Wait, What Do You Do Again?
By Eric Burdullis, KF12, Cuzco, Peru
As a Kiva Fellow, no two days are the same. One morning I will wake up at 5am to try to visit a borrower before they head out to work, and the next I’ll be in the office uploading loans or training the Kiva team on how to take a great picture or write a journal worth reading. In fact, as a Kiva Fellow, our job is so diverse that the Kiva staff creates long lists of things for us to do called deliverables. My favorite on these “To Dos” is Borrower Verifications. Essentially, we go into the field and do a spot check to make sure that information uploaded on the Kiva website is real.'
At times, this can be frustrating (and others very rewarding). It means tracking down borrowers in remote villages, verifying the information on the website: loan amount, loan terms, the use of the loan, their photo, the start and end date of the loan, and checking to make sure they are aware they are on Kiva, all the way down to checking their ID to make sure the names match. Like the video shows, a lot of times you don’t find the borrower on your first try. You can go to their business in the market and met their son only to find out that on that day, they took a trip into Cuzco.
Or more interestingly, many borrowers are doing whatever it takes to make ends meet. This means having one, two, or even three businesses (as well as farming on the side). When you eventually do catch up with them (which at 4200m is tough), they might only speak Quechua causing you to have to find someone who speaks both Quechua and Spanish to translate. That day, I eventually did catch up with Roxana Qquesuallpa Yucra after a two hour hike through the fields behind this small town. Her loan was for the sheep and alpaca wool to make clothes, but when I found her, she was planting potatoes with her family showing that many borrowers engage in several productive activities.
Wait, so what exactly do Kiva Fellows do? We help connect the borrowers to you, the lenders. We ensure that each and every field partner knows and correctly performs Kiva processes: from uploading loans to doing journals, and we, through deliverables like borrower verification, keep Kiva running by making sure that the people you see on Kiva are REAL people who really need your help.
Eric Burdullis a Kiva Fellow with Asociacion Arariwa in Cuzco, Peru. He is currently listening to the new GirlTalk and avoiding the afternoon thunderstorms. He is LOVING his role as a Kiva Fellow here in Peru, but missing friends and family back home during the holiday season!