Thursday, June 21, 2012

Featured Volunteer: Linguistic Globetrotter Nikita Avvakumov

“With Kiva, I can use my skills to make an immediate impact in a way that’s not only flexible, but also rewarding and enjoyable”

City: Quebec
Language: Russian
Team: Russiva
Time with Kiva: Six months
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva:
Since joining Russiva in December 2011, Nikita has translated over 300 loans and is consistently among the top three translators in his team. Over this short time he has been an invaluable addition to the team.

How did you find out about Kiva?

The first time I heard about microfinance, Kiva was mentioned in the same paragraph. That got me interested, and I started as a lender. One day I was looking at a translated loan profile, and thought that it was something I could do myself. I think it’s a fantastic way to lend a hand all over the world.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?
I’m a scientist, and while the research work I do is important, it lacks that instant impact on everyday human lives. With Kiva, I can use my skills to make an immediate impact in a way that’s not only flexible, but also rewarding and enjoyable.

What is your favorite partner or region?

As most of the Russian loans are concentrated in a small part of the world, I don’t really have a particular favorite region. However, when a partner includes some personal details about the borrower, those tend to be the loans I enjoy the most. I remember one where the partner described how the borrower was single but had just met a girl and was planning on getting married the following year – that brought a smile to my face, and loans which do that are always enjoyable.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have encountered.

My first loan from Azerbaijan led me to do a bit of research into the country’s linguistic history, and I discovered how they have had three different alphabets over the past 100 years.

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
I went to Taiwan and China for the first time this year and I definitely want to go back. I loved visiting that part of the world and, as I haven’t even scratched the surface of what there is to see, I’m definitely planning a trip back there in the future.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.

I’m a bit of a globetrotter; I’ve lived in three different countries, and am about to move to a fourth in a few months. I like to pick up the local language as I move around, and speak Russian, English, and French – and I’m in the process of learning Estonian for my upcoming move.

Photo Provided by Nikita Avvakumov, Volunteer Translator
Written by: Paul Lambert, Review and Translation Coordinator