Tuesday, July 31, 2007


If you read this blog regularly, you know that I particpate with an online enterprise called Kiva. Through Kiva, Odel and I, along with over 85,000 people around the world (and all the people listed in the left column of this blog), loan small amounts of money to struggling entrepreneurs in developing or war-ravaged countries. These "micro-loans" are administered by an "MFI" (MicroFinance Institution) in the borrower's country, and are generally paid back over a period of 6 to 18 months. At that time, you can withdraw or reloan your money.

I also participate regularly in an online, and very active, forum related to - but not part of - Kiva, called Kiva Friends. Here, we who are addicted to Kiva and it's borrowers discuss anything and everything - usually Kiva related, but not always.

On July 25th, a new thread was started on the Kiva Friends forum: A Sad Event, Noted in the Journals Today: Mark Agwonah. This discussion brought to our attention the death of Mark Agwonah, one of the Kiva borrowers in Kenya, while in the custody of the local police.

The MFI in Kenya posted a note in the journal for Mark's loan detailing his death (murder seems the more appropriate word). Mark left behind his mother and two dependent members of his extended family, now with no means of support.

This was shattering news.

Since we received this information, a wonderful group of "Kiva Friends" was inspired to action. Within just a few days, a "lending group" was established in Mark's name with contributions from "Friends" - already put to work helping to fund loans to Kenyan borrowers.

We also have contacted the MFI in Kenya and are working out details of making a contribution directly to Mark's mother.

It is amazing to me how one small step can open us up to a much larger world. We made our first Kiva loan just a few months ago, and I found "Kiva Friends" a few weeks later. Never had I imagined how much I would find - and learn - on these sites, about geography, about people on the other side of the globe, their lives, their struggles, their countries. There are so many good, strong, creative people working to make the global village, the world, a much better place...

I just wanted to let you know.

If you want to get involved, click on any of the links included in this entry, or go directly to http://www.kiva.org/. Watch out - it can be addictive!

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