What is Microfinance: A View from the Field

They were village women in braids, highland hats and tiny pumps. Some even had babies slung to their backs. But they all made their way about the makeshift soccer pitch at pace, kicking around a half-deflated ball. We -- of hiking shoes, branded outdoor clothing and little to weigh us down – were getting our butts kicked.We had just come from a mountaintop … [Read more...]

Cocaine: A Story That Begins in the Bolivian Jungle

I need to fill up the tank completely. Finding gasoline in Chapare can be unreliable. It’s one of the ingredients in cocaine production – and that gets first priority. -- Alvarro, our client and guide in Cochabamba, Bolivia explains why it’s necessary to gas up in the city before heading into the jungle.Paraguay customs. We had just crossed the 200 mile desert … [Read more...]

Machu Picchu? Not Yet. A Slideshow of the Other Peru

As much as anyone else, we enjoy visiting world-famous tourist sites and embarking on adventure trips. Peru has been no exception. In fact, in just a few hours we depart for a five-day trek to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu by way of a mountain pass at 4650 meters/15,500 feet.But there’s almost always another side to the countries we visit. And sometimes we … [Read more...]

Microfinance Diaries: Seeing is Believing in West Bengal

The driver carved his way across northern West Bengal through territory unknown to most, including the mapmakers. Our SUV eventually rolled to a stop at the end of a dirt road where a group of village women dressed in their best and brightest saris were seated in a semi-circle on the ground. They had been waiting for hours.And they were waiting for us. … [Read more...]

Microfinance Panoramas from Guatemala

Microfinance in Guatemala

What does a family-run small business launched or expanded with the help of a microloan look like?We offer a couple of answers...in three dimensions.Maybe you've seen our photo essays from microfinance programs in Guatemala and India. Now we share a three-dimensional inside look - via 360 degree panoramic photography - at two small family-run businesses in … [Read more...]