Fellows Blog Posts by milena08

Aug 4, 2009 PH Philippines

by Milena Arciszewski, KF8

I’m volunteering at Community Economic Ventures, an MFI in the Philippines.  Today I prepared a journal update for a Kiva borrower that I liked so much that I’m posting it here, too.

I hope you enjoy it!


To lend to borrowers like Restituta, check out: http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&partner_id=125&status=fundRaising&sortBy=New+to+Old

Milena Arciszewski has a...

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Apr 21, 2009 KE Kenya

I am living in Kisumu, Kenya. Here is a picture of the street where I volunteer, in the Nyalenda slum.

Walking around the slum, one quickly comes across evidence of the post election violence.  Burned buildings are common.  As are random herds of goats.

White people in Kisumu are usually in self-contained SUVs.  Not too many ever enter the Nyalenda slum.  As a result, as I walk, I am usually chased by children.

If I stay in one place for too long, they gather to stare.

In the slum, you find many teenage girls.  Their stories show...

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Jan 28, 2009 KE Kenya

I am volunteering at Kisumu Medical Educational Trust (KMET), which began with the aim of breaking the silence surrounding high maternal mortality from unsafe abortions.  In the Nyanza Province of Kenya, 42% of 15-19 year olds are sexually active, but only 11% use modern contraception.  (Mitchel et al, 2006).  Only eleven percent of sexually active teenagers use condoms, despite the fact that 15% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS.

The KMET office has boxes and boxes of free condoms.  I browsed the selection, impressed.  I felt as though I was browsing the coffee...

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Dec 18, 2008

Today is my last day in Bosnia, the first of my Kiva placements.

I have committed a year to volunteering with Kiva, and I initially hoped to write a book about the experience.  Last August, I imagined myself sitting on a street corner in Kenya, smoking cheap cigarettes.  Poor children would laugh in the distance and I would sigh, reflectively, finally understanding the meaning of it all.  I would walk down the street with a child on my back, high-fiving locals and getting a thumbs-up sign from the local nurse.  My eyes would turn that perspicacious blue, seen only in the eyes of...

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Nov 28, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

In honor of the brilliant Tanzanian posts: http://fellowsblog.kiva.org/2008/10/10/you-know-you%E2%80%99re-in-tanzania-when%E2%80%A6vol-iii/

You know you’re in Bosnia when…

1. Any healthy foods must always be accompanied by sausage.

2. Your coworkers refer to annoying things as “liver” because “they cause the liver to feel pain.”

3. People mix their wine with coca cola.

4. The most popular musicians are over the age of 40, and are usually accompanied by accordions.

5. Pizzas are baked without tomato sauce, but you...

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Nov 17, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 2004, the International Criminal Tribunal ruled unanimously that the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995 was genocide.

I visited Srebrenica last week. I put together a video with a little history, photographs, and an interview with a Kiva Borrower whose husband was killed in the war and whose life has never fully recovered. I hate to sound cliche, but the entire experience broke my heart.

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Oct 14, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

I am living in the attic of a blue house, which I share with fish farmers in the Bosnian countryside.  I have a small kitchen (with a tea kettle and 6 espresso cups), a living room decorated with antique dolls, and a bedroom that smells like the suitcase of a grandparent. It is a musty and warm oasis. Behind the house are vegetable gardens and pools of fish and a guard dog (named Garo) who no longer pulls on his chain.  There is a dirt path that I can follow for hours, past sheep and cemeteries and forgotten homes.

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Sep 18, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

My name is Milena Arciszewski and I will be serving as a Kiva Fellow for a full year in Bosnia, Kenya and possibly Tanzania and Cambodia.  My first placement is in Zene za Zene in Sarajevo, which targets women affected by the genocide of the 1990s.

I have to say… I am so excited to be doing this!  For two years, I have worked in a cubicle coated with pictures of giraffes and elephants, daydreaming of escaping the office to pursue a career in international development.  The Kiva Fellowship feels like my golden ticket.

Training has been awesome. We eat curry pizza. Shoes...

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