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Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving = Getting

I'm sort of really considering myself a big work in progress right now. There are a lot of little goals I have set in mind about what I want to achieve over the next year in all different capacities. One of them is to practice gratitude more and to become a better citizen on planet Earth by being generous with others.

One of the things I've never been altogether proud of is my lack of respect for money. I'm getting much better with it but there are certainly areas I can improve. I'm thinking of two ways to make myself more conscious of how a little money can really go a long way... 1) I want to adopt an AIDS orphan in 2008, and 2) I want to set up a small business loan for $50 or 100 on Forty bucks a month for saving the life of an AIDS orphan strikes me as a great way to feel good about myself and to feel like I'm starting to be a little less shallow.

Being charitable's a pretty selfish thing. You feel great when you're doing it. If that contributes to making the world a better place, then there's a big, big bonus.

I've wanted to adopt a kid through World Vision for years, actually, specifically AIDS orphans in Africa. I've been thinking a lot about it this weekend, and it strikes me as the right thing to do to set the tone for my year to come. I think my biological clock is ticking but instead of it making me want to have a kid, it's making me want to help kids. Weird. :) I'm adopting a girl, when I do go ahead with it, though.

And the other one, doing a small biz loan through, is something I've just heard about and blows my mind. I can't remember his name, but there was that economics dude in the last year or so who won a Nobel or something for his plan to radically affect global poverty by doing ridiculous little loans of $20 or more that people not only used to change their lives (and those around them), but also repaid in full as a matter of pride. Apparently 99.7% of the loans given by Kiva get repaid, and you can either take your money back or use it as "Kiva credit" to help someone else. You can read their stories, email them, and watch how their lives change as they use this one brilliant shot at achieving their life dreams. Awesome.

Both, adopting AIDS orphans and changing poverty one small loan at a time, are things that I've believed in for a while and consider myself pretty blessed to finally be in the position where I think I can afford to give away $40 or 50 a month if it means making someone's life better. I could use the self-satisfaction that comes from knowing I'm making a bigger ripple in my little pond.

I think I'll give a $25 Kiva loan today and see what happens. :) I shall chronicle my recipient's successes, too. How fun!

(OOh! FIVE minutes later and I have gotten the ball rolling, doing just a $25 loan to a woman in Nigeria trying to get her soft drink-selling company off the ground. How cool! I'm her first lender. :) Let's see what happens. Awesome. And so easy to do! What a great way to get my day started. Small change = big change potential! Click on her name below this and help me to change her life! It's so easy. You know you want to!!!)