A Kiva story to share

March 23rd, 2009

I wanted to share with you an update I got on my loan I made via Kiva to a group of Bolivians, they were creating a small group to reloan the funds to other entrepreneurs.

I got this update November 20th last year:

“This is an update on your loan to MARANATHA 2 Group in Bolivia. I visited Lucy and her next-door neighbor Felipa, both members of the Maranatha group, one Friday afternoon in Montero, a small city of 100,000 in eastern Bolivia. Lucy was at the market when we arrived, so we sat under the shade of her mango tree to enjoy some homegrown
tamarinds with her husband while we waited. Lucy soon returned with bags full of produce to cook the night’s dinner.

Lucy sells meals from her home in the evenings, and she used her Kiva loan of 4,000 bolivianos (US $557) to buy a refrigerator and some ingredients to make her specialties: tripe and pig’s stomach. She also sells chicha and somó, a
popular drink made with boiled corn, sugar, cinnamon and clove. Her cooking must have quite a reputation, because her customers come from near and far just to get their hands on a plate. Sales are good, she tells me, and she’s planning to stick with the group for its next loan cycle (its fifth).

The smell of freshly baked bread wafts into Lucy’s yard. I follow my nose next door, where Felipa and her granddaughters are hard at work baking today’s batch of bread. Felipa, like Lucy, is a founding member of the Maranatha group and has participated in all four if its loan cycles. She started her business selling donuts and pan de arroz (bread made with rice flour and mashed yucca). Then she started making regular bread, and today she sells
several varieties of rolls, some sweet and some savory. I can’t resist trying one of her piping hot rolls, which is rich, white and fluffy with a sugary topping—very delicious.

Felipa used her Kiva loan of 1,800 bolivianos (US$257) to buy flour, lard, cheese and other ingredients to make bread. She works seven days a week and sells about 230 bolivianos’ (US$33) worth of bread each day, earning 60 bolivianos (US$8) in profits. She says she enjoys working with the group, since the women all know one another very well and everyone is responsible and punctual. She has taken out individual loans before, she tells me, but prefers the
group loan because it doesn’t involve so much paperwork. Like Lucy, Felipa plans to continue working with Maranatha in future loan cycles. Out of curiosity, I ask Felipa what Maranatha means, and she shrugs and laughs—neither she nor her loan officer, Julio Cesar, can remember who thought up the name or why. “

This made my week! 

I printed it off, emailed to my friends and reread over and over.

Not only had I been to Bolivia to La Paz (near Montero) but the average income is $1,100 usd/year (Source: World Bank, 2006) and…

Felipa is now making about 350 days * $8 = $2800 a year! In a country where 40% of the population ~ 3.7 million people live in extreme poverty providing entrepreneurs with micro loans enables them to excel.  

What really really gets me excited is the flow on affects, Felipa can employee, invest, increase consumption thus reinvesting in the local economy.  

In developing countries income can flow through the economy many times in a year (adding up to potentially $10,000/year to the GDP).  

Most importantly micro loans provide capability to those willing to give it a go who in turn inspire others around them.   

Given not all Kiva loans have updates, the ones that do are worth it, and best yet I got all my money back! (reinvested in other loans).  If your still here and haven’t loaned, why not? Hop over to Kiva.

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2 Responses to “A Kiva story to share”

  1. Vera Says:

    Kiva is an amazing idea. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of the Kiva community. There really is no excuse to not be a part of it. 🙂

  2. Rich Says:

    That’s huge man, respect to that.



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