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Posts Tagged ‘Lesser Sunda Islands’

One in a Few Billion.

May 24, 2013 3 comments
Timor Meets the Sea

Timor Meets the Sea

I’ve written a few blogs about my experience as a Kiva Fellow in Timor, but I haven’t written directly about a typical borrower in this very poor region. So as I wrap up this fellowship with Kiva, I’m taking this opportunity to fill that gap.

The borrower you’re about to meet lives within the city limits of Kupang on the western tip of Timor. Kupang is the provincial capital of Nusa Tenggara Timur which includes the western half of Timor, the islands of Flores, Sumba, Alor, Rinca, Komodo and 560 other small islands. NTT is the poorest province in Indonesia, but it is a beautiful place. Jagged mountain skylines (mostly volcanic, though Timor is not) are bounded by coral reefs, isolated and deserted beaches, and rich turquoise seas.

The Kiva micro-finance partner in Kupang, Tanaoba Lais Manekat (“Serving With Love” in the local Dawan language) has been operating since 1995. TLM has grown to 30 branches operating on six islands serving 7,000 clients. At this writing there are 410 active Kiva loans which will expand to about 700 as TLM uses all of the loan capacity now available to them. The average Kiva loan is about $650 and is repaid in just over two years.

Blandina with Daughter Ivander

Blandina with Daughter Ivander

Blandina has been a TLM/Kiva client for several years. She is 46 and raising six children spanning the ages of 6 to 18. She exemplifies someone who was at risk of slipping into poverty and was unfortunate enough to find herself there.

Ten years ago she would not have considered herself poor. Although they lived in a humble house, her husband, Oktovianus, worked as a mason. Together with her income as a sales clerk, and a small goods business in the local market they were able to support their family.

But a few years ago Oktovianus passed away after a long illness which drained the family savings and forced them to sell their home. Blandina was left with nothing and needed to support her children by herself. Her own illness forced her to leave her job as a sales clerk, so to meet expenses she went door to door washing clothes.

Blandina's Home and Kisok

Blandina’s Home and Kisok

The earnings from washing just wasn’t enough, so she began to generate a bit more income by opening a kiosk business from the home she now rents. It’s a small operation selling home-made snacks and baked goods (her spicy fried corn is especially yummy), instant noodles, toiletries, staples like salt and sugar, candies and other items. She began with her own capital and borrowed about $300 through TLM and Kiva to increase her stock and build a larger customer base.

After housing and feeding her children, keeping them in school has been Blandina’s primary concern. She has a unique savings system where money earned from each of her activities is put in a different colored box for different expenses – one of these is for tuition. She also has savings in TLM’s deposit program.

She recently took out her fifth loan and will be using the $400 to expand her income activity by buying piglets to raise and fatten for re-sale.

The income from her various businesses has allowed her to meet her goal to keep her children in school. Unfortunately, her oldest son recently graduated from high school and is not able to attend university – he’s working as a fare collector on one of the local mini-buses to help with family expenses.

Blandina is hoping that continuing support from TLM and Kiva’s lenders will help her build a better future for her other children. She is certainly working hard to make that happen.

If you haven’t looked into Kiva, you might take this opportunity to do so. It’s an easy method to help the neediest people directly through Kiva’s partners worldwide. It has been proven for many years that micro-finance works – micro-loans enable people to help themselves. It would be great if you could make a loan for as little as $25 to one of the billions of poor people like Blandina throughout the world.

Go to Kiva.org and meet someone like Blandina. Loan them a few bucks. It isn’t tax deductible because you get it back.

More pictures of NTT here: NTT Photos

Kupang Waterfront

Kupang Waterfront

Sunset from Kupang

Sunset from Kupang

Postcard from the Lesser Sunda Islands

May 15, 2013 3 comments

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Here are some random photos from some of the islands of the Lesser Sunda group: Indonesian Timor, Sabu, Rote, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo.

Rote Island

Rote Island

Rice Fields

Rice Fields on Timor

Street Food - Salome

Street Food – Salome

At Berth in Sabu

At Berth in Sabu

Floating Off Komodo

Floating Off Komodo

Beauty and the Beast .. or .. "My Last Photo"

Beauty and the Beast .. or .. “My Last Photo”

Best Left Alone

Best Left Alone

Morning

Morning

Sunrise

Sunrise at Anchor Off Komodo

Flores Island in the Distance

Flores Island in the Distance

Rinca Island

Rinca, a Dry Island

King of Rinca

King of Rinca

Landscape

Landscape

Labuanbajo Harbor

Labuanbajo Harbor

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Four on a Bike

Four on a Bike

Local Carrier

Island Hopper

Third Police Station of the Afternoon

Third Police Station of the Afternoon

Crystal Cave Pool

Crystal Cave Pool – Scene of the Crime

Oesau Market

Oesau Market

Sunset at Kupang

Sunset at Kupang

West Timor

West Timor

Small Scale Tempe Producer

Small Scale Tempe Producer

Visiting Clients

Visiting Clients

Small Business on Sabu

Small Business on Sabu

Sabu from the Air

Sabu from the Air

Kupang Sunset - A Daily Event

Another Kupang Sunset – A Daily Event

Mister! Take My Picture!

Mister! Take My Picture!

Not Sure

Not Sure

Rice Fields

Timor Rice Fields and Hills

Kupang Waterfront

Kupang Waterfront

Bemo Guys

Bemo Guys

There are many more photos to see on flickr. Click HERE.

Here’s the map I promised. The Lesser Sunda Islands make up the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (East Southeast Islands):

Nusa Tenggara Timur - The East Southeast Islands

Nusa Tenggara Timur