Posts Tagged ‘chiclayo’

the regular

I think my previous post was appropriately themed considering that tomorrow is my last day as a Fellow. But the theatric wording did not accurately represent the normalcy of my life over the last few months.

No matter where we go I believe that we naturally seek regularity. A routine lets one take comfort in habit and extend the illusion of control and predictability to an otherwise chaotic world. And my experience as a Kiva Fellow has been no different.

I was a regular customer at certain establishments, was in regular contact with people back home (Ian and Jamal, you guys kept me sane), and even had a regular running path where either every night or every morning I would jog by all of my haunts.

In other words, I had a regular life outside of the ‘glamour’ of Kiva and I thought that would be the most appropriate thing to share in my final post (for now). I will miss my solitary and growth-filled life in Chiclayo but I am ready to keep traveling and come home for Christmas.

So for everyone who has encouraged me, supported me or contributed financially to this experience, thank you!

Click here if you want to the pictures I have taken in Peru so far. I will post links when I update with photos from Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.

11.05.09 – the regular

getting there

Cultural issues surrounding privacy can be one of Kiva’s biggest challenges regarding implementation in the field. Not everyone wants their photo publicized and many hold suspicions when it comes time to sign a waiver. But I think the biggest challenge for Kiva is far more prosaic. The act of getting to a borrower can be an ordeal in and of itself, and things just got more ‘adventurous’ at my MFI.

EDPYME Alternativa has created a new loan product – called Capital Semilla or Seed Capital – destined specifically for clients who will become Kiva borrowers. Loans of $300 or less at a low interest rate are now offered to rural entrepreneurs. Finding them for the interview generally involves a unique combination of collective vans, collective taxis, mototaxis and walking aimlessly through fields – for hours.

And the journeys take us through landscapes that are beautiful whether through unforgivingly desolate desert or knee high cornfields with palm and locust trees spotting the hazy windless horizons.

For your viewing pleasure I have chronicled one day’s worth of transportation that Manuel (the Kiva Assistant) and I embarked on in order to find just 4 borrowers.

10.28.09 – getting there

8 passengers, 3 turkeys and a hen

Sometimes the thin, sensory stitch that distinguishes reality from hallucination begins to come loose. Yesterday I found myself in a situation so unreal that I began to doubt the feasibility of the world around me.

EDPYME Alternativa has created a new loan product destined specifically for clients who will become Kiva borrowers. Loans of $300 or less at a special interest rate are now offered to rural entrepreneurs. Getting to them generally involves a unique combination of collective vans, collective taxis, mototaxis and walking aimlessly through fields.

Yesterday, Manuel and I took many collective taxis — a random car that allows anyone who needs a ride to hop in with their cargo. We drove for twenty minutes on unpaved dirt road through beautiful knee high corn fields, palm and locust trees spotting the hazy windless horizon. By sheer luck we found the borrower we needed to interview, Aurelio Sandoval, walking through a field looking to catch a ride.

The interview only lasted a few minutes and we waited on the side of the ‘road’ for more potential riders to come by. At this point reality begins to fray at the edges.

A copper skinned woman in a teal dress talks to the driver for a moment and leaves her bags on the floor behind the driver’s seat. She walks away and I decide to sit in the car and read the Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It takes a few minutes for me to realize that the chirping sounds I hear are not coming from the tropically bucolic fields surrounding me – but rather from right beside me.

The woman had left a young turkey in a woven plastic bag in the car. And it almost escaped. I went back to reading my book grinning at the situation and out of the corner of my eye I saw not one, but two adolescent turkeys looking up at me with their heads poking out of their unconventional quarters.

Reality frays a little further.

Almost immediately after my realization that there are two turkeys in the car, the driver gives up on waiting for more passengers and tells Aurelio and Manuel that we are going back towards town. Soon after leaving we find another passenger walking. He is holding a live hen, with beautiful orange and gold plumage might I add, by the ankles. He sits in the seat behind the turkey sacks and we set off down the road again.

At some point another gentleman squeezes into the front seat next to Aurelio and we come across the bronze skinned woman again. She squeezes in next to me and for good measure has another sack with a nearly full grown turkey. A decision is made to place all bags of live poultry in the back of this 1997 Toyota station wagon.

The tally so far: 3 passengers in the front, 4 in the back, 3 turkeys and a hen. The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is the only thing tying me to reality according to the logic that to escape into a fiction novel one must be escaping from something non-fictional.

And then we picked up another passenger. He sat with the driver in the driver’s seat. The mystery of who was steering, shifting gears and working the pedals has yet to be solved. In disbelief, I closed my book realizing that fiction had been overwhelmed by the implausibility of non-fiction.

Total chaos loomed threateningly in the collective taxi that carried 8 passengers, 3 turkeys and a hen.

The turkeys and hen could revolt against their confinement at any moment. The car would careen into corn fields as dust entered the open windows obscuring all vision. The driver’s already precarious control over the car’s directional instruments would be lost. Feathers would fly and people would shriek. A tire would blow and the hen would escape out the open window.

And then people started to get out. We had returned to the town and needed to catch our next collective van to see another borrower. Manuel slept through the entire ride and the only proof I have that any of this actually happened are these pictures.

10.24.09 – 8 passengers, 3 turkeys and a hen

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