Fellows Blog Posts by Tdunbar

May 17, 2010 KH Cambodia

by Teresa Dunbar, KF5, Cambodia and Philippines

It was the summer of 2008.  As I sat and watched the stock markets crash around the world from my Cambodian apartment, I could not help but get nervous about my job prospects post fellowship. At that point, I felt like I’d made a mistake by leaving a great job in philanthropy to follow my heart by becoming a Kiva Fellow to learn how microfinance works on the ground. I remember when I told my family of my decision, they thought I was crazy.  I was beginning to think they might be right. Watching US financial pillars crash and...

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Jun 10, 2009 PH Philippines

“Kiva Country” is what ASKI-MFI (Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc.) staff like to call the Isabella Province, the region where their Kiva clients live and work. ASKI MFI is a new Kiva partner in the Philippines. Their headquarters are in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija about 3 hours north of Manila, 10 hours if there is traffic and there is always traffic. They’ve been working hard these past months on their Kiva partnership, and are growing quickly. Beyond micro-finance, ASKI also offers many benefits and programs to their clients such as life and health insurance, educational...

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May 18, 2009 KH Cambodia

CREDIT Microfinance Institution, Kiva’s oldest partner in Southeast Asia, and 7th oldest in its portfolio of partners celebrated its third year on Kiva May 3rd, 2009. As one of Kiva’s oldest partners, they have received over $3.1m in loans, making it the most invested MFI in Kiva’s portfolio of MFIs. Through the generosity of over 48,500 Kiva lenders, over 4150 of CREDIT’s clients have received loans ranging from $100 to $1200 helping them run businesses, fix homes, educate their children, supply daily needs, and ultimately enabling them to build a higher standard of living for themselves...

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Mar 15, 2009 KH Cambodia

Being a Kiva Fellow in Southeast Asia you meet many small business owners. Some of these business owners sell what I like to call “culinary adventures”. So as not to offend people, you get a chance to try many of the dishes. Over the course of my seven months, I’ve discovered after a while to stop asking what it is, and just try it. Some have left their impressions on me though, and I thought I’d share them with you. Let’s see, in Cambodia you have fried tarantula and various bugs such as beetle, cricket, and bee larva. The most delicious and famous ones come from the Kampong Cham region,...

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Nov 19, 2008 KH Cambodia

Wow, this Kiva world is small. The other day, while I was attending a United States Presidential election-day event with a good portion of the other expats in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I noticed a woman just as teary-eyed as me as the results rolled in for President Elect Barack Obama. Both overwhelmed with emotion, we gave each other a hug out of pure joy. Then we just started talking, launching into a familiar round of questions you ask when you live or travel abroad.

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Nov 14, 2008 KH Cambodia

I’ve been working with CREDIT-MFI as a Kiva Fellow for about a month and a half, and I still feel like I’m getting my feet wet. CREDIT is fairly large with about 360 employees working throughout Cambodia in their 7 branches. I work closely with CREDIT’s two Kiva Coordinators, Sopheap and Vichet, at the head office in Phnom Penh. We work behind the scenes managing Kiva CREDIT clients in CREDIT’s Management Information System (MIS), and on the Kiva website. We translate business questionnaire forms and often journal questionnaire forms (when we do not interview the clients directly) from...

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Sep 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

After 7 movies, 4 made-for-TV dramas, 1 documentary, 2 Sudoku games, 1 confiscated Swiss army knife, 1 – $70 extra baggage weight charge, 5 airplane meals of chicken, chicken, and more sai mouan (chicken in Khmer), and 3 different planes, I am finally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I believe I am the last of the Kiva Fellow 5 Class reporting for duty, but don’t quote me on that, and I just can’t believe I am here after all those months of jealousy and admiration from reading the other fellow’s blogs and notes from the field.

I arrived yesterday morning around 9am...

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