Wednesday, March 28, 2007

you too can be a banker and help change the world

i have heard about for quite some time and thought that i should do something about it. but didn't until tonight. i was home sick all day today and reading through the new york times online when i found the op/ed below which motivated me. so i search around and decided i wanted to help out. i decided i would give to someone that i could actually meet sometime (so s/he needed to live in a place i may travel). so i look through tons of the and decided to give some cash to victor onyango of kenya. i liked the idea of giving to a father who live outside of a capitol and was in a cool place to visit. then i was feeling real good so i decided to give to hannah wambui kimani. she lives in the same place and it seemed like it could be cool to see if men and women do any different in their repayment.

so it should be cool. i will keep you posted of course as i get repaid and if i ever get to meet victor and hannah. i think it would be really cool.

The New York Times

March 27, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

You, Too, Can Be a Banker to the Poor

KABUL, Afghanistan

For those readers who ask me what they can do to help fight poverty, one option is to sit down at your computer and become a microfinancier.

That’s what I did recently. From my laptop in New York, I lent $25 each to the owner of a TV repair shop in Afghanistan, a baker in Afghanistan, and a single mother running a clothing shop in the Dominican Republic. I did this through, a Web site that provides information about entrepreneurs in poor countries — their photos, loan proposals and credit history — and allows people to make direct loans to them.

So on my arrival here in Afghanistan, I visited my new business partners to see how they were doing.

On a muddy street in Kabul, Abdul Satar, a bushy-bearded man of 64, was sitting in the window of his bakery selling loaves for 12 cents each. He was astonished when I introduced myself as his banker, but he allowed me to analyze his business plan by sampling his bread: It was delicious.

Mr. Abdul Satar had borrowed a total of $425 from a variety of lenders on, who besides me included Nathan in San Francisco, David in Rochester, N.Y., Sarah in Waltham, Mass., Nate in Fort Collins, Colo.; Cindy in Houston, and “Emily’s family” in Santa Barbara, Calif.

With the loan, Mr. Abdul Satar opened a second bakery nearby, with four employees, and he now benefits from economies of scale when he buys flour and firewood for his oven. “If you come back in 10 years, maybe I will have six more bakeries,” he said.

Mr. Abdul Satar said he didn’t know what the Internet was, and he had certainly never been online. But Kiva works with a local lender affiliated with Mercy Corps, and that group finds borrowers and vets them.


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The local group, Ariana Financial Services, has only Afghan employees and is run by Storai Sadat, a dynamic young woman who was in her second year of medical school when the Taliban came to power and ended education for women. She ended up working for Mercy Corps and becoming a first-rate financier; some day she may take over Citigroup.

“Being a finance person is better than being a doctor,” Ms. Sadat said. “You can cure the whole family, not just one person. And it’s good medicine — you can see them get better day by day.”

Small loans to entrepreneurs are now widely recognized as an important tool against poverty. Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his pioneering work with microfinance in Bangladesh.

In poor countries, commercial money lenders routinely charge interest rates of several hundred percent per year. Thus people tend to borrow for health emergencies rather than to finance a new business. And partly because poor people tend to have no access to banks, they also often can’t save money securely.

Microfinance institutions typically focusing on lending to women, to give them more status and more opportunities. Ms. Sadat’s group does lend mostly to women, but it’s been difficult to connect some female borrowers with donors on Kiva — because many Afghans would be horrified at the thought of taking a woman’s photograph, let alone posting on the Internet.

My other partner in Kabul is Abdul Saboor, who runs a small TV repair business. He used the loan to open a second shop, employing two people, and to increase his inventory of spare parts. “I used to have to go to the market every day to buy parts,” he said, adding that it was a two-and-a-half-hour round trip. “Now I go once every two weeks.”

Web sites like Kiva are useful partly because they connect the donor directly to the beneficiary, without going through a bureaucratic and expensive layer of aid groups in between. Another terrific Web site in this area is, which connects donors to would-be recipients. The main difference is that GlobalGiving is for donations, while Kiva is for loans.

A young American couple, Matthew and Jessica Flannery, founded Kiva after they worked in Africa and realized that a major impediment to economic development was the unavailability of credit at any reasonable cost.

“I believe the real solutions to poverty alleviation hinge on bringing capitalism and business to areas where there wasn’t business or where it wasn’t efficient,” Mr. Flannery said. He added: “This doesn’t have to be charity. You can partner with someone who’s halfway around the world.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


DIANNA spent most of last week in ft. riley, ks with steve inskeep. to make all the chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak, lack of sleep, and lack of fun, worth it i thought i would share her work. it is a three part series. you can listen to them if you hit the links below and hit "listen". i don't want to be too heavy or political, but i would like to share this.

they are important stories.
Riding Herd on the Iraqi Police's Dirty 'Wolf Brigade' this is the best of the series, imho

Training the Trainers at Fort Riley

Future Iraqi Advisers Face Hard Lesson

other stuff on iraq that should be heard:
Children's Deaths Tear Iraqi Neighborhood Asunder -- this one blew my mind

