Monday, April 30, 2007

Stop Mining on Sacred Ground.

I just signed a petition to ask Barrick Gold to stop illegally mining on Shoshone lands. The petitions is to let the Western Shoshone peoples know they have strong support among concerned citizen around the world. They are going to bring it to Barrick's annual stockholder meeting in Toronto on May 2nd. HEY - YOU, get off their land.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

National Museum of the American Indian

Today I renewed my membership in the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. I am a founding member, and gave funds to have it built. Its a pretty cool place.

I have also been working on the Agents of Change LA event for June 6th for Kiva. Plans are coming along great. This will be a bit of a feat, throwing together a fundraiser in a month without a budget. Everything has to be donated. I hope we raise a lot of money, I think they are going to need help getting to their Million Dollar goal.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cure Autism Now Walk - We walked it!

I went on the Cure Autism Now walk today, with Team Tury for Brendan. It was fun. We had to walk farther than last year. There seemed to be more booths, which is exciting. They raised over 1.1 million by the beginning, which beats the record from last year.

I have know CAN since its inception, so its exciting to see it grow.

My favorite shirt 'keep autism weird'. I got Kiva gift certificates for my sponsors, but I don't want to give them to them now because there are so few loans at Kiva and almost all of them are to Azerbaijan.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fair Trade products from 10, 000 Villages

Went shopping today to 10,000 villages and found a bunch of shiny things to buy. Our purchases include cards from Bangladesh and the Philippines, incense set from India, a beautiful bowl from Uganda, a tray from Bangladesh, a cinnamon carved container from Cambodia, and a pan flute from Peru.
And chocolate. Which is almost already gone.

Many become one. To end poverty in our lifetime.

I joined this a while back, and have been surprised at all the places I keep seeing it. Its a movement. Take part here .

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cure Autism Now walk

I sent out email today asking a few people to support me this Saturday for the Cure Autism Now walk. This will be the second year I'm doing it. I walking with some friends. I once got a CAN research grant, so its good to help out.

You can sponsor me here.

Someone joined me today on Maharram Shukurov loan. He's up to $50. Will the rate be one a day?

New Kiva Country: Cote D'Ivoire

Today I lent to 'TANTI CECILE' AKISSI CECILE in Anono , Cote D'Ivoire. She wants to buy a refrigerator/freezer for her fish business. She's a dynamic women and has other loans that she has repaid. I presume Tanti means Aunt, the official french word for aunt is Tante.

So I'm still the only one bidding on Maharram Shukurov and he's on page 6 of 'old to new' loans.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I just made a loan to Maharram Shukurov from Beylagan , Azerbaijan, for his Fruits and vegetables. He's already paid back 4 loans so he's not really a risk.

But he's from Azerbaijan, and that's not very unique at Kiva. I found this loan a few pages in to the new loans, but noone else had bid yet. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to fund.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Solar tax credits

I just sent letters to my congress people (Barbra, Dianne and Adam) asking them to support The Securing America's Energy Independence Act (S. 590, H.R. 550). This legislation will extend the solar tax credits and give people more incentive to go solar and develop technologies. Thanks to Solar Nation and the Co-op American Newsletter for getting me involved.

Reviewing grant proposals for the NIH

I did a quick telephone study section this morning, where I participated in reviewing 3 proposals for the National Institute of Health. The way science is funded is that scientists (from universities, centers, etc) write grant proposals and send them to the NIH. NIH has study sections that review these proposals and assign a priority score, which basically ranks the proposals. There are thousands of reviewers each study section, as each proposal gets read by at least 3 people. After the proposals are ranked the individual institutions within NIH (e.g. NIMH-National Institute of Mental Health, NCI- National Cancer Institute, NIA - National Institute on Aging) looks at the appropriate proposals and funds them based on the monies given to them by congress.
Reviewing for the NIH is an awesome responsibility and I am always honored to be asked.

You can search the CRISP database for all of NIH current and past proposals. Don't bother looking me up (yet), I haven't got my proposal funded (yet).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oxfam, Agents of Change LA

I renewed my membership in Oxfam today. I first got involved in College, my first year I sort of majored in 'Oxfam' and 'Amnesty'. As well as Vegetarian and SCA, all of which I still do. I guess its more than a phase.

We had our first meeting of Agents of Change-LA where we are planning the June 6th event. Hi Kelly!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

If you're going to be a tailor, you need a good sewing machine. So today I lent to Eliseo Alarcón Reyes from García, Nuevo León , Mexico so he can update his machine. He has recently gone into business for himself. And now, thanks to Kiva, he'll have access to credit.

