I'm killing time today, waiting on the apartment to be ready. So, since I was on the Kiva site I wandered around some more, and read, and learned, and ended up with more troubling questions than I found answers. The terms 'interest free loans' and 'field partners' when used with 'microfinance' are warm fuzzy sounding words. But, looking deeper, the interest free loans are to local loan institutions who charge 36 to 57 PERCENT INTEREST to the local population they make the loans to. And all this 'you are funding a loan to ____' stuff? No, you are loaning money to a bank, assuming all the risk yourself, and giving them money to lend to who they choose at whatever interest rate they want. I am conflicted now. There are some cases made each direction in comments on the articles that try to say the high interest is necessary for the 'field partners' to be 'self sustaining'. Ummmm, I'm wanting the individuals to be self-sustaining, not the local bank to make more money because of access to my capital on a no-interest, I assume all risk basis. I'm going to ponder this more, and do some more reading. Didn't help that it turns out that the 'field partner' for the Honduras loans is, or was anyway, owned by a company in Boston. Sigh. If it looks too good to be true, it just might be. At this point I'm only in $100.
The apartment is almost ready. It's clean, and all they need to do is hang some curtains in one window and move in a fridge in order to give me the key. I gave them the rent money. It will take about 5 minutes to carry my stuff up the flight of stairs to the room. I call it an apartment, but it's a hotel suite with one large room that would normally have couches, and 2 bedrooms off that. No kitchen. No closets, even. Until my stuff gets here with my clothes rack my clothes will just be put on the floor. A nice bathroom with a tiled shower. Guess I'll head up and see how far along they are.