Thursday, September 06, 2007

Clap Your Hands

Remember the children's song "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands"? CLAP CLAP (I'll bet I have the tune going in your head now--that is, if you know the song.)

Anyway, this post is to talk about two things that make me very happy.

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.


Liza Lee Miller said...

Congratulations! You rock! I love the idea of microcredit. It is so cool to help people with JUST what they need and JUST how they need it. I'll check out KIVA.

And, congrats on your article. Being published is always fun!

Vagogan said...

Yay for Kiva! I've loaned through them from time to time, but haven't gone back recently, so I didn't know they'd filled all the loans - that's quite something! In the meantime, MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) has a similar program at - I'm sure there are a number of other worthy microfinance programs out there also, but those are the two I know about.

possumlady said...

How wonderful!! Congratulations on being published! Oh, I've heard so much about microcredit and didn't know how I could help. Thanks for passing the info along. I will be checking out Kiva this weekend. Just think if all of us bloggers sent in just $75.00. What a difference that would make!

Anvilcloud said...

That's the second time I've heard of Kiva -- all in one week.

Congratulations on the article.

Mary said...

You should be published, deserve to be published. Congratulations! I'm clapping!

Jean said...

I think I'll send a cheque - that would make a heart sing and mine as well. Years ago a group of nurses "paid" $20. to a pot every payday. their theory was that $20 didn't go far but $160. did. Same principle as Kiva's, I guess.

Jean said...

Forgot to send congratulations for having been published!

Cathy said...

Yes! I can see you smiling and hear you clapping:0)

I loved your post about The Green Grass of Home. It's wonderful that others will be able to enjoy it. It was poignant. Lovely. Congratulations, Donna.

And KIVA. Truly. I'm very glad to know about this. An opportunity to make a difference.

Ginger said...

Congrats on being published in AW. Last I knew, they didn't pay their authors anything; hopefully that has changed. :)

The name "KIVA" made me smile, because that's the word in Finnish for "Fine." It sounds like a truly fine initiative....

KGMom said...

To all: The entrepreneurs available on Kiva fluctuates daily--in fact, almost by the minute.
My husband heard a segment on NPR today with Bill Clinton talking about Kiva. It's hot news!

Thanks for all the congrats on the article--this was a labor of love. No pay--just some complimentary copies of the journal. I enjoy writing enough that publishing is its own reward.

Ruth said...

Hi there, just catching up on my blog reading this morning. Thanks for the info on KIVA. I too have heard about it, but did not have the link.
If you're happy and you know it "stomp your feet"... How many verses do I remember?

Femail doc said...

Have you read "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" by Alexandra Fuller? It's about her childhood in Rhodesia. Wondered, if you had, how that compared with your experience.

How satisfying to see your writings in print! I'd love to read the entire article. You certainly have a gift for personal musings.

Ginnie said...

Congratulations on your article being published !!
Also, what a wonderful blog. I am very interested in micro-crediting and will definitely check out KIVA.
Thanks for leaving a nice comment on my friend Sarah's brand new blog.

Climenheise said...

As one who may hve been related to the article, I think that I should read it too. Congratulations on being published -- not for the first time!

I had heard of Kiva through Vaughn. Like him I also appreciate the work MEDA does. We're sponsoring a couple of microcredit businesses -- I think they're in Nicaragua. Amazing initiatives around the world, which give one hope that there are at least some good things happening.

KGMom said...

Femail doc--yes, I did read Don't Let's Go to the Dogs; and also the sequel Scribbling the Cat. I find her stories very interesting. Another book about growing up in Rhodesia is Mukiwa: White Boy.
I believe Among Worlds eventually puts the editions on line--not right away, but after a bit. I will post a link for it when I see that's it is "out there."

cat59 said...

This information about Kiva is wonderful. I have heard about it, but your post may be the thing that makes me go take a look.

I have not kept up with blogging for the past 2 weeks. You have been busy. Loved the photos of the fair. Also the post about the ubiquitous and annoying cell phones!

Grace, Every Day said...

God is smiling upon Kiva, as it's getting mega-publicity this month. God bless the work they are doing!

And congrats to you on being published! Awesome news!

(((clapping hands)))

Laurie said...

This IS a great idea. I will look into it myself and congrats on the article!


RuthieJ said...

What an informative post, Donna. Congratulations on having your story published.

Kiva is a fascinating program. I look forward to reading more about it and hopefully being able to make a donation.