My report on our emotional visit with entering CLM clients will have to wait one more day. Now, for a bit of the lighter side of visiting microfinance organizations and borrowers.
During our first half-day in Haiti, my colleague Kate Druschel and I adopted the personas of worldly, well-travelled anti-poverty professionals when advising Yeardley – who was in deep learning mode. At one point over lunch we said, “Yeardley, you should probably avoid eating these things, even though Kate and I will probably eat them since we have built up immunity over the years.” It sounded slightly pompous to me when I said, it, although it was probably true.
Anyway, when we began our long march to visit some Fonkoze clients on Monday, it turned out that Kate and I were the ones who forgot to put on sunblock and appropriate footwear. Ooops! As a result, Kate and I looked “radioactive” for the rest of our visit. Yeardley, by contrast, took all the right precautions and beyond that, she rolled with the punches when there were long periods where electricity, air conditioning, and running water deserted us at our dilapidated hotel in Haiti’s central plateau. Her commitment to learning – so that she could in time make even more significant contributions to our movement – embodies microfinance volunteerism at its very best!