According to the homepage there are three competing Yuri’s Night parties in San Francisco to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the late/great Gagarin’s achievement tonight. One generic-looking one run by an eponymic YuriN, one at Kiva that doubles as a developer’s happy hour and one at the Thursday NightLife series at CAS. Tonight is not technically the anniversary of YG’s first space flight – that’s on Sunday the 12th (coincidentally, Easter).
As fan friendly as the whole ‘manned space flight’ thing is, around here we’re more prone to celebrate the life and death of Laika, who entered orbit some three years earlier. Remember that come this November 3rd (coincidentally, election day).
I don’t necessarily believe the world’s water problems can be solved by drilling 10B worth of wells (though $10 for one child seems like a reasonable first step) but otherwise am strongly in accord with the sentiment of the Advent Conspiracy. In a change this holiday season, my mom has proposed that she, her husband and the adult child diaspora would pool gift money to purchase ducks and goats this year. I’m totally into this idea (though, am trying not to fool myself into thinking goat herds are entirely a good idea). For the more micro-capitalist anti-credit-crunch minded looking for gifts, another great idea is Kiva gift certificates, particularly when given in conjunction with joining the team quasify(yes yes do!).
Kiva has announced some impending social networking improvements to their platform, including support for lending teams. This is welcome news, not just in terms of total capacity for capital raised, but in opening opportunities for younger or first-time lenders who might be exposed to microfinance through school or church groups.
Another welcome and more immediate change is something they’re calling ‘liquidity’. Basically, Kiva has decided to refund partial payments back into user accounts as they’re received from the borrowers rather than wait til loans are paid in full (often, 12 or 18 months). This will increase the rate at which funds can be turned around and reinvested. As such, I got a few small partial payments, letting me fund Ms. Pen above, whose single word description for need of a loan was “Pigs.” Pigs it is, then. This is my first loan to Southeast Asia.
Tomorrow CNSMHB will be giving a slideshow & presentation thing covering their recent trip to Kenya and Sudan. This will be at my parent’s church in Arlington, starting after the service (so, roughly at eleven). If I finish in time they’ll show a short edit of some of the footage they brought back with them. Stop by if you’re interested, I don’t think it’ll be particularly long.
On a somewhat related note, I’ve noticed that people keep coming to this Kiva post looking for information on riots that happened in Maputo, Mozambique on the fifth of February. The riots were related to fuel costs and the price of mini-bus fares. Fifty-six were arrested and four killed either during the riot or by the police response. Arnaldo Chefo of the Maputo City Police said that only non-lethal rubber bullets and tear gas were used (though, as we in Boston well know, such police responses are not always non-lethal). There have been similar incidents subsequently in Chokwe.
In honor of CNSMHB’s trip to Sudan via Kenya/Uganda, my dad and I (& others? you?) made small Kiva loans to Christine Chepkorir Sang (impolitically deemed ‘a hardworking old woman’). The banner below will take you to her business and others in the region. For more pictures from the trip check our newest hip tag, africa.
Sales for her are fairly consistent despite it being winter and a generally slower time. Depending on foot traffic through the market, the storefront is open from approximately 7am-7pm where Julia and her one employee share responsibilities. Julia’s husband is not working, so this business provides for them and their five children ranging in age from two years old to 18 years old. Any profits from the business go to maintaining the household and putting the children in school. In addition, this business supports her employee who supports one child.
The business faces two major challenges to greater profits. The first being that the storefront she works from is not enclosed. When it rains she must shut down and each night she carries her merchandise into storage at the main market where she must pay an additional fee to do so. The second is the cost and inconvenience of making three to four trips a month to the capital city of Maputo (30km away) in the local bus.
It’s too hot for either Maija or I to sleep this morning, so I’m up unpleasantly early resisting the urge to stick my head in the freezer. The only positive is that I’ve got an email from Kiva saying that one of the entrepreneurs on my list (Júlia Chambal, a clothing retailer from Boane, Maputo, Mozambique) has made a repayment of $88 dollars, or just under 20% of her original loan amount. This is exciting to me as an anecdotal proof of concept that the Kiva system can work. I’ve been playing with the idea of giving a Kiva gift certificate to everyone who I needed a birthday present for. I tested this on my dad but have been hesitant to implement this in full yet for fear of appearing sanctimonious.