My birthday was fast approaching and I was having an emergency. I had nothing to wear. This might seem like a small problem, but here in Colombia, the “rumba” – the party – reigns supreme and if you don’t look fabulous, you might as well stay home. Besides, my birthday was to fall on a Saturday, an astrological phenomenon that cannot be taken for granted. The 23rd of June must be celebrated from the moment it...Continue Reading >>
Fellows Blog Posts by Becca Levine
Doña Micaela sits on the floor, knees on a straw mat and a spool of cotton thread whittled in her hand. Behind her is a display of natural dyes, labeled for tourists. “Can I please take a picture of you?” I ask her in Spanish. “She doesn’t understand,” her colleague, Doña Elena, answers. Elena translates my words to Tz’utujil, one of the 21 indigenous languages in Guatemala. Micaela smiles and nods. Micaela and Elena are members of Ixoq...Continue Reading >>
The one thing you’re guaranteed to see in El Salvador is a hammock. They’re as much of a Salvadorian staple as the pupusa, and they’re woven ubiquitously throughout the culture. I’ve conducted many a borrower verification sitting on a hammock, across from the interviewee on the hammock parallel. I’ve eaten dinner on a hammock. I’ve fallen asleep on many hammocks.
María Santos is an artisan who makes hammocks for a living. With a Kiva loan, she was able to quit...Continue Reading >>
The town is called San Cristobal Norte – or Sacrin for short – and remember that name because I might never make it out. It’s mid-afternoon, but I am sitting in the dark and the rain outside has culminated into a monotone shriek. So much for the borrower visit I was supposed to do today. My compañeros at this Field Partner – Grupo Finca – didn't know Tropical Storm Nate would hit Costa Rica. Nobody did. Still, it swept into Sacrin in the middle of the night, where I was sleeping in the home of some of its employees.Continue Reading >>
Susan Jeannette Fernandez Chavez is a 29 year-old Kiva borrower and artisan whose crafts leave a profound impact on her community. I sat down with her to discuss her journey to the arts, her passion for child development, and the importance of supporting artists. Check out her crafts here. And yes, she ships internationally! Me: When did you figure out that you wanted to make art? Susan: I wanted to create something that was mine, that had my name. At the time I was... Continue Reading >>
I have been in Costa Rica for two weeks and so far I’ve been to a wedding, a baptism, and a birthday party.
Taiwan may be the newly crowned World’s Friendliest Country, but I’d say that Costa Rica gives it some heavy competition.
I had heard something of Tico hospitality before arriving, but I had brushed it off as one of those things that every culture lays...Continue Reading >>