“I love everything about working with Kiva. The technology is cutting edge, the volunteers and staff are talented and committed, and the work we are doing is so important.”
City: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Team: Mil Puentes
Time with Kiva: 1 year
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: In just a year, Jeff has translated 1,180 loans and is a major presence on our Volunteer Forum, asking tough questions and providing great answers for his fellow translators. He has also been especially generous with his time and talents, taking on the additional project of giving partners in-depth feedback to improve their profiles.
Why do you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?
After a 30-year career in the Canadian government, my goal for “rewirement” was to do meaningful work and keep learning. I’ve always loved traveling to Latin America, and learning Spanish, and decided to pursue certification as a Spanish-English translator. Volunteering with Kiva gave me the chance to practice as much as I liked, and I found out recently that I was successful in the national certification exam. I think the Kiva work really helped.
What is your favorite partner or region?
I enjoy all of the partners, especially when they include some personal details about the borrower, such as their hopes for the future or their favorite local dish. It really makes you feel connected with the borrower.
Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.
One profile from Ica, Peru was particularly moving. The borrower was a musician who would take his accordion to the city cemetery to play for people burying family members or visiting graves. He said he would cry while playing sometimes, but was happy to be able to comfort people and perhaps alleviate their pain. The loan was to help him obtain his certification as a music teacher.
Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
I especially enjoy Mexico and Chile. My wife and I once stayed in a cabin in a mountain village at 10,000 feet in Oaxaca's Sierra Juarez region under the Tourist Yu’u Program, through which rural villages operate small local inns for tourists. We also once took a Chilean passenger ferry on its three-day trip from Puerto Montt to Patagonia.
Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, I was a volunteer visit officer escorting foreign heads of state. I wound up on a three-member team accompanying the President of Slovakia and his entourage. We took turns, working in shifts, and along with shopping trips and Slovak community events, I went to three hockey games with the President, and watched the action from the VIP lounge. It was hard cheering for the Slovaks against Canada, but I decided to do it anyway. With the bodyguards and other security, it felt like being in a movie!
Brianne Sherman, Review and Translation Program Intern