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Changed to a new website

October 28, 2009

I’ve now changed to a new website. This is where you can find all of my blog updates.


Samuel Dumanjug Journal Update

October 21, 2009
Samuel uses is motorcycle to transport his products

Samuel was able to repair his transportation in order to better conduct his business

With Joan and Will Weber’s gift certificate, I was able to give Samuel a loan to repair his motor vehicle, so that he could reach his clients.  Samuel lives in the Philippines, and his main source of income is selling wood to people in the community.  One can see why his vehicle would be so necessary in this endeavor.  Not surprisingly, shortly after the loan was funded I received this positive update from Kiva:

Mr. Samuel Dumanjug is very busy with his business upon the release of
his loan from Gata Daku Multi-Purpose Cooperative and KIva Funders,he
able to repair his motor vehicle for more convenient to his business
through this he able to generate more income to sustain the daily needs
of his family as well as the education of his kids. That is why he is
very thankful to Gata Daku Multi-Purpose Cooperative and KIva Funders
for giving him a financial assistant.

Starting in January, he will begin repaying his loan, hopefully with the increase in income he has been able to generate from repairing his transportation.  This is really cool.  Real people, helping real people.  Click on his picture for more information.  As always, visit Kiva to lend.

Kiva and Matt

October 19, 2009

This was a video that was shown to us at our Kiva training in San Francisco:

Warning: This is where the blog gets potentially self-important and emo.  But really that video is one that strikes a chord with me.  Really, all that Kiva is trying to do is to connect people on different parts of the world for a common interest.  Now, they way they are attempting to do it is a little less light-hearted, but I think that the similarities between Kiva’s mission and Matt’s are there enough to post this video.  What is more inspirational than people connecting and coming together for something they believe in?  Also, anyone who knows me (okay, maybe only some people know this), knows that I think dancing is a perfect way to both express yourself and connect with other people.

And now my impression:

Dance with me guys.  Loan to entrepreneurs on Kiva.

Kiva Vision

October 13, 2009

Kiva Vision!

If you have five minutes or you feel like procrastinating a bit, check out to see loans being made in real life.  It’s really cool to look at, especially because it gives you a “valid” reason for delaying a mundane task.

Gift Certificate Usage

Peter runs an herbal medicine clinic in Kenya
Peter runs an herbal medicine clinic in Kenya

With the gift certificates that I have received from you.  I have been able to lend to nine different entrepreneurs.  One of them is Peter Ndungu Kanyugi, who runs an herbal medicine and food supplement in Nairobi.  Click on his picture to find out more about him and his loan.

Brunches of Fun

October 12, 2009

Thanks to all of those who came to brunch.  It was lots of fun to tell everyone about how excited I am to be embarking soon.  For those of you who missed it, while eating latkes and bagels, we had an hour presentation/discussion.  I was really happy with the engaging questions that everyone had.  I have already raised almost 1/3 of my goal of $2,000!  Thanks for all of the support so far, and I hope to get to the goal soon with your help. The ways to donate are outlined below, or you can donate by clicking on the button the sidebar or giving me a Kiva gift certificate.

A view of the presentation

A view of the presentation

There were many interesting points brought up from the brunch, and while I was able to answer a lot of questions that people had, there were some points that were left unsettled.  Here are the three that were most prominent to me.  Those who attended, I’d love to see your comments on the blog, or in a personal email to me of what else came to your mind about the brunch.

-Kiva loans are disbursed before the lender is fully funded on Kiva.  That seemed to make everyone feel a little bit uneasy, and understandably so: If the loans are disbursed before I fund them, then where is my money really going?  To this I have a couple of responses.  1) In order to get the people who need loans money when they need it and to make things more efficient, this truly is the best way to distribute the loans.  2) Without Kiva, these loans would not be happening.  So while it may not be your exact dollar that goes to the exact person, without you, this person likely would not be getting the funding. 3)  Along the same lines, when you lend 25 dollars to an entrepreneur, you are in essence buying the loan from the microfinance institution, and you are dependent on the individual to pay you back.  The loan becomes your loan, even if it is not the exact money.  I know it’s not a perfect system, ideally we would directly give people money when lenders chose to send loans, but the technology for that, especially in developing nations is not there.

-There is a ‘Green’ sector under industries that you can lend to.  Unfortunately, there are no loans under this ‘Green’ sector.  That is because this sector was just started October 1st.  It has yet to be fully implemented.  I imagine as we start seeing entrepreneurs working in the ‘Green’ sector, we will be able to loan to them, but as of now, this is not fully functional.

-Contributions directly to me are not tax deductible.  Previous fellows have also run into this similar issues with supporters.  For that reason, through the International Humanities Center a previous fellow started the Local Universe Fellows Fund, with a 501c3 status.  Therefore, if checks are made out to IHCenter/LUFF, I can still receive the money, and the contribution is tax deductible.  I am currently in the process of finding out more information on this, but at this point.  I think this will provide a way to make your contributions tax deductible.  I will know more in few days, and I will keep you posted.

Again, I would love to see any thoughts you have posted in the comments section.

You stay classy Jeremy-Kiva supporters.

My activities, from before.

October 8, 2009

Oh, hey.  What’s up from before?

