance that we will gain at our placements. Then, after some time, we all go through a process of re-evaluating our situations, we question, we ponder, and we do so openly on this blog, Facebook status updates, and emails to friends and family....

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Mar 23, 2010 KE Kenya

Seventeen young, scared faces sit around the board room for the full-day training of new marketers. I had been present the day that this new crop of SMEP employees was being interviewed. They had assembled en masse at our head office; many of them looking like the suit they were wearing had been hastily purchased at one of the local secondhand markets in anticipation of their first job interview.  In fact, they were what I refer to as “babies” the young-ish, newly graduated staffers whose faces more often look up at me when I am conducting trainings at the SMEP branch offices all over...

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Mar 16, 2010 KE Kenya

This is a blog that I’ve written in a hurry so as not to let the words swirling in my head escape my fingers on the page. In my tenure at SMEP, I’ve never attended the weekly devotional, held every Monday morning from 8-10 in the morning. I always thought of myself as a secularist, and I assumed that attending would make me uncomfortable – after all, I come from a place where there is separation of church and everything. I’ve grown up in the deeply religious “bible belt” of the Southern United States, and I just assumed that at SMEP, the devotional...

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Mar 9, 2010 KE Kenya

Could you imagine having to do all your communication in writing, on actual paper?  Or writing a check for every transaction or purchase that you made?  Frankly, I don’t even remember how to write a check!

Anne, former Kiva fellow at SMEP and I shuffle loan forms to choose borrowers to randomly audit for Kiva

Everyday in Kenya, paper loan...

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Jan 21, 2010 KE Kenya

by Avani Parekh-Bhatt, Kiva Fellow at SMEP in Nairobi, Kenya.

The "dodo" bird from SMEP

Jambo! I’d like to introduce myself, My name is Avani Parekh-Bhatt, I’m a 9th class Kiva Fellow  and the last of my class to get to the field in Kenya. I hail from Durham, North Carolina. I believe in the power of human relationships, and grassroots led development, and I want to see the real nuts and bolts of...

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