Nuevo León is a north eastern state of Mexico, its one over from the Gulf and has a little tip that borders the US. I'm studying Mexican geography so I can at least identify some of the states, and Kiva is helping. Hm, I should get a Mexico map!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kiva YouTube Videos and Talkshoe

I made my first youtube video. Click here to see it. Its about Kiva of course. I also did my first talkshoe show with Randulo. Its here, under 'Make the World Better in 15 minutes'. I think we took 19.

We discussed Kiva and Kiva friends, Agents of,, Playful pancake cat toys, and and the project I'm helping with. It was fun, and quite interesting for me to hear myself. I actually can hear my Canadian accent.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Loan to Julia Nancy in Ecuador, how can I resist?

I was scanning the Kiva loans and came across a loan to Julia Nancy Leyton in Guayaquil , Ecuador. She runs Señora Nancy Store and wants to expand her product and eventually move to another location. Its a hard job running a corner store. She works long hours and spends almost all her time in the shop. Her kids help out, because convince stores truly are family businesses, even her in North America.

Sometimes I look at the kids in the pictures and wonder how much their lives change from this loan. But I of course, chose this one, because of her name. I couldn't turn her down.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mexico - so close to home.

I made two loans to Mexico today through Kiva, to build up our Mexican portfolio. I just feel that we, as North Americans/Californians, have a special duty to help Mexico. So I loaned today to Griselda Reyes Regalado in Acuna , Mexico so she could buy a cart to sell her Veracruz-style tamales. Right now she sells them from her table in pots.
The second loan was to Dora Alicia Menchaca González in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico who just wants to increase her stock. She sells out each week and can see that if she had more she could sell more. No one else had bid on her loan and its not that new, so lets see how long it takes to fund.

I think I have been influenced in my desire to help Mexico by Agents of Change. And I am still helping them organize the LA event on June 6th. I have also been doing some emailing on YouTube to try to get people to join the Kiva YouTube Contest. So far I got 1 hit! I emailed with her a few times and she made a submission, and we're waiting for it to appear in YouTube. Apparently there is a delay.

We got the Votes, and almost 50% of the $

I am happy to say that we got enough votes to become a project on And we did it two days early! I am thrilled that we have already raised $745, which is almost 1/2 of the money needed for the new roof.

Its thrilling to see this project happen, I only got didn't think I could do much when Keith asked me to help, but it seems showing him the site and editing the text really helped. So what do you know, I can put a roof on a school in Africa from my computer! With help from a lot of people. I am so glad there are so many caring souls out there like me who want to change the world. If we all keep getting together for these projects and doing what we can, we can get them done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Amnesty International

I voted today for members of the board of directors for Amnesty International of the U.S.A., Inc. I used to write a lot of letter for Amnesty, starting when I was in my first year of University. I used to go to meeting and movies and dances for justice.

I still believe in justice. And giving a voice to those who can't speak.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kiva loans to Mexico

I found myself with Kiva withdrawls today, it seems like forever since I've made a loan. First I spent some time getting my current loans organized, I made a binder and printed them all, and organized them according to region and country and date of loan. I made a special sections for Honduras and Mexico. I have a total of 84 loans now, but only 4 to Mexico.

So I went hunting for a Kiva loan, and found this great one to Armando Villafaña Pavón to buy a closed circuit security system for his electronics store in Nuevo Laredo , Mexico. Nuevo Laredo is just across the Rio Grande from Texas, so its a border city.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lunches for Kids who live in the dump in Teguigalpa, Honduras

Thanks to a KivaFriend, I was show a new program that the Micah Project is doing with the kids who live in the dump in Teguigalpa. I have donated to the Micah project in the past because they are doing such great work, they set up a school for the kids who live in the dump. Yes, live in the dump. Approximately 1200 people live in the dump, many of them children.

So the Micah project built a school and is now, along with special missions, starting a daily lunch program, so the kids can at least get one good meal a day. That will help them do better in school, and make their way out of the dump.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tree people

Today I sent off my membership to Tree People. Tree people is a local group that plants trees in Los Angeles. I planted trees on St. Patrick's Day.
I am tree people.
We are tree people.

Need votes to help finish a school in Africa

I just sent out a plea to my friends to ask them to vote for my project to raise funds to put a roof on a school in Uganda, Africa. I have been working with an activist in Uganda who is trying to raise $1600 to finish a school (its almost done, they just need a roof!). We set up a site on and have 55 votes and $650 pledged. We need an additional 45 votes in the next 6 days or we loose all our pledge money.

