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Saraya's a Tanzanian mama
Who heads up a team called Obama.
Her guesthouse is the charm
Of Dar Es Salaam
But a drinks bar would give it more glamour.

There's something about Kiva microfinance loans that fills me with optimism. A feeling obviously shared by the members of the team, dressed up for the photograph.

I'm wondering why they called their group Obama. I guess it's the Tanzanian connection with US President Barack Obama. I dare say that the Kiva Team Obama thinks so as well, as they joined me in lending money to Saraya.

The group's fifth loan through Kiva, aimed at improving the guesthouse Sayara runs in Dar Es Salaam. I managed to dig up the loan page for the second loan, and there's another photo of the group:

I channel my taxi tips through Kiva, recycling the repayments into more loans and while it's not much, at $US25 a shot, it's something that makes me feel a useful part of a global team.

And isn't that what it's all about? We're all part of the same planet, the same biosphere, the same human family. Individually, there's not much any single person can do - unless maybe he's the President of the USA - but together, Yes We Can!

Date: 2010-08-08 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thank you for posting this. Soemthing I've been meaning to do for ages, and probably the exactly correct antidote to the anger and depression I've been feelling all day! Thanks for the reminder.

Date: 2010-08-09 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's a BookCrossing Kiva team here!

New members generally get invited to choose a loan to which we all contribute and we show up as one of the top group contributors. This loan is a recent example.

Date: 2010-08-09 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your tips are usd 25.00 and you give them all to Kiva?

Date: 2010-08-09 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wish!

No, the minimum contribution to Kiva is $25. When my tips - which are usually more like a dollar and rarely more than a handful a night - reach $25, I hunt for another Kiva loan.

Australians tend not to tip, and especially when they are travelling on corporate charge cards, as so many of the public servants, political staffers, media people and lobbyists around the capital are.

Oddly enough, it's usually the people on the bottom who tip most. They reach into their own threadbare pockets to pull out ten dollars for a $7.50 fare and say "keep the change, mate!"

If they are too generous, I scale down the amount or refuse it entirely. I'm not in the business of ripping off pensioners who are counting every penny. "I don't need a tip," I'll tell a grandmother hauling her groceries back to a little government cottage. "Just a smile!"

And it's true. I'd rather have the smile than a couple of dollars.


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