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Month: May 2012

What Do I Think of World Travel?

What Do I Think of World Travel?

Over the last three years, I’ve visited nearly two dozen countries on five of the seven continents.  I lived and worked in the Philippines for eight months, Ghana for another six, and Kenya for exactly one year.  In addition, I spent around six months backpacking through various a dozen far-flung places like Burma, Uganda, the DRC, and, most recently, Thailand.  In fact, as I write this, I am sitting at the beach bar at Ban’s Diving Resort in Koh Tao,…

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What Do I Think of Microfinance? Pt. 2

What Do I Think of Microfinance? Pt. 2

This is part two of a two-part post on microfinance.  Part one can be read here In the last post, I gave a rundown of the mechanics of microfinance and explained the criticism of high interest rates.  Another criticism came from development economists like Dean Karlan, founder of Innovations for Poverty Action and pioneer in the utilization of randomized controlled trials for determining the efficacy of development interventions, and Jonathan Morduch, who, in his seminal book, Portfolios of the Poor,…

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What Do I Think of Microfinance? Pt. 1

What Do I Think of Microfinance? Pt. 1

This is part one of a two-part post on microfinance. Through Kiva and Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, microfinance became my entrée into this world.  I knew very little about microfinance prior to finding Kiva, other than what I had seen on an episode of Frontline highlighting the company’s early days.  Over the subsequent nine months on the ground in the Philippines, I learned as much as I could, and became a bit of a microfinance apologist, believing it could…

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How to Break Into Development, pt. 2

How to Break Into Development, pt. 2

This is part one of a two-part post on getting involved in international development work.  Read part one here. Trying to answer these questions – at first in vain, and, a few years later, more successfully – helped me so much that I have dispensed this same advice a dozen times since.  But I would add a fourth question is to these questions as philosophy is to math.  Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this experience?” Because figuring…

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How to Break Into Development, Pt. 1

How to Break Into Development, Pt. 1

This is part one of a two-part post on getting involved in international development work.  Read part two here. One day back in May 2009, I was sitting at my desk at my office on Boylston Street in downtown Boston reading Next Billion.  I had decided the week before that I would quit my job in September and leave the U.S. for an adventure.  After a cursory review of the options, I decided backpacking and teaching English weren’t for me,…

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The End of an Era: Leaving Nairobi

The End of an Era: Leaving Nairobi

On Sunday, I leave Nairobi for Thailand, where I will spend a month visiting various beaches and diving various reefs.  Of the many transitions I have documented on this blog, this one is most significant, as it is the most final.  After Southeast Asia, I return to the United States for the foreseeable future, embarking on the next phase of my career as an MBA student at MIT.  Right now, from the Flamingo Cafeteria in the Julius Nyerere International Airport…

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Should You Pay a Bribe?

Should You Pay a Bribe?

Around the world, money talks.  In some places, it speaks in a whisper; in others, it is like your humble correspondent at a party after one too many dark and stoney’s – loud and obnoxious.  And in Kenya, many, if not all, businesses, will at some point find themselves deciding whether or makes financial sense to pay a bribe. Corruption is not a third world vice.  There are enough Swiss bank accounts and shell companies in the Cayman Islands to…

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