A(nother) Letter Home

 Dear friends, It gives me so much strength and hope to see you all fighting back, through the things you post, the rallies you attend, and the thoughts you share. I really hope that in this moment we can not only fight the immediate threat but also realise that we have the opportunity to build…

Thoughts on Paris and Beirut

I felt terrible, visceral sorrow when hearing about the attacks in Paris and Beirut, both cities I have been lucky enough to visit. I understand why many American/Western people react more strongly to the attacks in Paris, for various reasons: how many people have gone there or have friends and family who have visited (just count how many…

Twisted Dreams of Africa

If you want to see Africa, for the love of god, please don’t watch the Taylor Swift “Wildest Dreams” music video. Watch this one instead, Congolese artist Baloji’s latest, which is an “ode to the struggle, the resilience” of the Congolese people and shows striking footage of the artist on a road trip through Kinshasa…

Growing up with Scout

Yes, it’s painful and sad to read the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (Oh, Jem) — even worse to read this NYTimes review that reveals “Atticus Finch is a racist”, plain and simple. Just as grown-up Scout/Jean-Louise has to face that the idealized childhood vision of her father isn’t real (or is…

Who We Are

What happened in Charleston is the convergence of two of the most grotesque and horrific things about America — gun violence and racial hatred. Neither one is inevitable, but every time it happens there is “shock”, denial, and willful avoidance of what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

Instagram*, Hidden Costs, and the Price of Doing What’s Right

It’s been a hard week to be living in a foreign country without the support of family and close friends. Not someone who is easily shaken up, I was a bit surprised at how much I’ve wept since the shootings last Friday in Connecticut. When I’m on the phone with people from home I’m okay,…

Pick a Side: Kony 2012 and the problem of Good vs. Evil

We all know who Joseph Kony is now. Does it matter how and why? And what does it say about us that it took Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video to get us here?  Social media and identity A few days ago I watched Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video and felt a strong reaction swell within…

New Orleans: A Developing Country in America?

“This isn’t America. New Orleans is like a developing country.” In the four weeks I’ve lived in New Orleans, I’ve heard this statement from nearly ten different people. Glancing around at the Wal-Marts, the boutique frozen yogurt shops, the SUVs, and the stately houses on St. Charles Ave., it’s been hard for me believe the…

A New Look at Need: Microfinance from Tanzania to New Orleans

This post first appeared on the Kiva Fellows Blog at fellowsblog.kiva.org on Oct. 1, 2011. In 2009 when I told friends and family I was moving to Tanzania to study international development and to work for Kiva in the field of microfinance, or the furnishing of small loans to the working poor, we all had…

Volunteer Alliance Ambassadors

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything.” -Katharine Hepburn In 2007, I co-founded an organization called Volunteer Alliance with a small group of inspiring new friends and co-workers in Tanzania. We wanted to start a movement of empowered and…

Yurtcozy- Microfinance and Clean Energy

If you like the idea of Kiva and are interested in other ways that microfinance can be used to solve the world’s most pressing economic, social and environmental issues, then I encourage you to check out Yurtcozy.org. My friend and former Kiva Fellow Jennifer Gong finished her Kiva placement in Dar es Salaam and went…

What do Kiva lenders expect to hear?

This post was written by Eva Wu, Kiva Fellow in the Phillipines, and posted here on 5 December 2009 on the Kiva Fellows blog… Though Eva talks about the tough side of working in microfinance, I think her writing and the comments shared by Kiva lenders after her post are the best demonstration I have…