What is not one of her interests? Reading my mail-order bride stories. But that’s okay because (a) to begin with, she’s a wonderful friend; and (b) not so long ago, she sent us a lovely jar of honey; and (c) did I mention her gun collection? So when she sent me a fun image of the back of her beekeeping hat, I shared it with Glynn because the photo was meant to be silly and it amused me.
Glynn studied the cell phone shot with an odd intensity. Then he told me, “We should loan some money to a beekeeper.”
Men can be confusing, have you ever noticed that? Kim excluded, I personally have had rather limited interaction with bees and beekeepers. When I was a child, a bee stung me – quite unfairly, I thought then and still think now – and I decided at that moment to admire them from afar. I am on Team Bee, I wish them well, but I’ve never had a particular desire to offer cash to their handlers.
“Kiva,” Glynn explained, reading my puzzlement. “We can do it through Kiva. Every now and then, a beekeeper shows up on their site, needing money. Our previous loans have been paid back, our account is flush, and you’ve been wanting to send it out again. Let’s lend a few bucks to a beekeeper.”
I didn’t even know that was a possibility.
If you’re unaware of Kiva.org, it’s a nonprofit organization that uses crowdfunding to provide microloans in over 80 countries. Local entrepreneurs in, mostly, far and distant lands, reach out to a social business, or a school, or some type of micro-lender in their area; the micro-lender sends the person’s profile to Kiva; and people like Glynn and I back a piece of the entrepreneur’s loan at $25 a pop. Kiva gets no cut, we get no interest, but the would-be business owner gets the money they need to go forward and at 0% interest.
In the decade or so that Kiva’s been around, some $800 million has been given out. Almost all of it has been repaid. All in all, it’s a good thing and we’ve enjoyed being one of their supporters.
So, in Kim’s name, I went looking for a beekeeper on Kiva. There’s a search engine on the site that acknowledged that “beekeeping” loans were a thing but, at the mo’, they told me there weren’t any hive tenders in need of a hand.
Here are similar loans, they promised me:
There was a guy in Tajikistan who wanted to purchase some jewelry for resale. He’d been in the gold and silver business for almost ten years, it seemed like a solid loan, but what did his request have to do with bees? There was a different man in Tajikistan who intended to purchase fruits and vegetables for resale – but, once again, the bee-connection seemed vague at best. We could talk pollination, I guess. Maybe. And there was a hard-working teenager in Palestine, with a shop job, who wanted $800 to buy a mobile phone so that he could keep in contact with friends and family and, also, surf the ‘net. There was no link to the honey-bringers that I could see.
I also feel compelled to say, EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS for a cell phone? Cell phone prices aren’t crazy-expensive in Palestine; maybe our intrepid teen couldn’t find the $27 special that I carry around but I somehow suspect there were cheaper alternatives out there somewhere.
Oh, he was so not getting our money.
I told Glynn that the beekeepers were on hiatus but I still wanted to make a new loan. I suggested he take over and see what he found. Glynn soon selected a 46-year old Albanian woman in Egypt who needed a loan to “stock up on new undergarments and used appliances to sell”.
If you’re wondering about the bee-based connection, so am I, but I didn’t go there. Instead, I asked, “It’s a weird combination, don’t you think? Selling new undergarments and used appliances? Does anyone anywhere do that?”
“I think it’s a two-part request,” Glynn said. “One, I think she personally wants to stock up on new undergarments and, two, by the way, she needs used appliances to resell.”
He smiled at me. He might have been joking, or just amused by the odd quality of the request. Or he might have been in that strange man-place that only men get to visit. All I knew was, I couldn’t be done with this soon enough.
“Okay, great,” I said, “let’s fund her.” Then I went to text Kim to thank her for the jar of honey.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the local video store to check out the horror movie, KRAMPUS. Maybe a good DVD will help me forget about our recent Kiva loan.