So, a slight change in plans. Kiva recently asked if I’d be willing to change my placement due to a higher priority opportunity in Samoa. I’m excited to say I’ll now be working with South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) in Apia, the capital and largest/only city of Samoa. While I’m very excited to learn about a new country and the place I’ll call home this fall, I realize it’s time to do some major re-planning! Unlike the Philippines, Samoa is actually quite expensive, and I’ll likely have to increase my fundraising goal, which is currently the biggest concern on my mind. I’ll also have to do more research on accommodations, culture, local transportation, and language, which I’m stoked about!
Previous Kiva Fellows who have served in Apia, Samoa have documented their experiences on the Kiva Fellows blog, and offer great insights into the work at SPBD, the clients, and Samoan culture. Here are a couple of great reads:
The Sundance Island: A Photo Essay of Samoa, Athan Makansi – KF8
The Top Ten List, Nicholas Clark
Gali Sends Greetings from Samoa, Kiva Fellows Blog
Kiva notified me recently that on my fellowship, I’ll be working with CEVI (Community Economic Ventures, Inc.) in Tagbilaran City, Philippines. My start date will be around September 1st, so it’s go time for fundraising, booking a flight, finding housing, and brushing up on conversational Tagalog/Cebuano. 🙂
It’s starting to sink in that I’ll be leaving my job of almost 3.5 years at EARN, the Bay Area, and friends and family to move to an unfamiliar country, where I’ll likely know no one, for four months. That small anxious feeling, however, doesn’t compare to the excitement and buzz I feel from knowing I’ll be working in the field, meeting CEVI’s inspiring borrowers, working alongside CEVI’s talented staff to help more borrowers achieve their dreams, expanding my foodie repertoire with local delicacies, reinforcing Kiva’s mission, and reporting in right here (and on the Kiva Fellows blog) to let you know what I’m up to.
About Tagbilaran City
Tagbilaran City is located on the island province of Bohol in the Philippines. From what I’ve researched, Tagbilaran City is the capital of Bohol, and actually has over 20 banking institutions that service the entire island (that’s right, in ONE city). During my fellowship, I’d be especially curious to see how CEVI responds and adjusts to this crowded landscape of financial institutions. Additionally, Bohol and its neighboring island, Panglao Island, offer some of the best diving in the world, boast amazing scenery (white beaches and Chocolate Hills, anyone?), and are home to this cute little fellow.
Tagbilaran City. Has a nice ring to it, yeah? 🙂