If you have a minute could you please go and vote for us? You don't have to pledge (but you can if you want). Just vote to say you think its a worthwhile project. Roofs on schools is worthwhile don't you think?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Playful Pancakes - Cat Toys and Goats in Africa

I got my playful pancake cat toy and my cats like it. That's Baubles with it. She had been pouncing with it until I pulled the camera out. Then she just posed.

The toy came with a personal note from the 7-year old maker, and a signed letter with pictures showing the kids who make them.

All of the toys are named (pictures here), we got eyelashy. Looks like it was made with help from Jenna and Anya.

I think its just incredible that this kid started her own non-profit where she makes these pancake cat toys (from scraps from her mother's shoe business) and donates the entire proceedings to Kids for Kids, so each toy bought sends a whole goat to a kid in Africa.

I will be buying more of these in the future, so my other cats get to play too.

Wow, I just found a picture of my cat toy being made. How cool is that!

Thanks Cassidy for making the world a better place to be.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Futures for Children - deposits on dorm rooms

I sent off my monthly donation to Futures for Children today, where I mentor a Navaho student. I also sent along a small monthly allowance for Tasha ($25). I've been doing that since I started, so she would have some money just to be a kid. I am also sending Tasha money for her deposit for her dorm at University of New Mexico. Yup, she's graduating and going to Uni! I'm so proud. I don't know where they expect people to come up with this money now before they get financial aid. Glad I can be here to help.

If you're looking for cool, authentic Native American wares, check out the Futures for Children Store. I did all my Christmas shopping there one year, and the family just loved everything. And I just loved the one-stop-shopping.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I could

Well I passed the background check and got word today that I am an official mentor for I could I watched the 15 minute introductory training video and the program looks very interesting. There are many different programs for the kids to follow and learn a lot of useful skills. Mentors log on and offer comments on their work, and provide advice about schooling and work. I like mentoring kids, and I have lots of patience and ideas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Julia's of the World - Unite

I found this loan and couldn't pass up helping a Julia. Julia Gutierrez is in Bolivia. She is a travelling merchant and takes her wares all over. She wants to borrow $900 for working capital. It takes money to make money.

Julias of the world - Unite!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Selling Candles in Hati

I joined others in the Pondering Pig Kiva Investment group to help fund Ivonne Soincilier in Trou-du-Nord , Haiti. Ivonne makes candles and sells them to people who don't have electricity. Betcha there is a market there! Ivonne is going to use this money to purchase a stall to sell from, so she doesn't have to walk around with a cardboard box. I'm thinking that is going to totally change her life, from being nomadic to proud owner of a permant stall.

Bonne chance Ivonne pour allument le monde.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Vegetarian Resource Group

I just renewed my membership to the Vegetarian Resource Group. I've been a member for over a decade and have enjoyed watching them grow and prosper. They do good work, they do a lot of consulting to schools and individuals. I have read many of their publications, and enjoy the journal that has great articles as well as recipes. All that and its tax deductable!

Travelling BoGo Light

I was quite surprised to find a new package from BoGo - the Buy One, Give One solar flashlight that is lighting up Africa and changing people's lives. So in my package was a travelling bogo light, so that people can try it and pass it on. My light is 0306, number 64017, and I have passed it on to someone and we'll see how far it goes. The tracker software isn't yet up on the bogo sight. But what a fun idea.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter loans to Teguigalpa

My Easter present to myself was to loan to five different people in Tegucigalpa. Most of these people are in stalls near the hospital. I went through my hundreds of pictures to see if I had any of that area, but this was the best I could find and its blurry. But it shows you how the shops are set up along the sidewalk and they are often attached together or right beside each other. Space of course, is always at a premium.
So my new loan recipients are (as order pictured above): Patricia Duron Castejon, Dulceria La Variedad, Martha Alicia Sanchez, Ropa La Esplendida, Tula de Jesus Sanchez, Caseta Las Colinas, Rosibel Aguilar, Chiclerita La Picarita, and Yobani Hernandez, Cerrajeria Kennedy who is buying a copper machine to make keys.

So my Honduran loans are :
In Teguigalpa:
Francia Mendoza, Comedor Francia
Maria Xiomara Rodriguez, Tortillas Xiomara
Allan Gustavo Salgado, Panaderia Allan
Margarita Reyna Sierra Midence, Variedades Sierra
Maria Suyapa Zapata Rodezno, Pulperia Suyapa,
Yovanni Omar Soto Garcia, Tienda Garcia
Maria Otilia Sierra, Interiores Sierra
Mauro Rodolfo Zepeda, Taxi Zepeda
Braulio Ramon Rivera, Taller de Soldadura Rivera
Benita Obex Gonzales, Tortillas Obex
Carlos Javier Fiallos, El Veloz
Dunia Aracely Hernandez, Pulperia El Samaritano
Estebina Ramos, La Amistosa
Patricia Duron Castejon, Dulceria La Variedad
Martha Alicia Sanchez, Ropa La Esplendida
Tula de Jesus Sanchez, Caseta Las Colinas
Rosibel Aguilar, Chiclerita La Picarita
Yobani Hernandez, Cerrajeria Kennedy

