This beats going to the mall!

One Week A Year is in Costa Rica!

The holidays is arguably the best time of year to participate in service activities and it’s less stressful than holiday crowds at the mall!  For the next week I will be in La Carpio (pictured left) volunteering and researching a future medical mission or other project.  I encourage everyone to take some time and do something that makes them feel good.

I am lucky to have a great copilot in Dr. Patrick Klemawesch who is a skilled physician, musician and overall great human being.  We will be working to improve the health care situation for families in the most impoverished area of La Carpio.   Of course, we are doing research for our next medical mission or service trip so you can join in too.

I will try to get pics and post when I have time.  So far it has been a great start out of the gates.  We went from the airport straight to La Carpio to take part in an impromptu soup kitchen.  More to come tomorrow when we begin treating the sick.

Here’s your Spanish word for the day:  Abrazo.  That’s what we send everyone at home.

Something we can all agree on….

What if instead of giving money to a cause, you could invest in a person?

Why not bankroll some one’s dream?  You might be surprised how far 25$ can go.  Making a loan to a small entrepreneur through www.kiva.org is one of the most effective and satisfying ways to  help others.

Everyone’s talking about microfinance

I think we can all agree that teaching to plant a tree is better than just donating fruit.  What if we could invest in the orchard?  Through Kiva.org you can do just that by giving micro-loans to local entrepreneurs in developing countries.  That means you, both figuratively and literally, are planting the seed that helps someone sustain him/herself and his/her family

What type of entrepreneurs are we talking about?

Yusi in Peru needs a loan for fertilizer and to buy a bull for her family farm.  Mariatu in Sierra Leone needs to buy more inventory for her used clothing business.  In Rwanda, Boniface needs capital to finish a dwelling that he intends to rent out.  There are hundreds of people and families that you can support by investing in, not giving to, their projects.

How much are we talking here?

Loans can be as little as $25 and can be as high as a few hundred.  Applicants receive loans from many sources so you do not have to fund an entire project.  You simply help get the venture off the ground.  Of course, you get your money back.  Kiva has a 98.99% repayment rate to date!

How to Get Involved?

One of the great things about Kiva is how well it is put together.  It really is as simple as visiting the site, browsing the loans and picking one you would like to support.  Each applicant is listed with a personal bio, a description of the project, the financial needs and even a detail of his or her loan/credit history.  www.kiva.org is very user friendly and easy to navigate.

A Few Thoughts and Suggestions

  • A cool holiday idea is to pick a loan on Kiva.org and get your friends, families or co-workers to contribute.  You and a few people can have an enormous impact!
  • Ever traveled to a country that left a lasting impression?  Why not look to see if there are any applicants in that country where you can return the favor?  Kiva lets you browse by geographic region.
  • Imagine how great you and the loan recipient will feel when your money is paid back.  Both you and the loan recipient will feel great when the investment pays off!