16 June 2016

Feeling In Control

I'd like to introduce you to Alice. That's what I've decided to name this little succulent plant, and she is about to go live at my acupuncturist's office.



I bought Alice as a gratitude/apology gift to Jess because I spent all of my last session sobbing, like a little sprinkler. Jess was very very sweet. I don't feel so bad about the tears-- a bit of self-pity is healthy if you can mourn and move on-- but I do feel bad she had to be there for it. 

I should say I am 100% ok. I just finally realised that I have zero control over my life right now... not in where I live, if I can work, whether I get scholarships for grad school, whether I can have a baby, or whether I can afford IVF when we get back to London, and, when it hit me, I realised how much it sucks to feel trapped.

It is hard not to feel powerless in the world right now. With the Orlando shooting this past weekend, a devolving US presidential election, the possibility of a Brexit, and major crisis' like the Syrian refugees or the suicide rate of native american teens (I've linked both these last two with really impactful documentaries in case you want to have a look). Sometimes it can be really overwhelming. 

Something that has helped me is that Jon and I started investing with an organisation called Kiva a little over a month ago. We've been meaning to for months now, and now that we've finally got it rolling I'm a little bit obsessed! I worked with these guys a bit during my undergrad and have been so very impressed with the work they are doing with microloans.

Let me tell you how it works: 

Basically, Kiva is an organisation that helps people in the developing world get loans so they can grow and develop their businesses. The Kiva employees travel to a country, give entrepreneurship classes and help the people in the villages write loan proposals. They look at their finances and make sure that the loan can be repaid (usually over year or two). These loans are called micro-loans because they are relatively small (usually under $5000). That amount goes a really long way in a third world country.

Once Kiva puts the loan online, they you can search through them and decide what you want to fund.

I feel really passionately about helping women, especially single mamas. Jon feels really strongly about helping with education and clean water. You can search through and read their stories and decide which ones you like. The great thing is that it is crowdfunded so you can invest as little as $25, but then you GET YOUR MONEY BACK + INTEREST!!

Because these people make so little money, it takes a little while to get it back, but in the end you will have the opportunity to reinvest that money into someone else. However, if you want to close your Kiva account (after the loan has been repaid), than you will get the money you invested + interest back in your Paypal account. 

It's a pretty sweet deal and everyone benefits. In my experience, I'd recommend sticking with female loans as they are very, very good about repaying them. In fact some micro-lenders will only lend to women. The men tend to default more (although the amount that that happens is still pretty low). 

If you join, I'd love to have you join our Young Rubbish group. I've only recently started it, so most of our loans will not appear in it, but I'd love to see how much of an impact those reading this blog can make! This kind of thing makes me feel more in control of life-- knowing even with a small amount of money, I can make a huge difference to someone who has things even more difficult. 

So, go forth and give! Let's make the world a little brighter. 

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