In Danli:
Denia Iydesa Amador Elvir, Pulperia
Luis Adolfo Perez Alvares, Pulperia,
Julia Ester Segura Mendoza, Pulperita La Estancia,
Lesly Yesenia Fonseca Cabrera, Pulperia IZAI,

In Comayaguela:
Jose Angel Rivas, Plasticos Angel
Oralia Mendieta Chirinos, Lacteos Dona Oralia

Wow. The list is longer than I thought. And its all thanks to Prisma Microfinance.
And Kiva of course.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kiva - Honduras and Azerbaijan

Just found this loan and just had to help Francia Mendoza. She sells food in Teguigalpa, near the hospital. I can just picture where the stall might be.

I also made a loan to Mahammedali Fatullayev for his food market. His loan was on the oldest page and only 13% funded. Kiva is a bit Azerbaijan-oriented at the moment. Lets see how long this one takes to fund.

Card to anysoldier in Iraq

I found a very patriotic card tonight and wrote a note to a soldier in Iraq. Its always so hard 'cause I never know what to say, but I still manage to babble on about things I hope will make them feel better. I don't mention anything political or controversal. They don't need to know I'm a flaming liberal :}

I have been supporting since a few months into its inception, when there were only 4 names to send things to. I remember when they doubled and had 11 names, and I wondered how I would send stuff to everyone. Ha. Now there are 3767 names. I like to go to the 99 cent only store and buy stuff and send it to them, I even found some DVDs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pigs in Cambodia

I'm lending money to a new Country - Cambodia. This is my 26th country I think. Orn Oeun is looking for a Kiva loan to raise pigs. But she also sews.

National Forest Foundation

I just became a member of the National Forest Foundation. The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is the congressionally-chartered nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. I like trees.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Just can't resist those Teguigalpa, Honduras loans

I just can't resist it. Seriously. I was trying real hard not to do any Kiva loans so there would be loans left for new people. Kiva loans are going fast, and that's such a great thing.

But I really wanted to participate on these loans. They went straight to my heart, they are in Teguigalpa, Honduras. I know the city so well, and it brings me such to joy to be able to help people there.

Like Estebina Ramos who has a kiosk near the county hospital. I'm pretty sure that is the Hospital Escuela, where I have been several times to meet with neurology residents. And I was there for the grand opening of the EEG machine. Next time I'm there I will go looking for Estebina and her kiosk.

Dunia Aracely Hernandez is obviously just starting out her business, she only wants $150 for supplies. I can just see her entire world changing as her business grows and grows with Kiva.

And Carlos Javier Fiallos needed $150 to repair his taxi.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Playful Pancakes Cat Toy - Buys a Goat in Africa

I just bought a Playful Pancake Cat Toy. This toy is made by Cassidy who is 7 and she invented them, and sells them so that children in the Sudan won't starve. All of the money goes to Kids for Kids, and each toy buys one goat (and is tax deductable).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Children's Shoes in Bolivia

I just lent money to Nancy Alcazar who wants to use it in her store. She sells children's shoes in La Paz, Boliva. This is a new country for me, and it changes my lending % to 13% of the countries of the world. Not bad for the bank of me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Raising Funds to Finish a School in Uganda

Remember a while back how I was asked to help a guy raise funds to finish a school in Africa? How at first I was quite perplexed on what to do since I am not a fundraiser, then as things happen, a few hours later I found and encouraged him to set up his project?

Well today I helped him further by re-writing his project to make it more appealing and easier to read. Hopefully that will help get us some more votes. We need another 81 before April 21, so if you have a moment, please stop by and vote for it. You don't have to pledge (but that's nice too!).

Co-op America

I am renewing my membership in Co-op America. I like their ideas of building an economy that strengthens our communities, protects the environment and promotes peace and justice.

I must say I really enjoy their newsletters, I find them informative and they usually send me to the web with a list of companies I want to look up. I keep a copy of the National Green Pages on my bookshelf.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Underwear in Honduras

I was going through the Kiva loans and found this one that seemed to slip through the cracks. Very few people have bid on her. Is it the what she sells? I personally think its a great investment, everyone wears underwear!

I am so thrilled to see so many loans to Honduras. Honduras is the second poorest country in the Americas (after Hati).

Its a beautiful country, full of wonderful, hardworking people.