Yay! I Am Now a Microlender :-)

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I was really inspired by Dawn’s post about Kiva.  I was signed up, but wanted to loan to someone in Vietnam and none were available at that time.  Apparently, the site will email you if you’ve not been on for a while, because I got a “Please come back” email this morning and followed the link back.  I figured I’d check to see if there were any Vietnamese loans available, but I wasn’t holding my breath.  Lo and behold, there were about 8 or 10 this morning in various stages of financing.  I’ve been watching it all day, waiting until I’d put money on my card before selecting someone.  Let me tell you!  These loans go fast!  By the time I’d gotten back from Wal-mart (I load a prepaid card there), there were 5 loans left.  I want to do one more in Maggie’s name, but have to wait for her to come back from walking her friend home.

So here is who I’ve loaned to, and I’m so excited about it!

Dang Thi My's Group

Mỵ Đặng Thị operates a family member’s general store selling school products such as pencils, pen and notebooks in her community. Mỵ is a 52-year-old woman living in the town of Đông Anh – Hà nội. She is married and has three school-age children. Mỵ has been in her business for over 10 years and earns approximately 2.000.000 dong (VND) a month. (That’s $108.53 a MONTH, USD)

In 2006, Mỵ joined SEDA to gain access to financial services to help improve her living conditions and enable her to engage in business activities. Mỵ has successfully repaid a previous loan of 4.142.000 VND from SEDA which was used to invest in expanding the business. She is now requesting a new loan of 5.014.000 VND which will be used to invest in expanding the business. This will be her fifth loan from SEDA. Mỵ plans to use the additional revenue to pay for the tuition fees of her children.

Mỵ is the leader of a 5 member group accessing a loan offered by SEDA. While each member of the group receives an individual loan, they all are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members if someone is delinquent or defaults. The official name of this borrowing group is Tiên Hội (2).

About the Other Borrowers in the Group:
1. Đỗ Thị Tân is a 47-year-old woman who is requesting a 5.014.000 VND loan to support her clothing business.
2. Lê Thị Tý is a 42-year-old woman who is requesting a 5.014.000 VND loan to support her business in the services sector.
3. Trần Thị Vịnh is a 52-year-old woman who is requesting a 5.014.000 VND loan to support her business raising livestock.
4. Lương Thị Hải is a 45-year-old woman who is requesting a 5.014.000 VND loan to support her business running a food stall.

About SEDA:
The mission of SEDA (Center of Small Enterprise Development Assistance) is to provide microfinance services to low income and disadvantaged people in rural areas of Hanoi and the northern provinces of Vietnam.

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Silly me found out I could’ve just used my PayPal account and not had to wait for the credit card… der!  But then I might not have picked this group, so maybe this was the way it was meant to be.

After I checked out and everything, Kiva offered to email the following to my address book for me, hmm.. how nice?  a bit spammy…  I passed on this service.  I’ve already invited everyone in my address book to join Kiva.

I just made a loan to someone in Viet Nam using a revolutionary new website called Kiva (www.kiva.org).

You can go to Kiva’s website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business – like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks.  Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent – and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.
  
The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back – and Kiva’s loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Đặng Thị Mỵ’s Group in Viet Nam.  They still need another $1,175.00 to complete their loan request of $1,375.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!).  Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Đặng Thị Mỵ’s Group too:

http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=170125

It’s finally easy to actually do something about poverty – using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they’re using it for.  And most of all, I know that I’m helping them build a
sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.

Join me in changing the world – one loan at a time.

‘An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity…All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.’
— Entrepreneur Magazine   

Thanks!

———————————————————
What others are saying about www.Kiva.org:

‘Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.’
— BBC

‘If you’ve got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you’ve now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.’
— CNN Money

‘Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by Kiva.org.’
— The Wall Street Journal

I did, however, paste that to my facebook… LOL.  So everyone THERE got spammed. 😀

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Mags just came back, I showed her Kiva, signed her up for her own account on it, and then showed her the Vietnamese loans available.  The funny little bugger picked the same group as me.  I told her the $25 loan was part of her birthday present, which is on February 11th. 

Question I asked Maggie, “How do you feel knowing that you’ve just loaned money to a family in Vietnam who are going to use that to expand their business and pay for their kids to go to school?”

Answer:  I feel kinda proud 🙂 

Question:  How do you feel that the family lives in Vietnam, as opposed to loaning to someone in South America?

Answer:  I like it because my daddy’s country.

Question:  What are you going to do when they pay the money back?

Answer:  I want to buy toys for their kids, and presents for them, but I don’t know where to send it.

