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Month: January 2010

Bacolod Living

Bacolod Living

I’ve now been here in Southeast Asia for 6 weeks and have yet to write about where I live.  Faithful readers of this blog (mainly immediate family – my father comments on each article using a different pseudonym from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) and others (everyone else) have heard about a range of topics, mainly microfinance, tourism, and my beard (the two-month update is only one short week away).  I get a lot of questions, however, about where I actually…

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"The Women of Microfinance"

"The Women of Microfinance"

In my directorial debut, I’ve created a short film about three women with different roles in the microfinance community.  All are part of the same system, and all are working toward their goals in their own way.   Hope you enjoy. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlJBK7FMcwg&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

Today I woke up at 5:30 in order to make the 1.5-hour trip to Cadiz City before the first center meeting.  The bus passes by 100 or so kilometers of sugar cane farms and fields.  The loan officers arrive at the branch around 8 AM.   There will be 14 center meetings led by 7 loan officers.  Each loan officer is in charge of 1-3 meetings per day, depending on the proximity and size of the centers, which range from 6…

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Who is Poor? Defining Poverty

Who is Poor? Defining Poverty

This was written for the Kiva Fellows blog.  Read the original here. How do you define poverty?   A basic needs index looks at whether (and to what extent) fundamental needs are fulfilled – food, water, shelter, clothing – and whether people have access to critical services – education, information (newspapers, etc.), sanitation facilities, healthcare, financial services.  This is an absolute poverty calculation, which uses a standard threshold that can be compared across countries and continents.  Another method is to use…

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Thoughts on Mass Tourism

Thoughts on Mass Tourism

“To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension…

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Fixing a Tire at Angkor Wat

Fixing a Tire at Angkor Wat

Last week I spent three days visiting Angkor Wat and the nearby city of Siem Reap.  I’d arrived two nights before and, in the span of 48 hours, had already become cynical and jaded about the entire experience.  I’d spent the last three days getting ripped off by street vendors, restaurants, and taxi drivers, and was ready to snap.  Feeling downtrodden by the constant scams and suffocating hordes of tour groups, I opted for a more natural, pure means of…

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