I Feel Good Today

I feel good today. This isn’t the feeling that today is going to be a good day or how I feel after a game of tennis. It is the feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. This really started six months ago with Maria and Hermelinda. They live in Tarma, Peru, a small mountain town known as The Pearl of the Andes. As could be expected, the people of this village on the side of a mountain live a fairly simple life based much on agriculture and without the influences of modern industry.

 

Not very much is known about these women from such a distance. Maria started a bakery only four years ago that has become an important part of her community. The town’s people count on her breads and she makes great contributions to the local economy. Hermelinda realized some time ago that people in Tarma had to go far away to enjoy a cold drink so she fixed up her house and started serving refreshing beverages.

 

I was introduced to them in January, 2008 through an organization called Kiva that brings people together to alleviate poverty. Maria and Hermalinda had applied for micro loans through a local Kiva partner to help them grow their business. The demand for Maria’s bread had outgrown her outdated and limited tools. A $225 loan would do the trick. Hermalinda’s bar was successful but she needed to broaden her products. A $275 loan would give her the funds to grow coffee and add grow her menu. Kiva went into action. Their requests were made public to a world of individuals through the Kiva web site. For a minimum of $25, anyone could invest in these small loans.

 

It was the first time for me. I was a little nervous about putting up $100 but this organization had received quite a bit of good ink and the idea that I could make a pretty big impact with such a small effort was enticing. There were several people requesting microloans but these two requests somehow hit a chord with me. Seven other people invested in Maria and 6 others in Hermalinda.

 

I feel good today. I’ve been told that Maria and Hermalinda have both fully paid their loans. These women were not looking to corner their industries. They are fighting poverty and are contributing to their communities. Of course I’m happy that I’ve been repaid but I feel good that I’ve made a difference.

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