Saturday, March 31, 2007

Honduras, Honduras, Honduras, Honduras

Well, I found many loans to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. And how convenient that they showed up at the beginning of the month when I still have funds in my budget!

The first loan was to Braulio Ramon Rivera who is a welder and needs $200 for metal parts.

The second loan was to Benita Obex Gonzales and she wants $1000 for tortilla making supplies.

The third loan was to Yovanni Omar Soto Garcia who wants $600 to buy more supplies for his office supply store.

The fourth loan was to
Mauro Rodolfo Zepeda
he wanted $275 to buy autoparts. He runs a taxi service from the big University (National Autonomous University), which is a great spot. Even I have taken taxis from there!

I love loaning to Honduras, it reminds me of how wonderful it is there. It also reminds me I have to get computer specs to a colleague in Honduras. We are setting up the first molecular genetics lab in the country; the Minister of Health has agreed to pay for the new lab. I am an official collaborator and will be directing the statistical aspects. We have been working towards this for years, so its very exciting that we finally have funding support.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Union of Concerned Scientists

Today I joined the Union of Concerned Scientists again. I am after all, a concerned scientist.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ethanol and Orphans

I helped edit some publicity for the Ethanol and Orphans strategic plan today, just went through a few pages and edited grammar and such. I volunteered to help them a while back through They have an interesting idea on how to build self-substaining communities for orphans that included parent and grandparent mentors. Very interesting idea. I hope it works. There are a lot of orphans who need family.

Walking to Cure Autism.

I signed up to participate in the Cure Autism Now walk on April 28. This will be my second year. I walk on 'Team Tury' with my friend whose son has Autism. But I really walk for my nephew (pictured with Ginger the cat and I) who has Aspergers Syndrome, which is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I also walk because I was once funded on a CAN grant to do research.

Feel free to support me, this is a fundraiser!

Supporting a fair farm bill

I sent a petition to my congress asking them to reform the Farm Bill.

While the Farm Bill underperforms in the US, it also hurts farmers in developing countries. By encouraging the overproduction of crops such as cotton and rice, commodity subsidies create a glut that drives down world prices, undermining the livelihoods of millions of small farmers around the world.

All in all, a revamped 2007 Farm Bill can help poor people and rural communities in the US and abroad lift themselves out of poverty. Together with your other constituents, I urge you to reduce misguided agriculture subsidies and redirect the money to the programs that need it most: conservation, nutrition, rural development, and the research and development of renewable sources of energy.

Your vote could help Americans-and even poor farmers abroad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lending money to Senegal, country # 23 (to me)

I loaned money to a bunch (n=9) of women in Ker Gu Mag , Senegal who want to start selling things to the pilgrims who come by their village every year. I can just picture these women sitting together discussing all the things they could sell if they had the money for stock.

So late last night I was the first to bid on their dream. And this morning, I see its funded. And it so wonderful that there are so many other people willing to join me in helping make their lives better.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Final funding to the Ukraine

Well it seemed that Ludmila Matyushkina, who is not named Tatyana, only needed $25 left of her loan. Given all the hubub about Ukrainian women selling clothing in ski jackets, I felt it was fate to get me part of the action.

Good luck to you Ludmila.

I hope your second kiosk does as well as your first.

Save Darfur

I signed a petition today to the new Secretary General of the UN to ask him to prioritize focusing on the crisis in Darfur.

I also sent a petition to President Bush, asking him to move on to 'plan B', since the other plan doesn't seem to be working. I am more optimistic about the former petition.

I used the zipcode locator on the website and found a few local groups. I just joined the Los Angeles group, and see they have an event coming up, to protest in front of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China.

• China is the leading foreign investor in Sudan, with an annual trade value of roughly $1 billion.
• Sudan is the third largest supplier of oil to China.
• China, as the key trading partner in Sudan, is in a unique position to affect the atrocities in Darfur.

I'm not sure I can tell another country to do something that my country isn't doing. But it would be nice if they did something.

I also signed up to recieve weekly action plans on what to do to help Darfur.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Al Franken for US Senator.

I donated to help get Al Franken elected to the US Senate. He sent me a great email (the best money request I've ever gotten, and I have gotten a lot). He also had the first video thank you after you donate.

