Nairobi Bound!


The cradle of man.  Home of Obama’s grandmother (Kenya, not Nairobi). Safari capital of the world.  In June I am going to Nairobi, Kenya for four months to work with Kiva Zip.

I’m excited to be going to Nairobi.  To be honest, I’m a bit relieved to be going to a major international city, and not some rural village in the bush.  But there’s good and bad with that.  There’s the friendly Kenyan people, a large expat community to provide a support network, access to Western amenities like running water and ATMs, an abundance of restaurants and nightlife, and moderate weather much like San Diego.  However, Nairobi, or Nai-robbery, also has incredible traffic and crime to deal with.  But perhaps most disturbing to me is that they apparently only get four hours of daylight a day in June and July.  Can this possibly be right? Four hours??  Someone please tell me the BBC is wrong.

I’m also excited to be working on Kiva Zip, an exciting experiment in crowdsourcing in the US and Kenya.  Kiva Zip focuses on direct person-to-person lending (instead of using micro-finance institutions), and provides greater dialogue and interaction between the borrower and lender.  Most importantly, Kiva Zip drives down the cost to the borrower offering access to capital at 0% interest.  It’s still in the development stages, so I’ll be working with Kiva on how to optimize and refine the program (grace periods, loan sizes, etc), experimenting with the website, and putting my consumer research skills to good use.

So I now know where I’ll be going and roughly what I’ll be working on.  But questions like “Where will I live?  How will I get to work?  Where is the office?  What will I be doing at work?  Whom will I be working with?”?  Your guess is as good as mine. In due time.


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