Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Featured Volunteer: Michael Bujazan

By Sam Kendall Review and Translation Program Intern

Outstanding Contribution: Constantly one the top ten translators of Spanish language loans, also his contribution to the Volunteer community via the Forum, answering fellow volunteers' questions and sharing interesting resources.

How did you find out about Kiva?

I found out about Kiva because I got a gift certificate. One of the only friends I keep in contact with from university gave me the gift certificate for my birthday, I think. I went online and went through the Kiva website, and loved it. I made a loan and then saw the “do you want to do more” area. The rest is history.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?

I’ve done a lot of volunteering in the past, and I liked what Kiva was doing and their philosophy. I also like how I can contribute to something positive in the world from anywhere, whenever I have some free time.

From where do you typically review Kiva loans?

I translate from home or at the office. I am my own boss so it’s easy to translate loans at work.

What is your favorite partner or region?

Mexico is my favorite country, because I live there. Whatever I get is fine though, because all of the loans are so fascinating. I am also interested in Colombia, because it’s where I was a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.

There are lots of them. There is one that really stands out though. A young man, he was probably in his early 20s. The family had been orphaned recently and the young man had taken on responsibility of four or five kids. Incredible for someone of that age to have taken on that kind of responsibility.

There are so many profiles like this though. You are going through these loans and they pull at your heart strings, and you just want to do everything you can to help.

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?

Italy. I just enjoy everything there. The food, the people and the way of life. If I had a lot of money, I would just move to Italy and do nothing.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.

When I went to kindergarten I would cross an international border. I lived in the US and the only kindergarten that would take me in at three years of age was in Mexico, so I would cross an international border every day to go to school. In high school the situation switched, and I lived in Mexico and went to high school in the US. I grew up in the Tijuana area, where this is normal.