Rick grew up and spent most of his professional life in the eastern US - New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania. Even though he worked in what might be viewed as a stodgy industrial business in the US for 18 years (designing and manufacturing electrical distribution equipment) he has always traveled and now claims to have visited more than 100 countries. From mud-crawling in the caves of Costa Rica in 1982, his most recent extended adventure was a 4300km solo cycling trip from Malta to Dublin including the length of the Pyrenees. He just got the first entry stamp in his fourth (or is it 5th?) passport on a birding trip to Belize. His work for a US manufacturing firm took him for short trips with joint development partners to South Korea, France and Germany, and to manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Brazil. More recently he spent two years developing an engineering design center in Suzhou, China to design products for the Chinese market. Working and getting things done in a foreign culture have brought the best rewards, and he is looking forward to applying his managerial skills to assisting Kiva partners. Besides all that work, he is an avid photographer (since back when there was film!), skis, snowshoes, and flies airplanes.

Fellows Blog Posts by Rick Beck

Apr 7, 2013 ID Indonesia, TL Timor-Leste

Usually when I've been in places that I declare to be "artificial" I am thinking of a Disney theme, or a place like Cabo San Lucas or Cancun - southern California or Florida transported to Mexico - a place which bears little resemblance to what it would be like if it weren't for the tourist dollars it was created to attract. Of course, Las Vegas is the archetype for turning a desert into a sweet water oasis, of sorts.

The Jesus statue from the hills above Dili.

Dili, the capital of...

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Mar 17, 2013 TL Timor-Leste

An Unstable Foundation

In western mythology the phoenix, rising from its own ashes, represents cyclical extinction and regeneration; death and re-birth. Human stories lack the mythical qualities of the tales they inspire.

"On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority (78.5%) of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military -...

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Feb 20, 2013 TL Timor-Leste

I arrived in Timor-Leste about a week ago to begin a Kiva Fellowship, and you might be wondering where the heck that is. So I'll try to fill you in on some background while I ease into the place.

I like maps. Here's one of the world:

Timor Is Way Out There (Unless You Live in Australia)
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