It's that time of year again, when I'm teaching Things Fall Apart to my high school students. Things Fall Apart is the unforgettable story of Okonkwo, a "strong man" living in Nigeria on the eve of the arrival of British missionaries. This is the fourth time I have taught this book, but this year I wanted to do something a little more meaningful, so I used kiva.org to connect me with a real Nigerian who could use a hand.
I started using Kiva in October of 2007. If you've never heard of Kiva, it is a website that makes it possible for you to make direct loans to entrepreneurs all over the globe who need capital to run their businesses. Kiva allows you to pick an individual, read about his or her business, and lend that person money. It is a loan, and not a donation, and 98.57% of loaners pay back their loan in full.
The first person I loaned money to was Maria Luisa Hernandez Gomez, who is a chicken seller in
When my investment had returned from Azerbaijan, I started looking for the next business person who could use it. The person I chose was Shem Mbareba of