The official Kiva Stories from the Field blog reached one million hits last month. To mark the occasion, the staff back at Kiva headquarters took an informal poll to name the six posts from the blog’s archives that had made the greatest impression on them. I was humbled to see that my own from a few weeks ago, This Is Urban Poverty in Tajikistan, was among them. After that one went up, I was surprised by how many people contacted me to say it had brought them to tears. I’m glad, in a strange way; glad that Rahim has moved other people as deeply as he moved me. If his story spurs only one person to sign onto Kiva and lend to a borrower in need from the former Soviet world, I will be happy.
I also wanted to share two other posts highlighted by the Kiva staff that, in turn, made a deep impression on me. Both are worth your time.
Contradictions, Complications, Juxtapositions, and Genocide (Julie Ross, KF7, Rwanda): “A month after that, I discovered that ‘away that day’ was a euphemism for ‘serving time in prison for perpetrating the 1994 Tutsi Genocide’…. I began to panic. Previously, I saw genocidaires at enough of a distance that I wasn’t forced to remember their humanity or look them in the eye. I knew that if I saw this man as a microfinance client, he would have to be human.”
Why I Can’t Give Abozu My Camera (Abby Gray, KF6, Togo): “If only he understood that the question he kept asking me, face-to-face, over and over, was a question that has made me cry many times, that keeps me up at night, and that I am hoping to God that microfinance can at least attempt to answer: ‘How can you help me?’”
And finally, I made a small contribution to KF16’s most recent installment of Stuff Kiva Fellows Like, our collective homage to the satirical and squirm-inducing blog Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like. In so doing, I successfully slipped a “20% cooler” reference into an official PR outlet for one of the world’s most prominent microfinance organizations. I do what I can, friends.