First, some months back, I wrote an entry on The Green Green Grass of Home. Well, one of the folks out in the blogosphere, who saw it, wrote me an email. Turns out she edits a journal called Among Worlds, which focuses on adult TCKs (third culture kids). She asked--was I interested in writing an article for the September issue of the magazine.
Why sure! I am always interested in new opportunities to write. So I polished up my musings on the green grass of home, and sent it off. And yesterday, the new magazine came in the mail--with my article right there on page 20. Can you see me smiling? Can you hear me clapping?
Second, my daughter's fiancé (or my son-in-law-to-be) sent me an invitation to join Kiva. Here's what their website says to explain their purpose: "Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world." This is microcredit at work. (Maybe you recall, this concept is what Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for in 2006.)
It is a simple concept. Find people anywhere in the world who need small loans to help them get a business started. Set up a repayment means. Find potential donors who are willing to make small loans (as small as $25) and let them agree to loan the funds.
The utter simplicity of the needs of these "entrepreneurs" absolutely overwhelms me. Here's an example: Mrs. V is 50 years old and her husband has been dead for 10 years ago. She lives (in Vietnam) with a son and a daughter. She has a small plot of land for growing sweet potato, plus she raises pigs. Her family income is $11 per person/month. She needs to get a loan of $75 to purchase feed for pigs and fertilizer for the sweet potato field. She will repay the loan monthly.
That almost makes me cry--$75 for a widow to make a better life for herself and her children? Needless to say, I signed up to Kiva right away, and made my first loan today. Tonight I signed on and got this message: We've funded EVERY business on the site!! So now they have to go out and find more people around the world who need a modest financial loan to make their lives a little better.
Can you see me smiling? Can you hear me clapping?
UPDATE: Signing on to Kiva this morning, I find there are 4 new entrepreneurs (this is the term Kiva uses) who need assistance. So, I made my second loan--to a woman in Kenya who "earns her living by selling re-tailored second-hand clothes." She needs $700 to buy a new sewing machine.
More smiling; more clapping.