Joel Carlman – Kisumu, Kenya – KF8

Hello from Kisumu, Kenya! After 36 hours of flying and several very sound nights of sleep, I’m writing you from the offices of Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (K-MET), our Kiva field partner! I say our because I have the privilege of working alongside my wife, Alison Carlman throughout our Kiva Fellowship. What an experience!

After arriving at the tiny Kisumu airport on Monday evening, we were able to settle into our temporary housing on the K-MET “complex.” We were in a bit of a daze from the sleepless flights and harrowing airport encounters trying to convince airport personnel in every country that we traveled through that they should exempt us from the charges levied on overweight baggage. Since when is 30kg a person overweight!?

Moving on.

The Kenyan experience thus far has been wonderful. From Ekesa, the administrative manager who picked us up from the airport, to the administrative staff, to John Asuke, the director of the revolving loan fund, to the staff at the field offices—everyone we have encountered at K-MET—and in Kenya in general—has warmed our hearts to an unexpected extent. We are so excited to be able to work with this group of exceptional people!

I have to say, I feel so blessed to be working with my wife, Alison! We have been lucky to volunteer together on several continents, but I’m sure our Kiva Fellowship will prove to be our biggest adventure yet. The people we will meet (and have already met), the adventures we will live, the challenges we will face, and the growth we will experience will no-doubt conspire to change us. These times stretch us, inspire us, encourage us, and even sometimes defeat us. But, when all is said and done, I am so excited that the growth Alison and I will experience will be in the same direction. It is one of the greatest opportunities for our marriage that I can imagine. Thanks, Kiva, for affording us the chance to walk this road together!

With that said, Alison and I have tried to imagine a scenario in which two married fellows can synergize to accomplish more than the sum of our parts. Wish us luck, as we definitely have big shoes to fill! The recent fellows that have paved the way for us—Brett Dobbs, Milena Arciszewski, and Sarah Forbes have pioneered programmes, established relationships in the community, helped K-MET to become more sustainable, and otherwise established themselves amongst the ranks of Kiva Fellow All-Stars. They deserve a huge hand for going above and beyond the Kiva call of duty.

As reported in many previous blog entries, K-MET is an organization that affords a unique look into the organic outpouring of the hearts of people passionate about development, health, and education. They have been able to leverage micro-finance in a very unique way, and we are excited to both learn from and contribute to this organization. Watch this space for the further adventures of the Carlman family in Kenya!

Joel Carlman is in the fourth day of his Kiva Fellowship. Click here to find out more about the Kiva Fellows program and here to find out more about what K-MET is doing in Kisumu, Kenya.

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