Change Yourself…Change The World.

June 13, 2010, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Egypt, Jordan, Kenya

Dear faithful readers,

Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days. I am back home in lovely Florida, relaxing at my parents house. I’m not sure if you are all aware of this, but both of my parents have quite an unusual diet. You could say that they’re vegan, or raw foodists, or a combination of both (my mother has been this way for quite awhile, my father, more recently). My mom reads religiously on the benefits of raw nutrition and why they are so wonderful for your overall health.

So it’s wonderful to come home and reap the benefits, which means all kinds of delicious raw vegan cheeses, piles of fruit in the fridge for my sampling, salads galore, thai coconuts, and best of all, oranges and oranges for my parents’s pristine juicer. Whenever I come home it is paradise, and I am taking it all in and feeling so happy and healthy.

But this is not the point of this post, so I move on. I found out where I will be going for my Kiva fellowship! But before I get into the details, I wanted to explain a bit about what a Kiva fellowship is.

First off, for those that are unaware, Kiva is an online micro-lending platform, where people in developed countries can connect to entrepreneurs in developing countries, lending anywhere from $25 to an unlimited amount to these entrepreneurs. It’s a really fantastic and completely innovative concept to looking at development, and the best part is the lender gets back their money after usually a year’s time. Many people recycle their first loan right back into Kiva. It’s a wonderful system.

The way that Kiva does this, is by connecting with micro-finance institutions (MFIs) all over the world. Kiva currently has 100+ ‘field partners’ (MFIs) that submit Kiva entrepreneurs to the website to be lended to.

What a Kiva FELLOW does is work at one of these micro-finance institutions for about 4 months, overseeing the Kiva department and making sure that operations between Kiva and the micro-finance institution are running smoothly. And so with great excitement and pleasure, I’m really pleased to announce that I will be working with Faulu Kenya, the largest micro-finance organization in Kenya! They are a Christian organization originally founded by Food for the Hungry International, and they’ve recently started working with mobile banking, which I find fascinating (given my experience with mobile applications during my internship with Grameen Solutions, a software development company and subsidiary of Grameen Bank). While Faulu Kenya has branches all over the country, most of the Kiva borrowers are based in Nairobi, and so I will be stationed on the outskirts of Nairobi for the duration of my fellowship. I am incredibly excited to have such a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t wait to go!

But that’s just the beginning– I have a two week gap from the end of Kiva training (which is held in San Francisco) and the start of my fellowship- and so I will be going to Egypt for five days, followed by Jordan for four days! I plan to visit the pyramids and the Nile River in Egypt, and Petra (one of the seven wonders of the world) and the Dead Sea in Jordan! I am SO unbelievably excited to go to both of these places and have the opportunity to experience two countries I’ve been dying to see.

Moreover, after my fellowship ends, I have a month before I head home for Thanksgiving– and so I will be traveling to Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and maybe even stop by Malawi, or jet-set to Ethiopia.

So there you have it. My African adventures start on July 21st. At least six more countries in a duration of five months. Ready set go!

Much love,


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