Ooookay, not the answer I was expecting, exactly… lol… but she does understand that she can either re-invest her $25 into a new loan, or cash out.

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January Wrap-Up

Every month I intend to create a bloggie wrap-up.  I swear to myself I’m gonna do it next month.  Then, the first of the month rolls around and I read Fyrefly’s and DevourerofBook’s, among others, and I say, “Ah CRAP! I forgot to do a wrap-up post!  Dang it!  Okay, I’ll do it next month, I swear…”  And you’ll know how many times I’ve actually followed through on that when I say, “Yay! This is my first monthly wrap-up post!”  LOL.

K, I have ADD bad.  I get distracted so very easily.  Sometimes it’s TV or gardening or doing stuff with the kids, and sometimes it’s computer games like SecondLife or World of Warcraft or the latest, face book apps.  SecondLife pulled me away from everything for about 5 months straight, and now I can’t remember the last time I was on.  With WoW, I’d learned a thing or two from SL, and so I didn’t go so long or so deep, but still I was absent for a while, traipsing through Azeroth.  Facebook games are so getting old, and I’m down to a few that have to be tended daily:  Farmville, the café game and the pet games.  I’m mostly still doing those because my mom is actually on facebook, SHOCK! and the kids play, too, so I play with them.

Where was I even going with that?  Oh, ADD… lol, I swear, that wasn’t on purpose!  Okay, I’m lost now… that was funny, and I laughed, and lost my train of thought.  Oh well, must not have been too important.  That’s why I like to outline things, and why I hate stream of conscious storylines.  I get lost enough in my own thinking, I don’t need to do so in a book!

Moving on…

I decided during Bloggiesta, that the best way to do a wrap-up post was to write it all month long, keeping track of commentors and other things that happen, so I started this post about a week after Bloggiesta, because I got distracted and it took a while to get back to it.  Maybe that’s where I was going with that up there. 😀

Maybe ADD is why I hate long paragraphs?  It feels like being trapped in a room with no windows.  I often skim through the middle of them, or just read the first and last lines of it and move on.

Moving on…

During the Month of January I:

Started my first book challenge, The Welsh Reading Challenge, because I wanted to read more books relating to my own heritage, but needed a little prod to do it and keep on track. The fact people joined the challenge was GRAVY 🙂

Joined a total of 13 reading challenges, 11 of which are being tracked on my Reading is Challenging! page, as well as two more at LibraryThing:  The 75 Book Challenge, and the Books off the Shelf ChallengeThe Sookie Stackhouse Challenge was in progress, though I don’t know if I can call it progress, since I have YET to pick up the first book. Actually, I picked it up, read 2 paragraphs, then put it back down… don‘t tell BethFish :-D.  This is the most challenges I’ve ever participated in, and I don’t expect to complete them all, realistically, but I’m hoping!

Spent a total of 21 hours working on blog improvements as part of Bloggiesta.  Thanks, Natasha! And after all the work everyone else did and the mini-challenges I wanted to do but didn’t get to, I now have a longer to-do list than when I started!

Created The Welsh Reading Challenge blog.  After reading how other bloggers who host challenges have found a separate blog is a better way to keep it all organized, I started the blog for TWRC during Bloggiesta, and had it open and ready for visitors about a week later.  We’ve also got a couple sponsors, some mini-challenges in the planning stages and some prizes on the way 🙂 Too cool!

Started a weekly award called The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact criteria for this, but right now it’s been for people who are doing something to make the world better.  Presenting Lenore received my inaugral award for her International Book Blogger Mentor Program, and She’s Too Fond of Books received the second for her post about Kiva.org and how micro-lending requires so little of us and can make such a difference in the life of someone overseas.

Joined the Tolkein Readalong.  I’ve been wanting to read the Lord of the Rings for a long time, but just needed the push.

Books read and reviewed in January:

Of Bees and Mists by Erick Setiawan ~ A magical and fantastic adult fable about love, self-respect and self-confidence, about doing what’s right and forgiveness.  I gave it 4 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Fruits Basket, Volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya ~ I love the Furuba series, and volume 5 introduced Kisa, the tiger, and Hanajima’s little brother.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted as a food title for my What’s In a Name?3 Challenge, Manga Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland ~ Atrocious, far-fetched and just plain BAD. 2 stars.  It counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge and New Author Challenge.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ~ Filled me with warm feelings of childhood and chocolate, and was a pleasure to read cuddled up with Maggie.  I gave it 5 stars.  It counted for The Welsh Reading Challenge.

