By Jacob Saur and Nick Anderson
We are two Kiva employees based in the Bay Area -- Jacob is a software engineer and Nick is a product manager. We wanted to share a little about the recent trip we took to Medellin to visit a Kiva partner and several Kiva borrowers. You can make another loan to inspiring borrowers across Colombia here.
 


From left: Kivans Jacob, Nick, Kiva Fellow David P. and a Kiva borrower Jorge in Medellin

The Kiva Field Partner we visited, Interactuar, is a social development organization with a mission to generate sustainable jobs and empower aspiring entrepreneurs in Colombia’s low-income communities. They even offer vocational business training for a wide variety of industries. Despite the challenges facing entrepreneurs in this region, which was heavily affected by drug cartel and guerrilla violence for decades, thousands of borrowers start their own micro businesses through Interactuar’s services each year.

In Medellin, we visited with a family of 7 brothers and their parents who run their own business making arepas from scratch.  Arepas are a round, corn-based flatbread that is a Colombian staple. They are sold at restaurants in nearly every neighborhood.  

We watched as each family member managed a different step of the process: boiling the corn, grinding the meal, cutting out the circle shapes and finally baking them atop an open wood fire.  With their Kiva loan they are building more racks to cool and store arepas and constructing a safer ventilation system for the large wood-fired stove.  We left feeling grateful to have seen such a happy and hardworking family, and with a newfound appreciation for handmade arepas. Watch this family making their tasty arepas and make a loan to another deserving borrower in Colombia here:
 

Thanks for reading!
 
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