The reason for that total happiness presently plastering a big grin all across my face is the lady pictured below.
I am currently one of Kiva's lenders. They state their mission as being to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty, and describe themselves as an organization that "lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world - empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty." Kiva is the first person-to-person micro-lending website, and all it will take for you to get involved is $25.00. Skip a week or so worth of lattés, and you're ready to go! When your loan is repaid, you can take the money back, and you will have helped to make the world a better place without any expenditure at all. For me, and an increasing number like me, the money goes in and stays in. The good folks at Kiva send you regular updates on the status of your loan. Once it reaches full repayment, you can select another entrepreneur to reach out to, and the whole cycle starts all over again.
I've been waiting for a few months now to get to that magic figure where I can re-loan, and today, the news came that it was time! If you make a loan and get to the point of reloaning yourself, don't be surprised if you find no-one listed at that moment as seeking a loan. As they explain the situation, "at times we have more lenders visiting Kiva than we have loans available to fund. At these times there may be only a small number of fundraising loans. However this is always a temporary situation, as our Field Partners post new loans in need of funding on an hourly basis." Actually, that's what happened to me today. I first tried to reloan this morning, and wasn't able to do so. I came back to it this afternoon, and everything was good to go.
When I made my second attempt today to reloan, I found Santusa, a single mother of four who needs the loan to help her with the business she runs from a stall in the Santa Barbara market in the city of Juliaca, Peru. Santusa sells all sorts of things, but her main source of income is from selling a variety of vegetables at her stall. My money will be added to that given by others and used to increase the quantity of merchandise available at Santusa's market stall.
When you look at Santusa's face, it is not hard to tell that her life has not been the very easiest. She looks older than her 46 years, older than most western women would want to look at the same age. My hope is that the loan I and others have put together for her will help her to have a better life, an easier time of it than she has had before. I hope it will bring an extra smile or two to her face, and help her to feel some of the happiness with which I have been gifted in reaching out to her.