50 Hour Weeks and Climbing Peaks

September 1, 2010 at 9:26 am | Posted in Aldea Nimasac, Guatemala, Kiva, Microfinance, Mountains, Travel | 1 Comment
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Read this is you are really bored or if you care about me and about what is going on in my life. Contents: rainy days, movies, books, working Saturdays and climbing everything in sight. And a video of the valley I´m posted up in.

So, I only have two weeks here. Which means I have a lot to get done. On my workplan I have implement the “Cerise Questionaire” and do Borrower Verifications. All of last week I spent in the office trying to convince people to talk to me about social performance in the ASDIR office. Essentially, Cerise is a social performance metric that quantifies how microfinance institutions measure up against their own goals and mission.  This data can be used by funding institutions, can be used to benchmark their progress in the future in the field of social responsibility, and is a standardized measurement that can be used to benchmark microfinance institutions against others (a great tool considering the depth and breath of services that microfinance institutions can offer). Read here another fellow´s blog about the subject. So, I collect data and do interviews to fill out this 60 page questionaire.

My other job is doing borrower verifications. Basically, for a random group of ten borrowers, I check all the data surrounding their loan between Kiva´s system, the institutions MIS (read management information system), and the borrowers passbooks. It´s checks like these that allow Kiva to say with reasonable confidence that all the borrowers on the site are legitimate. So, there is my 50 hour week (even came in for a half-day Saturday!).

In my free time, I love Climbing Peaks around my house. If I don´t have access to sand, waves or the beach, I´d say that this is one of my favorite activities. Everyday after work, I change clothes, don my rain coat, pick an apple for the road and rise from 2500m to well over 3000m as I work my way out of the valley where Aldea Nimasac lies.  I drag myself up and slide down.  All for that great view at the end of the climb. Of sweeping fields, pine forests, and not one house in sight.

I come back as the sun is setting (although I never get to see it because of the cloud cover), and settle into the hammock with a good book or movie. And wait for Andreas to get back from work so we can chow down on his wife´s delicious cooking. Read: fresh tamales, tortillas, and platos típicos everyday. I know its a lot of work (helped chop wood for two hours for the word-fired stove and hot-water heater), but I could get used to this lifestyle.  If only I could stay for longer.


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