Mary Riedel KF9, Philippines

I’m writing a blog post and posting this video because

  1. It makes me laugh
  2. I’m behind!
  3. Right now it feels like that’s all I can do. Why? Well since you asked…lemme tell you…

An overtired and ill (I still don’t know what I have, feels like more than a normal flu though) Kiva Fellow spilled an entire mug of coffee on her computer last week. I know it’s just a computer but when it’s a lifeline to your friends and family it feels like loosing a small pet (like maybe a parakeet). On the bright side I did back-up all my files last week (which almost feels like flossing doesn’t it?) on a cool new external hard drive I purchased from the Apple when I was in the US. So I can’t be mad at myself for being irresponsible and not following through – at least I have my data – theoretically ( What I didn’t know is the drive can only be read by a Mac and there are none in sight.) Eventually it will work out but I’m a little bummed….

So, why am I so tired? Well,  I am recovering from a week of travel and ASKI Buklods (A Christmas party and combined Annual Update). I was honored to be invited to attend one of the weeklong (yes one of them!) celebrations with ASKI senior management, board members and clients.
There were over 5000 clients at one party, and about 1500 at each of the other two – it was intense!

It was especially great to see some spiritual principles at work during the holiday season

Love - Clients interacting with each other (watch the video)
Hope – The Department of Trade speaking about national programs ASKI will be helping clients access in 2010
Service - Elections taking place for MBA Coordinator (This is an opportunity for a client to help provide fellow clients with access to insurance as part of their MBA program– Mutual Benefit Association)
Joy – Games, Prizes, and Dancing.

  • Hula hoop relay (hysterical)
  • Let’s make a deal (Is it Door #1 or Door #2? In this game winning livestock is actually a good thing!)
  • A version of 25,000 pyramid (if the client did not guess correctly– the loan officer would get goo poured over him!
  • Hip Hip Hooray (kind of like Simon Says).

And of course there was dancing and despite the fact that the rules said “you must dance to Christmas music” of course the Filipinos still found a way to get “Nobody, Nobody but you in there.”

Check out this  Video on Vimeo…(Youtube is blocked at my “office”). You can hear the number 1 song in the Philippines too (Nobody, but you!)

ASKI Borrowers Dancing up a Storm from Mary Riedel on Vimeo.

I feel so honored to be working with a Kiva’s Microfinance Partners who is so innovative in their approach to servicing their clients. Although, with 1500 – 5000 clients at a party not everyone can win, or even play! There were some sad faces but ASKI took note and is always looking for ways to help more people. The annual gathering/parties (Buklods) actually developed as a scaleable way to honor the invitations of all clients who traditionally invite ASKI executives/management to their homes during the holiday season to say thank you! ASKI has about 42,360 active borrowers – Now that would really be tiring!!

Mary Riedel is a Kiva Fellow volunteering with ASKI Kiva’s Microfinance Partner’s in the Philippines.

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