number one point of business: finding out that obama won the presidency was surreal. it was 8am and i was sitting down to breakfast. i couldn't run around and scream for joy because i didn't want to wake my azeri family. so what did i do? i called my clustermate andrea and demanded that she meet me outside. so i sprinted on the spot straight to her apartment building. when i saw her i started dancing and yelling for joy. we hugged and were ecstatic. we were probably an interesting sight to see. azeri's don't hug...it isn't part of their culture. instead they kiss a lot. so, when we were jumping up and down hugging i'm sure it was strange. but oh man, how wonderful did it feel.
later that day i found out my site in azerbaijan and my job!!!! i couldn't be happier. this is my organization:
Finance for Development
FinDev LLC is a local non-banking, non-for-profit credit organization that offers loans to households and communities, as well as community members who do not have any access to other credit and finance sources. The organization was established in 2002. Organization Purpose is to facilitate the development of sustainable entrepreneurship and income generation activities of sectors which have no access to other traditional financial and credit sources. Finance for Development supports the IDP and local communities as well as rural and urban people to build their own secure income sources through lending activities; to develop their livelihoods; to start small businesses by providing of credit facilities. The source of finance is interest rates from credits.
yay! i have a lot of things to say about this. but first, this additional information as well: i will be workng with 8 people in an office, 5 male, 3 female, and 3 of them are English speakers (holy sweeeeeetness!).
ok, as most of you know i've been trying to work in microfinance for a few years now. however, microfinance is a complex field. generally, at it's beginnings, MFIs lend to small groups (usually women) and start up businesses. however, as the MFI matures, it begins to resemble a traditional bank. well, this it doesn't have to completely resemble a traditional bank, but it can. There are different models. some are forprofit, some are nonprofit. consequently, there are different missions attached to the MFI. For the most part, because i'll be working for a nonprofit, I get the feeling that this organization's mission will be more closely alligned to my interests. In other words, I did not come to Azerbaijan to work for a traditional bank. That was not my goal. And, in fact, many other CEDs will be working for banks. So, to me it seems I've really lucked out. I'm going to help vulnerable populations who don't have other available lines of credit. not that i'm a fan of credit....but i am a fan of getting money to people who don't have any but have constructive ideas about what they want to do with it.
ok, and i'm going to Mingechevir. this is a great thing. it is maybe the 4th or 5th largest city in the country. it is more liberal than other places and is well known for being both cleaner and more reliable with electricity than most other places in azerbaijan. there is a large resevior there and usuable beaches. the population is approx 97,000. Ming has a longer history of foreigners visiting, so my presence will not seem quite as strange. ALSO, i'm going with two of my closest friends from PCT: Andrea and Kim (aka superdonuzlar and sen kimsen). so, phew....i'm rambling, but thats bc there are a lot of positive things to say. Ming's location is also very close to some other more beautiful places in azerbaijan (sheki) and to the second largest city (ganja...1.5 hours away).