Lovin Latin America

Well I was quite excited to see new loans to Honduras at Kiva, and Ramon challenged me to join him on a loan to Nicaragua.

Jimmy Rubio is in Nicarauga and repairs electronics. Oralia Mendieta Chirinos is in Choluteca , Honduras and she sells products from her home and wants to expand her supply.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kiva Challenge and Soda in Africa

Today I took the Kiva Challenge and started buying Kiva gift certificates and sending them to friends to tell friends and so on. The challenge is to raise $1 billion for microfinancing by the end of 2008.

If we can spend billions on bombs and other things I don't understand, surely we can commit a billion to helping people help themselves out of poverty. It just makes sense. So I told 2 friends.

I loaned today to Elizabeth Igbinowegie, Benin City, Nigeria. She wants $800 to buy more provisions and drinks for sale. I choose her loan because it was the oldest. I'm not sure why, usually African women get funded quicker. Perhaps because it was a large amount and soda is unhealthy.

I also had some input on Kiva Friend's new discussion board. We're changing the world over there too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

California State Parks

Today I renewed my membership in the California State Parks Foundation. I may not get to the parks that often, but I am sure glad they are there when I do go.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Trap-Neuter-Return by Alley Cat Allies

I just sent a postcard to our local animal shelter, telling them about the trap-neuter-return program offered by Alley Cat Allies. Alley Cat Allies are trying to help the feral cat population, by having a program where volunteers humanely trap feral cats and bring them to vets for treatment, vaccinations, and sterilization. The cats then get released back to thier familiar habitats where volunteer caregivers provide them with lif-long care including food, water and shelter.

People are real willing to take care of feral cats if they know that more won't be produced.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Helping a Sudanese Refugee to Medical School in Uganda, Africa

So I found a request on GiveMeaning that I responded to.

Help send an African student to medical school! Uganda has only 1 physician for every 100,000 patients while in the United States there are 28 doctors for every 100,000 people. Patrick Otim is a Sudanese refugee living in Uganda. He wants to become a doctor and has the qualifications to do it, he just needs the tuition.

Patrick is in his second year, and they have already raised about half the money needed. Creating a doctor is like lending to a business, it will have a lot of good effects in the future.

New Classrooms in Bulaga, Uganda through Give Meaning

So in my quest for people to help with the LA-Agents of Change/Kiva event, I had someone contact me to request that I help fundraise for a project in Africa. My suggestion was to put a request on the Give Meaning Site (a site I just found the day he asked).

So he put up a request and we need people to VOTE before it can be pledged. If you have a minute, please stop by and vote. (Pledging is nice too).


The project is to finish the construction of 4 class new school, mostly for orphans and kids with special needs. The community has already raised a lot of money and they just need an additional $1600 to finish the building and get it up to code.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sending Kiva Gift Certificates to Strangers

I bought my first Kiva Gift Certificate today, and I sent it to someone I don't know. And I'm not sure he reads all his emails. He goes by the name of Perez Hilton, and runs one of the biggest tabloid websites. He gets millions of hits a day. What's amazing about it, is that he does it all himself, and how fast things get posted. His site is very tabloidy. So I'm hoping he will use the gift certificate and get involved in Kiva, even if he just puts a banner on his page.

I also lent to Emilio Plata who is a craftsman in Nicaragua. His description is only in Spanish and I am worried few people will bid. I emailed Kiva and asked them to put a comment place so we can do translations if this happens. But they are probably very busy.

Future's for Children - Navaho Mentoring

Today I sent off my monthly donation to Futures for Children, and included the usual allowance for the Navaho student that I mentor. We also exchange email. She's a senior, and is getting ready to graduate. Futures has a 97% rate of kids graduating, which is much higher than the 46% in the general Navaho population.

The Futures for Children store has some beautiful things. Its been great watching the store grow from a mentors idea to reality. The guy who runs it retired and moved to Phoenix to set up and run the online store. '

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Agents of Change

So I heard about Agents of Change on the 24 hour Kiva Talk-a-thon and I checked out their website. They are a group of bikers who have set up a non-profit to support Kiva. They are 'Riding for Change' and thier first big event will be to raise $1,000,000 driving down the West coast from Vancouver to Mexico. The money will be invested perpetually in Kiva loans in Mexico.

