Thursday, April 18th, 2013

If I were still posting on Facebook, I would have just done a brag post there about how I’d just made a loan on with a comment that “I lend because my uncle Bill did.”

The loan I made today was to the Masaka Group of Dar es Salaam. Part of the Masaka loan will help a woman named Salama, who runs a business selling charcoal and who has successfully repaid 11 prior loans. You can read about Salama or you can use this link instead to make a $25 loan on Kiva for free.

Now it is true that the reason I lend on Kiva is because of my uncle. I had some vague awareness of microlending but it’s because Uncle Bill made loans on Kiva that I really learned about it. And when my uncle died, I inherited his Kiva portfolio of loans. If I were truly a horrible person, I’d just have cashed in each loan as it was re-paid, but I didn’t—instead I’ve kept re-lending the money in Uncle Bill’s portfolio and have added a bit of my own money to lend. It’s a good reminder of my uncle. I think of him every time I get an email from Kiva saying part of a loan’s been repaid and every time I make a new loan.

It’s also true that one reason I posted on Facebook whenever I made a Kiva loan was to raise awareness of Kiva in the hopes that others would be encouraged to lend on Kiva as well. My uncle may be the reason I learned about Kiva, but I do make Kiva loans because I think doing so makes the world a somewhat better place.

But another reason I posted on Facebook about my Kiva loans was that getting “likes” on Facebook can be addicting. Facebook’s good for pissing friends off, but if you stick to innocuous stuff like photos of great food you’ve eaten or great places you’ve vacationed or selfless microloans you’ve made, you won’t attract much strife and instead will get some FB likes that make you feel good.

So why am I posting about my latest Kiva loan here? Partly as part of my ongoing processing about my thoughts about Facebook, partly because I’m in the habit of posting somewhere when I make a loan on Kiva, partly to remember my uncle Bill, and partly because Kiva really is a good thing that you can afford to do even if you don’t have much money.

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