Friday, May 17, 2013

Paying it forward

I found out today that I will be getting a small bonus from my employer.  Our particular site did not have a robust fiscal year, so this was a pleasant surprise. It was also very kind as the reason for the lack of fiscal health is truly beyond the control of the site staff.  So it was purely recognition for the hard work we have put in under some difficult circumstances.

I could use this money, obviously.  I have to pay a plumber who fixed our bad (actually nearly non existant wax seal on our downstairs bathroom.)  I have a son who needs a check for camp next week.  It is a fairly endless list when you have 6 people living together..  Yet this is found money.  I had no idea this was a possibility and I think good surprises should be shared.  So I noodled around on Kiva and have made a loan with 50 per cent of my bonus.  Actually a bit over 50 per cent as they had a free trial thing running. So I did that one first and donated $25.00 of someone elses money to a woman who is repairing her home in Nicaragua.  She wants a safe and secure home when she and her husband finally have children.  I work in housing and believe that everyone should have a safe and secure home.  Then I looked around the site some more and saw someone in El Salvador who was trying to expand her small fruit and vegetable shop. She has been in business 10 years and has been doing well but needs a modest (very modest by U.S. standards) influx of cash to make this happen.  I made a loan with half my bonus to her.

While I realize that this may be a "donation" and not a loan  (repayment rates are pretty high, but the possibility of a default always exists)  I really like the Kiva concept.  A fairly small amount of money can have  a really significant impact in someone's quality of life. I like thinking about someone getting  a new roof on their house, or more food to sell in their small market.  I like the idea that we can work together to make that happen even though we are so very far away geographically. I like giving a hand up as opposed to a hand out.  Go Kiva!

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