So I contacted them, and asked them what they were doing in LA. They don't have a contact here yet (so nothing planned), so I became the contact and am helping to organize the LA event. So far I've sent out a few emails to the Kivaloans yahoo group and the Fairtrade LA group, and have already gotten a few replies with help. I am totally open to comments and suggestions. I've never done this before.

I also posted an idea to several Obama groups, suggesting that people start talk shows for Obama on Lets see if that idea takes off. I don't have the time or voice.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fair Trade LA & 10,000 Villages, Pasadena

I just found out about Fair Trade LA, and joined their Yahoo group. From them I learned about Ten Thousand villages, a Fair Trade store right here in Pasadena. I must go check them out soon, I'm sure they might have some things I need. They are on Lake, just north of California. Two blocks from Cal Tech and Wild Oats, which should help their business.

AmVets - supporting Veterans and Active Military

AmVets just picked up a bag of stuff from my house, old clothes and kitchen items and other things that I think someone else will get more use out of.

They have a great service, they drop off a bag the week before, and you just have to fill it up and put it outside your door. Talk about effortless charity!

Giant Pandas

Its a panda day. I was reading about Giant Pandas this morning in National Geographic, and then I recieved a request from the World Wildlife Foundation to help support the Giant Pandas. There are less than 1600 in the world, but they are managing to breed them now in captivity.

I donated more than $16 so I will get a free Gund stuffed panda.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kiva 24 hours on Talkshoe

I'm listening to Kiva 24 talk show on Talkshoe. Check it out...
So far its encoraged me to bid on one loan... Norman Ruíz Dixon in Nicaguaga for equipment for his propane business.

Just added A new loan in a new country of Valentino Revenco, my second European country (and my 22nd country or 12%!)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tree planting with TreePeople

I planted trees today with Tree People. It was wonderful. We were up in the Angels National Forest and the drive there and back was spectacular. I met lots of great people and had fun. The tree planting part was quite different than what I did in Northern Ontario. Instead of putting as many trees in as possible, we nutured each one, and watered it, and even welcomed each one into the forest by naming it and chanting in a circle " Trees need people, people need trees, welcome ....". It was quite interesting to hear this chant go on around the forest as the trees got planted.

Quite the green St. Patricks Day. Note my touch of green, my Kiva bracelet. I don't need to wear much green to show I've got Irish blood.

Friday, March 16, 2007

One - the campaign to make poverty history

I just signed the petition asking 2008 presidential candidates to make the fight against extreme poverty a top foreign policy priority.

As a result of ONE members' efforts, Senator Biden, Senator Brownback, Senator Edwards, Senator Clinton, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney, and Senator Obama all wore the ONE white band and discussed our issues on the campaign trail. With your help, we're going to keep talking to all the candidates and ask them to make serious policy commitments to fight extreme poverty.

California Worms and Cameroon

I couldn't resist funding part of Dimitar Dimitrov loan in Bulgaria, he has a worm farm that has Californian Worms! How can he go wrong with Californian worms!

I also added a new country to my Kiva lending - Cameroon. Isabella Neh Che has a used clothing store in Nkwen Market, NW. Province , Cameroon and wants to increase her stock.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kiva' Investment Groups First Investment

I loaned today to our first sponsoree for the pondering pig's Kiva's Investment Group. Her name is Tatyana Ryeznik and she is in Berdyansk , Ukraine.

Lets see if our group can make a difference and get her funded. If you want to be in our group, just send the pondering pig your kiva handle, and come to meetings over on his blog. Meetings are fun, sometimes pie is involved. And once the co-founder of Kiva showed up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I came up with an idea for Project Red Stripe (from the Economist). I heard about it 2 days ago on pondering pig's blog. The idea struck me today. I'll post more about it when I polish it and send it in. The deadline is March 25th, so you still have time to send your inspirations in.

Color of Change.

We, the undersigned, vow to step up in the aftermath of Katrina, to ensure that no one is left behind again.

We commit to doing our part to ensure that all people are regarded as full humans, not as second-class citizens, and that our government is responsive to their needs. We commit to helping those who have been continually ignored gain a powerful political voice.

We will insist that those who have been pushed to the margins become a priority in this country, and that the federal government take responsibility for people in crisis. We will hold the government, and ourselves, accountable.

