Picking September

It’s the end of the book club night. We should have discussed it sooner. We’ve had a few drinks (sometimes more than a few) or it’s very late and we need to go to bed. What are we reading next time?

Most people in book club keep GoodReads Lists specifically to bring to book club. There’s a difference between what you personally want to read and what we will all read. I personally would like to do some future reading on Special Event Management for Nonprofits since I’m recently employed doing that, another member wants to do personal reading in What to Expect When You’re Expecting but most of the group won’t really benefit from that, about 50% of us have already read American Gods so it isn’t the best choice.

We rotate every other month. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy was fiction, which means September is non-fiction. I avoid picking non-fiction because I’m forceful about my fiction choices. I try to be flexible where I can. We discussed doing political books, we talked about Debt the Last 5000 Years, we talked about some current affairs (I plead with them not to do tons of new Best Sellers, Trade Cloth ain’t cheap).

We settled on Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the battle against world poverty.

I’m really excited about this read. Two years ago we read Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World and a passage in it inspired me to get involved with Kiva. There is this great part (which of course I can’t find right now) where Tom White, one of Paul Farmer’s biggest supporters, offers to help by building a road in Haiti near where Dr. Farmer works. He declines because the people of the country need to find ways to invest in themselves to value things.

While the book is heavily pro charity (to an almost outrageous degree) that passionate refusal reinforced my own belief in helping others but retaining accountability. It’s because micro-lending has that accountability and sustainability built in that I fell in love with Kiva. At this point, I’ve lent $250.00 to borrowers. I’ve had several loans fully repaid and because I stagger them, re-investing payoff amount into other loans, I have several others that are either currently repaying or still fundraising.

It isn’t charity, (with the exception of a small fees donation for admin expenses of Kiva) it’s a direct loan, repaid, with interest. But it can make a huge difference in the lives of people without access to traditional banking.

I can’t wait to see what Banker to the Poor has to say on the subject! I’m also really thrilled to talk with my friends about it. Do you have any experience in micro-lending?

 

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