Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Featured Volunteer: Patricia Linderman

By Sam Kendall, Review and Translation Program Intern

Outstanding Contributions to Kiva:

Patricia has been a consistently high contributor on Spanish loans, and has been an incredible resource on the Volunteer Forum, contributing perspectives from her time in Latin America and providing guidance to other translators especially terms and phrases from Ecuador.

How did you find out about Kiva?

In December 2007, a friend suggested Kiva gift certificates as a holiday option. I looked into the organization and decided to become a lender myself and also gave gift certificates to my mom and brothers.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?

My husband is in the Foreign Service, and we were posted to the U.S. consulate in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2008. I originally had the idea of volunteering with the Kiva field partner's office there, but the only one in the country at the time closed down, so I decided to translate for Kiva instead.

From where do you typically review loans?

Until this month, I worked from my computer at home in Guayaquil, looking out the window at pink bougainvillea and the occasional green iguana basking in the sun. Now we have just moved back to the U.S., and I'm working at a laptop in a temporary apartment in Virginia.

What is your favorite partner or region?

After about a year of translating loans from elsewhere in Latin America, I was very excited to see loans from Ecuador start to appear again. Now there are two field partners in the country: Banco D-MIRO and Cooperativa San Jose. I love translating these loans, because I'm familiar with most of the areas where the borrowers live, and I get bonus translator-geek thrill points when I know an obscure local word or expression.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed?

One of my favorites was Sonia, who runs an Internet café in a poor neighborhood about 5 miles from where I lived. She wanted to buy computer equipment and cubicle desks. While traveling in Ecuador, I've often used Internet cafes just like hers to check e-mail and do work -- they are well-run and charge only about $1 an hour! I could really identify with Sonia, so after translating the loan, I jumped onto Kiva.org and became one of her lenders. (I never tried to track down any of my eleven loan recipients in Ecuador, though, out of respect for their privacy.)

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?

The Galapagos! I went there four times during our three years in the country. On Isabela Island, I stayed at a hostel for $25 a night, biked to the giant tortoise breeding center, watched marine iguanas digging their nests in the sand, and swam with penguins and friendly s ea lions.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.

I was just elected as (volunteer) president of the non-profit organization for U.S. Foreign Service family members, AAFSW.

Photo provided by Patricia Linderman, Volunteer Translator