The International Bank of Bob



You know it is a good day when I post about two of my favorite things.  Today I wanted to share a bit of Kiva love and if you know me you know that I love this organization.  This fabulous microfinancing site was founded in October 2005 by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley.  It has grown and surpassed their expectations, I am sure, and has many dedicated individuals who are on the board as well as others like Premal Shah (President of who serve in various capacities.

My brother Mark is a bit of a Kiva nut.  I say that with love.  He even has created a spreadsheet with all of his loans inputted with various details related to those loans. To say that he got hooked on Kiva is a bit of an understatement.

He loaned  me his copy of the book “The International Bank of Bob” by Bob Harris last year.  I finally took time to read it and I was glad that I did. Bob Harris is a writer.  A heck of a writer.  His career has included writing for travel magazines as well as writing a book detailing his Jeopardy! experience.  He is an amazing man who got bit by the Kiva bug to the point that he felt compelled to donate thousands of dollars and actually travel to visit with some of those folks that he had loaned money.  Amazing.

The book is chock full of information that I tried to digest but a lot of it went above my head—I will admit it. When it comes to finance and money and how that all works together I am not always drawn in. What did draw me in were the stories.  Oh–the stories of meeting people involved with the Kiva process and how it all works were so interesting and at times spell binding.  Bob relates the stories so vividly I could almost see him cringe as he realized that accidentally scuffing a piece of furniture with his shoe was a disrespectful gesture to his hosts.

Perhaps the greatest take away for me were the many quotes that I “post it noted” through out the book.  There is a lot of wisdom in these words and I wanted to share a few with you today.

 Even one frown or smile at the right moment can change lives. (page 45)

But the truth is much simpler: poverty sucks, no matter how ancient and rich anyone’s culture might be.  Poverty is  heart breaking and cruel and unjust. And people in rough circumstances who are striving so hard to better lives can be so much like you and me that to see it all clearly can make your empathy gland swell up until you feel you can’t breathe.  (page 89)

Money has no religion, Adisa had said. Neither, of course, does an open heart.  To see this here gave me hope that it might be possible almost anywhere. (page 152)

Prim ( a translator in Siem Reap) dismissed the violence and terror by simply stating the following: We have to move on.  If we seek revenge it never ends. (page 273)

In the words of Ahmad in Beruit: You love more, you win. You don’t stop, thanks for God. (page 323)

Whatever you choose, letting love guide your work really may be the best way to happiness. (page 347)

While I can’t pretend to understand all the ins and outs of Kiva I do know that it is a top rated charity that actually is doing something to change the world.  For the better, I might add.   I would love for each of you to check it out and see if you can become a small part of this movement.  All you need is a $25 donation to get you started.  The video at the bottom of this post will help explain it is simple terms because for me simple is best.

My main team (Team Chiles/Brown) is always looking for folks to join up.  You can click here to go to the link directly to this team .  This team alone has made 622 loans and counting from a mere 19 people.  That is the beauty of Kiva. The gift keeps on giving.  Loans get repaid and the option to reloan is available.  Come check us out!

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  1. Well, I must have been living under a rock, because I’m ot familiar with Kiva….. I will definitley check it out; it sounds amazing!

  2. I did not know how Kiva worked-I will have to check it out. I liked the quotes from the book,too.

    • It is such a neat organization and so much fun to find someone to loan to. You can sort by country, gender, type of loan, etc. to find one. We even got my mom involved. 🙂

  3. Interesting. Never heard of it.

    • Check it out sometime. I think it is one of the most well run charities out there and Charitable Giving agrees that they do a good job of getting their money where it should go.

  4. I’ve never heard of Kiva. I’m going to check it out. I’m all about having a business of my own. I have in the past. 🙂

  5. I am going to check it out after I do comments this morning!

  6. I agree. Kiva is a great way to help people get started in a business.

  7. pattisj says:

    Truly a testament of your generosity.

  8. Mark Brown says:

    A little more bragging. Premal is a member of the Guys team!

    • Well, heck, I am sure you told me that but I forgot. Yay!!!! Such a great organization and hopefully some of my readers will jump on board.

  9. I love Kiva too! I’ve made about a dozen loans over the years. A friend send me a Kiva gift certificate for my birthday. It’s great to know that you’re helping someone fulfill a dream or become independent or get back on their feet.

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