The Columns

Scratching An Overseas Itch in Rwanda

— by on September 9th, 2009

What, exactly, is Washington and Lee alumnus Brian Castleberry of the Class of 2004 doing in Rwanda? He figured you might ask. So his fascinating blog, titled A Thousand Hills and a River, has a page devoted to “What Am I Doing Here?” The short answer is that Brian, who majored in economics and mathematics, decided that he wanted to put his economics studies and his involvement with the Shepherd Poverty program together in a creative way and scratch his “living overseas itch” all at the same time. So for the moment he’s doing some business and financial analysis for Urwego Opportunity Bank on behalf of  Hope International, a Christian faith-based non-profit focused on alleviating physical and spiritual poverty through microenterprise development. The Urwego Opportunity Bank is a microfinance institution (MFI), which was one of the focuses of Brian’s economics study at W&L. Once he’s spent some time observing the ins and outs of this MFI, Brian will move to Brazzaville, Congo, where he’s going to help start an MFI from scratch on behalf of HOPE. Brian’s blog has lots of interesting information, but be sure to check his page of photos, Kigali Kids — wonderful images from his early days in Rwanda. You may want to sign up to follow Brian’s blog, which also features links to information on Rwanda and microfinance.