It is pretty amazing what growing up in a certain situation affords people in terms of opportunities. In the US, we take for granted how readily available money is. We could be knee-deep in credit card debt and most likely still be able to convince yet another credit card company to give us a new card. Then I think about what it would take to get someone to loan me the money to start a company in an underdeveloped country, and it becomes virtually impossible.
Today I returned to Kiva's website just to check it out again. I was obviously skeptical about where my money would actually go, if I were to loan it, so I did some research. Although I couldn't fly out to places like Cambodia and Azerbaijan, Nicholas Kristof with the New York Times did just that and reported back (http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=FEEDROOM186917).
I decided that I would loan a small amount ($25) and see where it goes. In retrospect, the path I chose in picking which entrepreneur to support was pretty ridiculous. I like to eat, so I filtered the list of entrepreneurs to those who are trying to grow a food-related enterprise. Then I clicked through about 20 of their profiles and picked the one that had the most amusing picture. This is who I decided on:
Jeoffery Ogbvo who runs Jeoffery's Provision Store in Asaba, Nigeria.
"I have a business that is presently worth about US$ 1500 (Nigerian Naira 200, 000)," says Mr. Jeoffery Ogbvo, "and I hope to expand my inventory with a Kiva loan." Jeoffery is 53 years old and father of six children. He is requesting a loan of $625.(Click on the picture or here for more information or to loan to Jeoffery.)
I really liked Jeoffery's picture for some reason. I can't tell if he is confused, frightened, or pissed off. For some reason his expression makes me chuckle and thus we became friends...business friends. I also liked the fact that his store was named a provision store. It sounds old school. I think one of the most absurd things I did was to Google for "Jeoffrey's Provision Store Asaba Nigeria" in hopes of determining some legitimacy of his enterprise. 0 hits.
Well I encourage you all to take a look at Kiva and make a microloan. I even more strongly encourage you to support my friend, Jeoffery. Do your own research and hopefully you'll come to the same conclusion as me.