Memory #1: Working with microfinance

I returned home to Washington, DC, this week.  It was a great two months in Brazil full of adventures and new people and learning a ton.  I’m going to reflect on the experience and share a bit with whoever is interested by posting a few photos and writing about the moments when they were taken.

 

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This first memory is of my colleagues and work at the microfinance nonprofit.  These five wonderful Brazilians (plus the director, not pictured) were the colleagues I worked with most.  The credit agents taught me how microcredit really works, introduced me to their clients, let me participate in loan deliberations, and treated me with kindness and linguistic patience.  The two credit agents here are Elizabete, second from the left, and Carla, second from the right.  Eliana, between me and Elizabete, is the mom of the organization.  She’s worked there for nine years and knows the ins and outs.  Patricia, on the far left, works with Tiago, in white, on administration and collection.  Tiago was friendly and interested in talking with me from week one.  We got lunch several times to talk about everything–our families, Afro-Brazilian religion, privilege and race in Brazil.  Our friendship was a genuine exchange, learning about each other and from each other and just hanging out.  We took this photo on my last day in the office, Friday, August 2nd.  My colleagues surprised me with a goodbye breakfast that morning–a wonderful Brazilian spread that you can see for yourself:

 

Surprise goodbye breakfast with my work colleagues

Surprise goodbye breakfast with my work colleagues

I was overwhelmed with gratitude for their kindness then and throughout my time volunteering/interning at the organization.  Fortunately, we can stay connected–I’ve already gotten to chat with Tiago and Elizabete.  They’re doing well and send a hug to all of my family.  So in case you’re reading this and you’re related to me, here’s a hug from them!

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