For those of you who are still confused as to what I will be spending my time doing in Guatemala, here are a list of my primary activities:

-Learning words and concepts about microfinances in Spanish, as I have never learned them in English and proceeding to forget everything about Biology, the brain and the science of celestial mechanics.  Also, there are about 22 indigenous languages in Guatemala, and neither Spanish nor dolphin speak will help me here.

-Interviewing borrowers and updating journal entries on Kiva’s website.  The main reason Kiva is so spectacular is that the people who lend money receive information of where their loan went and what impact it actually had.  It’s about creating a personal relation, not just a one-way flow of money.  I will be meeting with individual entrepreneurs, having a “hands-on cultural experience,” and learn more in one day than I did during three months of studying for the  MCAT.  I will do my best to translate and passionately and accurately articulate these stories to the lenders.

-Adding my humble thoughts to the fellows blog and this blog.  I promise to tell everyone just how much a 6’3″ white person sticks out in Guatemala.   As height largely depends on nutrition and, according to the World Bank, about 75% of Guatemalans are living in poverty, I might look different from other people.

-Social Performance Monitoring.  Is microfinance actually helping these Guatemalans move out of poverty?  I’ll be looking at non-monetary factors to see if this is actually the case.

-Empowering others.  There is nothing like giving someone the ability to fulfill their dreams.  With Kiva and this fellowship, we are giving with the expectation that others will give their effort in return.  It is not a blank donation, but a call for action.  The entrepreneurs are not given money to sit back and relax, but rather to step forward and achieve.

Finally, the shameless offer.  For every dollar that you contribute,  I will do a shoulder stand for that many seconds. That means, if you give me a Kiva gift certificate for 25 dollars, I will be doing a 25 second shoulder stand.  How many seconds do you think I can do it for?  If you would like me to videotape this as proof and send it to you, let me know and I will.   Ways to contribute are outlined below and on the side bar.  I hope to go to Guatemala with your help and support and a firm set of abs.

Waiting to Begin

September 23, 2009

Just having returned from an inspirational training at in San Francisco, I’m antsy to get to Guatemala where I will be doing grassroots work with entrepreneurs looking to better their lives.  Unfortunately, I still have to wait another month.

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about Kiva and what I will be doing with them. Kiva is a microlending website that connects lenders from all over the world to entrepreneurs in other places for the sake of alleviating poverty.  The way this works is that YOU can view entrepreneurs’ profiles  Kiva’s website, and decide who to lend to.  Kiva then collects the money and distributes it to a Microfinance Institution (MFI), who in turn, give the loan to the entrepreneur.  The entrepreneur then repays the loan, and you  get your money back, along with updates of what the entrepreneur was able to do with your loan.

In November, I’ll be going to Guatemala City, as a Kiva fellow, to work with an MFI, FAPE (translated into English, Foundation to Assist the Small Business) . They are a socially oriented MFI give over ninety percent of their loans to women entrepreneurs.  I will be partnering with FAPE to help strengthen their relationship with Kiva.  Additionally, I will visit the entrepreneurs to get a grassroots experience of microfinance.  Throughout my time there, I will be blogging periodically to document my experience both on this blog and on the kiva fellows blog.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am currently applying to medical school.  How does  being a Kiva Fellow fit into this plan?   Firstly, I am doing this because I strongly identify with Kiva’s mission to alleviate poverty while connecting people from all over the world by being completely transparent.  Secondly, I will be traveling to Guatemala, learning about a new culture, and meeting incredibly inspiring individuals.  Thirdly, I recognize that there is an inextricable relationship between health and economics.  In order to treat my future patients effectively, I want to have a wide range of experience in learning and supporting people to build healthy lives.  Productivity and health are socially, physically, and emotionally interconnected. Being a Kiva Fellow will allow me to better understand hardships, economic or otherwise, facing my future patients.

I can hardly wait for November to come.  But before I can go, I need your help making this dream a reality.  As Kiva cannot provide me with any money, it is my responsibility to completely fund the trip. It’s my goal to raise $2,000 which would cover flight, food, vaccines, health insurance, transportation within country, and communication(like uploading photos and posting on blogs).  I’ greatly appreciate it if everyone could contribute according to their means, as ANY amount will help.  There are three ways YOU can help me in this endeavor: Direct paypal contribution, Kiva Gift Certificate, and by mailing a check.

1) A direct contribution to me via paypal.

Make A Donation

2) A Kiva gift certificate. This is really a 2 for 1 option.  By giving a me a Kiva gift certificate, you would be helping Kiva, an entrepreneur, and my trip.  I would lend the money to an entrepreneur (if you have picked out a particular person you would like to lend to, you can let me know that when you give the gift certificate in the ‘Personal Message’ section) and send you the updates I get about how that entrepreneur is doing. After the loan period, I would ge the money back, which would help offset my costs.  My email address is Click here  Kiva gift certificate.

3) You can mail me a good ‘ol check directly at:

3755 Charter Place
Ann Arbor, MI, 48105

Thanks for visiting and hope to hear from you soon.

To learn more about Kiva and the fellows program click on these links:


Kiva Fellows Program

Kiva Fellows Blog

Feel free to email me at or with any questions to find out more or just to say hello.