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Sierra Leone February 2011

Page history last edited by rsb 7 years, 2 months ago


In Jan/Feb 2011, Noah Ballmer and I went to Sierra Leone.   We spent a week working in Freetown and Makeni (see map below), and then spent a week just travelling and meeting people.   This trip powerfully influenced me.


For me, this was a unique opportunity to spend time with normal folks in Africa that I would never otherwise have had time to get to know and understand. 


We brought our ukuleles.     

This is a work in progress.  It's about 90% done.  The boring sections are outlined in bold.  Just read the bold bits for a summary.


I'll give you a link to the entire picture gallery later, but I recommend you follow along and read some of it as most of the good pics are in-line now.  For instance, here is a cute picture of a puppy I kind of fell in love with in Makeni.


If you really don't want to read anything boring, you can Jump to the first 2011 page to get to the pictures Otherwise, scroll down and read on.


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What is a KivaStaff Trip? 


I work for Kiva.  


Kiva.org allows anyone to secure part of a loan for a small business.  


You can visit our website and become a "lender" to someone in, say, Africa, who wants to expand his or her business - a farm, perhaps.


Effectively,  the farmer, called a "borrower", then uses the money and pays you back.  You can then secure another loan with the same money, or take it back and blow it immediately on beer and beauty products.


Of course, it is infinitely more complicated than I just described to secure a tiny part of a loan in another country and actually get paid back, but Kiva exists solely to make the precise effect I described trivially easy for our lenders - it's like magic.


At least one week every two years, Kiva requires that each staff member visit our microfinance partners in the field.  Our microfinance partners are the people who actually disburse money to, and collect money from, "borrowers".  We also call microfinance partners "MFIs" (Micro-Finance-Institutions).  We can't make the magic happen without the MFIs.


Anyway, every staff member has to visit MFIs, no real agenda, just go visit them.  So Noah and I made an agenda up, and went to Sierra Leone in January 2011.


I am creating pages for major events.  I list them chronologically below.  There will be a link to the next page in chronological order at the bottom of each event page.


Timeline of Events


2010 - long, boring background


Some time in the past - discussions

Aug 2010 - Start emailing with MFIs

Nov 2010 - Conference calls with NGOs

Dec 2010 - Fundraise and Identify Gear and Resource requirements


2011 - The Good Stuff


Jan 21 - Friday - leave sfo

Jan 22 - Sat - london

Jan 23 - Sun - lungi

Jan 24 - Mon - Freetown Sierra Lighthouse

Jan 25 - Tues - ARD day 1

Jan 26 - Wed - ARD day 2

Jan 27 - Thu - Makeni

Jan 28 - Fri - SMT day 1

Jan 29 - Sat - SMT day 2

Jan 30 - Sun -  Camabai(sp?)

Jan 31 - Mon - SMT Final Checkin - travel Freetown

Feb 1 - Tuesday - ARD Final Checkin

Feb 2 - Wednesday - Lakka - meet w/bocci

Feb 3 - Thursday - No 2 beach - Tribe Wanted day 1

Feb 4 - Friday - Tribe Wanted day 2

Feb 5 - Saturday - Tribe Wanted day 3 - travel Freetown

Feb 6 - Sunday - Freetown - blacksmith

Feb 7 - Monday - Return Home

March 2011 - documentation and follow up


Next -> discussions





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