Together, we will be a powerful force for change.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Citizen Co-Sponsor of the Sanders/Boxer Global Warming Bill

I just became a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the Sanders/Boxer Global Warming Bill. Senator Boxer (from my state of California) sent me email asking if I would co-sponsor the bill. She called me a senator with my last name. Spam email does work sometimes!

You don't have to be from California to co-sponsor the bill.

The Sanders-Boxer bill sets out a portfolio of emissions reduction targets, regulatory programs, and incentives for reducing U.S. GHG emissions. Under the proposal, U.S. GHG emissions would be capped at 1990 levels in 2020. This reduction target would become more stringent over time, eventually reaching an 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be authorized to require additional reductions if scientific review finds it necessary to prevent substantial climate change.

More countries

In continuing my desires to fling my money as far around the world as I can, I just added two new countries to my Kiva loans by lending to Amriah in Tangerang , Indonesia. She borrowed $100 to purchase supplies for her sewing and scrap business. She's going to be able to buy a motorcycle.

I also loaned to Chot Nguyên Thi in Vietnam. He wants $75 to buy pigs. So me and Laurent from Belgium are lending him the money. I don't know Laurent, but I like his Kiva enthusiasm. Together we can change the world.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Women for Women, International

I just got my first two letters from the women I sponsor through Women for Women International. I have been sponsoring and corresponding to Hata for months now, and these are the first letters I have received back. Her letters are hand written, whereas mine went via email. The two letters are in different handwritings and are very neat. She probably writes like I do.

Hata is in Domanek, Kosova. She has 7 kids, most of them adult and married. As she says 'Although our living conditions aren't so good we are a very happy family'.


I found another Honduran loan in Teguigalpa. Maria Suyapa Zapata Rodezno is looking for a loan for her shop to buy more products. I can see her fridge is empty, I betcha cold drinks go fast since its often hot there.

I bid on this loan a few hours ago and was the last bid, the others were in someone's basket. They are still there. I guess someone is taking a looooong time checking out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Incredible Kid Day

Today I wrote my second letter to an Absolutely Incredible Kid for the Camp Fire USA program. I ended up on the list twice, so I wrote two letters.

I found out about this from the volunteer match. They have a few things you can do if you like to change the world from your computer.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Helping Angel the container seller in Honduras

I just found this loan on Kiva and had to bid, it the first bid to Jose Angel Rivas in Comayaguela , Honduras. This loan was on page 3 and had no bids!

I think Jose will do well with his plastic wares. I am so glad that Prisma Microfinancing is in Honduras and is able to loan to Jose so he doesn't have to borrow at the ridiculous rate of 80%. I even seen it as high as 125% in some parts of Honduras.

I am so glad Kiva lets us do this.

Today I renewed my membership in the Archaeological Conservancy. They are the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation's remaining archaeological sites.

The conservancy sends out a pretty cool magazine four times a year on
archaeology in the US. Its a pretty good read, I probably read over 80% of it. The magazine has inspired me, we took a trip to Mese Verde a few years back. Now that's an interesting place.

I think the real reason I support this charity is because I really do believe there are things we need to preserve in this country. And the
Archaeological Conservancy. is one of the only places a US citizen can turn to if they need help preserving part of history. We have enough places to build condos in this country without putting them on top of sacred areas.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Four new Kiva Countries - up to 10%!

There seems to have been a flurry of activity over at Kiva, lots of new loans and some new countries! I had to jump on the new country bandwagon, so I could add to my Kiva travel map. I am now loaning to people in 10% of the countries in the world.

My new loans are to Gavkhar Mardonova in Chkalovsk , Tajikistan. She used to be a famous theatre dancer until the civil war, and now she sells spare parts.
I also loanded to Celanda Zabala in Los Alcarrizos , Dominican Republic.
She has had several microloans and uses them to make her store better. She also makes specialized cheeses.

I bid on a loan for Mafwa KOLA in Kinshasa , the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is a retailer and has dreams of becoming a wholesaler and creating jobs for many people. Its really exciting to be able to help someone like him.
And I also loaned to ANNA MIKOROTI in Dar es Salaam , Tanzania. She wants to expand her shop with a $550 loan. She mostly sells consumable goods which are in high demand. Good luck to you Anna.