A War Photographer's View of Iraq

Monday, March 26, 2007


this year the beginning of spring meant planting a garden, cleaning, and enjoying good weather.
kings court garden was lucky and got this huge pile of "black gold"
daniel rolled all around in it

elaine, sarah and eli help prep the garden for the black gold
it was awesome because we got so much done so fast
issac couldn't keep the black gold out of his mouth.
he even mixed some in with his cereal for extra punch

daniel was a huge help hauling manure

the beginnings of our garden
we have arugula, some spicy asian greens (kyoto mizuno and chinese broccoli), purple carrots, sweet carrots, and lots of lettuces and greens

after gardening the spring cleaning began
viewer discretion is advised the following fotos are graphic

this is what we found under our refrigerator
actually we found three of these
daniel assumed it was a dinosaur.
can you figure out what it is?
i just hope we don't get hantavirus

i think we used too much easy off
i am still coughing

this is the kinda stuff going on right outside my door

here's DIANNA on a walk with daniel

this is what the neighborhood is looking like

all the flowers knocked daniel's superman work boots right off his little body

we thought R2D2 would arouse them
please note the uspsjedimaster website advertised on this mailbox

no such luck

henry wadswoth longfellow would have said
this about yesterday
Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.

Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.

Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;
But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.

Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours;
Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.

And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
Of the self-same, universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.

Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay;

Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gayly in the golden light;
Large desires, with most uncertain issues,
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!

These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers,
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.

Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Others, their blue eyes with tears o'er-flowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;

Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,
But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;

Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink;

Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;

In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers,
Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;

In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.

And with childlike, credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand;
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.

thanks annie for this poem!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Boxer takes Charge!

i am so in love with this! boxer boxes inhofe and man she does it well!

so as not to neglect

my dear dianna felt a bit salty after reviewing my previous post and not finding any photos of herself (how quickly she forgets that all the wonderful photos from st. lucia were busted) we had a sushi lunch today inbetween a host of other productive activities.

here we are at sakana
elaine, DIANNA, me and lindsay


so another thing i did last month was make this cake. the truth is lindsay made it, but i thought it up. i didn't think it up really. i found it on but i found it and that counts for something right?

now if anyone has ideas for a bevy of turnips and beets that i have in my crisper, i would be much obliged

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips (about 3 large)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 cups (about 12 ounces) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in large bowl; whisk to combine. Whisk eggs, oil, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl to combine. Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients; stir until just combined. Stir in parsnips and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack.

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in fresh ginger and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth. Spread over cake. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

some of the stuff that went on last month

i spent some quality time with my "pink ball" and these yahoos

apparently, one can never have too many forks

there is a constant battle for who gets to have my bottle.
i think i will just get these boys their own bottle

turns out stickers and an apron and suddenly you have a king

from king to cowboy in the turn of a dime

if they have sticks they are much happier
but don't get in the line of fire
they are not totally skilled yet

i went to this house on the eastern shore (of maryland) for a bookclub retreat.

we cooked ourselves in the hot tub

liz made brownies

we pretty much did this all weekend

we also ate lots of good food.
lindsay making the best muffins ever!

see if you can find my bottle

cheryl and i were both feeling like we could us a pick me up and to feel prettier
we needed hair cuts, but out beloved stylist tara had moved in august to blacksburg, va
4.5 hours away.
but desperate times call for desperate measures
so we got some krispy kremes and hit the road

this was a heartwarming sign.
christiansburg? do you think they have a mosque there?

as the bushwacking begins

the remnants
cheryl was really really excited

we forgot to take after shots, but we looked
and felt much better
thanks a million tara
a quick story about why tara is amazing
she left her glam job in dc to get a PhD in entomology and moved to blacksburg
when we arrived she ordered really yummy pizza
and wouldn't let us pay her for it
then she cute our hair
and wouldn't let us pay her for it
so, she is going to come up to DC in may
and i am hoping that all my friends will want to have her cut their hair
mostly because i like to surround myself with beautiful people
and also because i want tara to make some cash
i celebrated my good friend mike's b-day

one mike is confused, the other crazed
but the food was awesome

i was the photographer at a service project for relief society.
we made school kits for kids in the developing world

elaine teaching us about school kits

we hand sewed velcro
who knows why we had to do it that way

those that had sewing machines were really happy for their good fortune

i really kicked taryn's butt
turns out my grandma taught me some mean sewing skills as a kid

joyce was feeling pretty saucy too.
i love this woman!

one night i met up with some friends from my discussion group
it was super cool because joey and jessica were visiting from slc
one afternoon as i was rushing to a meeting and transferring metro trains, i literally ran into them in the metro
we already had plans to see each other that night, but it was cool

here we are at a yummy indian restaurant in bethesda
they had the most gorgeous menu i have ever seen
and good food to boot
passage to india: i recommend it
turns out paul wolfowitz recommends it too
there were things i would have liked to have ask him
but i didn't
nathan and brigham loved being so close to the author of the iraq invasion