A Day in Makassar

By Rob Packer

I flew into Sulawesi’s metropolis, Makassar from Denpasar last July. Things seemed promising compared with the relative chaos in the domestic terminal in Denpasar. My flight was continuing to Manado and quantity over quality was the order of the day at check-in: a group of four women in front of me in the queue were trying to travel with forty bags, quite a few were designer bags (possibly fake). Meanwhile, Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin Airport is a light, airy, pseudo-Norman Foster conservatory that wouldn’t look out of place in the Gulf. It’s also the gateway to eastern Indonesia and was going to be my jumping-off point for the highlands of Toraja.

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Countdown to Kyrgyzstan

By Rob Packer, KF9 (Kyrgyzstan)

This is a repost from the Kiva Fellows’ Blog

It’s been a short six months since I first found out about Kiva and in that time I’ve moved from having an interest in poverty alleviation and a vague desire to “do a bit more” to graduating yesterday as a fully-fledged KF9 Kiva Fellow. And my physical journey to Kiva has been no less of a complete change of direction: it started six months ago with me working for an investment bank in Hong Kong, and continued with persuading Indonesian internet cafe owners to let me have interviews over Skype in the dead of the night, returning to my hometown of London, England for a few weeks to say goodbye to friends and family, and finally arriving at Kiva Fellows training in San Francisco. My journey to my placement with Mol Bulak Finance in Kyrgyzstan will take me most of the way back to where I started.

KF9 Graduation with Kiva Staff and KF9 Kiva Fellows

One of the most obvious differences between my placement and most other Kiva Fellow placements is that I won’t be dealing with extreme heat. (more…)

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