Back when I was just a Kiva lender, I thought how cool it would be to meet one of the borrowers that I had lent too. I mean that is what just about every Kiva lender dreams of, right? You lend out to people halfway across the world all based off of a couple of paragraphs on a website and a 3” by 5” photo. But you never really think twice about how real the needs of the people you are lending money to are or what difference the loan will mean in the borrowers life.
Which is why when people ask what I do, I can say seriously that I am living the dream. As a Kiva fellow with FAPE in Guatemala, I was able to meet a couple of the borrowers I had lent to before I had even applied to be a Kiva fellow. And now, as I recently made my 40th Kiva loan (huge cheers to every lender that dwarfs that number!), I am able to loan out to organizations that I have worked with: like ASDIR and FAPE in Guatemala, and Asociación Arariwa in Peru. And, as a Kiva fellow, I am able to say with confidence that I know who those loans are going to, and the difference they make in the borrower´s lives. And maybe that is our dream, to see change in the world from something small. Something like a loan.
Allow me, if you will, to expand our dream. One of the questions posed to borrowers in journal updates is about their hopes for the future. Although this is a pervasive topic for the first world, it is a luxury for much of the third. We dream of that new house, of retiring happy, and they dream of feeding their families, of keeping a roof over their heads. Through financial tools like a Kiva loan, we allow them to dream bigger, to begin to think past the day to day needs and to look toward the future. Perhaps, in a small way, as we give Kiva loans, we enable them to realize their own dreams.
Eric Burdullis is a Kiva fellow serving with Asociación Arariwa in Cuzco, Peru. He is literally living the dream by helping others realize their own dreams. He is currently adjusting to the altitude and the laid-back lifestyle of the Cusqueños