October 27, 2006

More on Kiva


All of the requested Kiva loans that I wrote about on
October 25 have been funded. Did Matthew, a Canadian teacher in Honduras, Ruthy, a Honduran-American in Missouri, and I have anything to do with this or is it a coincidence? I'd like to think we have made a difference!

At the moment that I write this, there are two new unfunded Honduran applicants, Maria and Nellys. By the time you read this, it is probable that a new Honduran applicant will be showing in the Kiva badge in the lower part of my sidebar. The badges update automatically, so that we can keep tabs on the progress of the funding. You can check Kiva's entire list of Central American loan applicants here.

Once a loan is 100% funded, the badge in my sidebar automatically changes to another random applicant. Although my internet connection has been really sketchy lately, I'm trying to keep my blog set to the Honduran applicants, just because I know how much help is needed in this country and also because I'd like to draw a little more attention to Honduras. There are terrible problems of hunger in Africa, too, but Africa does get a lot of media and super star attention that Honduras does not get.

I have spent so much time reading the Kiva site. It is just mind-boggling how little it takes for these people to improve their businesses and their lives. The profiles, both of applicants and those who have received loans, though not in-depth, are really touching. I have cried reading some of them.

A surprising number of those who have received and paid back their loans wrote that they have added an employee or even two. These are new jobs created sometimes by as little as a $200 investment. Incredible!

Living in Honduras, I can tell you that I've often wondered how some street vendors, small shops, and small restaurants can stay in business with the meager amount of offerings that they have for sale. Sometimes it is hard to spend my money because the most often heard phrase is "no hay" (there aren't any). Many of these loans are for the purchase of additional inventory which not only increases their sales but also helps them to attract and keep more regular customers.

Here is a translation of the application note from one of the ladies I loaned money to:
My name is Maria Cordoba, and I cook and sell food (fried fish, carne asada, fried chicken, breakfasts, lunches, bread with beans, baleadas-honduran tacos, tortillas with cheese, burritos). I have had my business for 5 years, and I have the help of my husband to tend to the clients. My business has generated earnings to cover the expenses and nourishment of my family. My goal is to increase my inventory to sell more food to my clients and with the earnings, I can improve the bedrooms and finance the studies of my children.
Here is what one person wrote that she needed the loan for:
Loan Use: Buy inventory to increase sales and happiness.
That says it all, doesn't it? How can you not feel empathy for these poor hardworking people who want to improve their lives and obtain a better education for their children, and not only that, but they then spread the happiness by providing new jobs for others?

Please check out the Kiva organization to find one person to whom you are willing to lend $25.

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