An Avalanche of Material (Including Repressed Memories) – Alex Counts Book Project

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Iliamene Joseph Madam Jean Marc and Fonkoze USA's Linda Boucard.

Iliamene Joseph Madam Jean Marc (left) and Linda Boucard.

Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts’ book on Fonkoze continues to take shape. He is blogging his journey through Haiti’s landscape, taking notes on the thoughts and memories of  many leaders of the country’s microfinance industry.
Counts, whose work is outlined in an interview for our “Microfinance Matters” series, worked with other Grameen Bank allies to set up Grameen Foundation in 1997.
His most recent post, “An Avalanche of Material (Including Repressed Memories),” finds him talking to more leaders:
I have learned so much about Fonkoze‘s journey over the last three days that I hardly know where to start with this blog.
On Wednesday, I returned to Marigot and re-interviewed Iliamene with the assistance of Linda Boucard (who continued the interview while I had to take a call about my “day job” with Grameen Foundation that I formally remain on sabbatical from until August 1).    I learned a lot more about her toughness, her humble origins, and shuffling between households in Marigot and Port-au-Prince before settling into a productive life as a wife, mother, community leader and entrepreneur.  (She became even more productive after joining Fonkoze.)  But due to a series of miscommunications, we had less time with her than we otherwise could have.  Thankfully, Linda agreed to  return in the weeks ahead to go deeper, since her story has real depth and complements Mariyn Bayonet’s tale well.
Then we went to the Central Plateau, checked into our modest hotel, and had dinner with Steve Werlin – who helpfully filled us in on his early interactions with Iliamene (which were tense) when he became the branch manager in Marigot in 2008.  I almost neglected to ask him about her, but when I did it alleviated my distress at not having been able to learn as much about her as I had hoped on that day.
On Thursday we spent the day at a summer camp for 140 children of CLM (ultra-poor program) clients, which will be repeated over the coming weeks such that 5,000 youngsters will benefit from three days of nutritious meals, fun, learning and interaction with their peers — quite a revolution for such marginalized families.  The children were divided in three groups based on age.  The sessions were led by “case managers” and their supervisors and in the case of the oldest kids, by a specially hired arts and crafts teacher who announced she would teach them some skills so they could earn money for their families making decorations to sell to people organizing weddings and funerals in their communities.  I am not sure how valuable that was for my book but it gave me the chance to interview CLM’s director (more on him below).

Click here to read the rest of the post, and if you like what you read, don’t forget to bookmark Counts’ blog and revisit to follow his progress.
Have you read?
Haiti & Fonkoze in 10 Memories – Alex Counts Book Project
Haiti in the Spotlight as Alex Counts Begins Book on Fonkoze
Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts Tackles ‘Re-engineering’ Microfinance
Yunus, Grameen, & Bangladesh – What Are the Facts?
Grameen Foundation Increases Support for Strategic Human Capital Practices at Indian MFIs
On the Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake: Fonkoze and the ‘Super Poor’