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr ~ I read this one with Mags, and since it was a re-read for me, I had Maggie sit down and write her first book review.  I did help her with grammer and spelling, but the words and thoughts expressed are totally Maggie… lol… including her expressing how much she disliked having to sit and write a review on a snow day from school when she could be outside playing.  Mags gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  This counted towards my We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge

Islands Apart by Ken McAlpine ~ Interesting reflection on life in our modern world and how our advances in technology are contributing to a decline in interpersonal relationships, as well as a disconnect from nature.  I gave it 4 stars.  This counted for my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge.

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine ~ Reading this felt like a prolonged hug from creepy Uncle Stan at the family reunion, but was a necessary evil.  Still, I stand by my 2.5 rating, which is based more on the writing itself than the book’s subject material.  I wasn’t wowwed by Levine’s writing, though it had some beautiful moments.  This book counted toward my ARC Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, and POC Reading Challenge.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein ~ I finished off this month with a comfort read and old friend.  Even though it was a third read through, not to mention the numberous times I watched the 1977 cartoon of it growing up, it still held my attention and kept me in suspense, a sure sign of a classic book.  5 stars for sure.  This was for the Lord of the Rings Readalong and counts toward my 451 Challenge.

People who Commented:

Bluestocking from The Bluestocking Guide
Kathy at Bermudaonion
Wendy, the Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Anna at Diary of an Eccentric
BethFish at Beth Fish Reads
Kailana at The Written World
Ita
debnance at readerbuzz
Care at Care’s Online Book Club (Hi, blogging buddy!)
Mona Everett
Aarti at B O O K L U S T
Annette
Sally906 at Sally906’s Reading Challenges
Sharon at Ex Libris
Eibhlin
Lynda at Lynda’s Book Blog
Ladybug at Escape in a Book
Aastacia
Amanda at Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit
Susan Evans at Well-Mannered Frivolity
Melanie at Cynical Optimism
Shannon at Flight into Fantasy
Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through Books
Janet at Fond of Snape
Vasilly at 1330v
Snowbell
Jack at Slightly off-center
Debbie at Debbie’s World of Books
Amber at Mommy Mania
Zee at Notes from the North
Meghan at Medieval Bookworm
Gina at BookDragon’s Lair
Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog
Jennie at Biblio File
Amused at Amused by Books
Michelle at Michelle’s Masterful Musings
Rebecca at Lost in Books
Lenore at Presenting Lenore
unfinishedperson at Unfinished Person
Marie at The Boston Bibliophile
Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books
Rhinoa at Rhinoa’s Ramblings
Traci at Traci’s Book Bag
Laza at Gimme More Books!
Grad at The Curious Reader
Sandra at Fresh Ink Books
BookMoot at BookMoot
Jackie at Literary Escapism
Janelle at Brimful Curiosities
Novroz at Novroz’ Life
Jennifer at Rundpinne
DanaB at Windows Wide Open
Nisé at Under The Boardwalk
Alayne at The Crowded Leaf
Violet at Violet Crush
Angie at Annie’s Home
JDaniel4’s Mom at JDaniel4’s Mom
Ann Marie
Joy at Joy’s Blog
Stephanie at Bad Mom
Emerald Yomi at Emerald Yomi
Debbie at Wrighty Reads (go lefties!)
Pippi at Pippi’s Postings
Memory at Stella Matutina
Petunia at Educating Petunia
Sarah at SmallWorld Reads
Lisa at Online Publicist
Myriam Kross
Guatami Tripathy at everything distils into reading
Ariel at Sycorax Pine
Nicole at Linus’s Blanket
Kay at The Infinite Shelf
jo at attalife
Dawn at For the Love of… Eloquence 
Kimberly at A Child of the King!
Mizhelle at Life Can’t Wait
Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations
Keely at The Un Mom
Rebecca Reid at Rebecca Reads
Molly at my cozy book nook
uninvoked at uninvoked 
Stacey at Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife
Lisa at Lit and Life
Vicki at Reading At The Beach
Callista at SMS Book Reviews
Farmlanebooks
Meg at write meg!
Marce at Tea Time with Marce
Jenny F at Have a Happy Day
Irene at Irene’s Desk
Wordlily at Word Lily
Beth at Weavings
Laurel-Rain Snow at Laurel-Rain Snow Creations

And that’s a total of 81 commentors so far (1/25)

Other fun facts:

Kitty Litter Cake (and Cat Litter Cake), Gary Larson (and The Far Side) and qoutes for The Book Thief are the most widely used search terms that bring people by, along with Confessions of a Shopaholic and Vampire Kisses bringing in plenty, too. “erotomania” surprisingly, brings in a fair share. Uh oh, do I have a stalker?