My First Kiva Loan! Meet Essi…

So, my daily browse around Kiva this morning, FINALLY brought my first ever loan!

Her name is Essi and she’s from Togo.

Here’s a description from Kiva:

“This lady was born in Danyi and lives in the Djidjolé neighborhood. She is 29 years old and married with two children in her care.

In order to improve her children’s living conditions, she sells jewelry and flip-flops. She gets her stocks at the Grand market of Lomé and has eight years of experience in this business. She conducts her sales from her home and at the Adidogomé market.”

The things that made this one ‘the one’:

1. She’s from Togo: Long before I ever dreamed about Africa, I kept pet snakes. My favourites were Ball Pythons. I knew that most wild-caught Ball Pythons came from Togo, which is a BAD practice that I don’t support, but it captured my imagination. As a kid in Canada, I couldn’t imagine anywhere where Ball Pythons actually lived in the wild. I’ve been obsessed with Togo ever since, and have supported it at every World Cup. And ‘Togo’ is a really fun word to say.

2. She’s a woman who is about my age. I can relate.

3. What I can’t relate to is that she’s worked very, very hard for 8 years and built up a successful business. She’s a seriously awesome girl.

4. The description hints that the two children she cares for may not be hers. They probably are her biological children, but I like the way it’s worded. People who foster, adopt and love, just rock my socks.

5. Her microfinance institution, ‘Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES)’, seems pretty solid in their mission. And their interest rate is just 20%, which is well below the Kiva average of 37%.

6. She sells jewelry. Anything that makes people feel beautiful, is uplifting and wonderful.

7. She has the loveliest smile.

8. She may be using the loan to buy jewelry for her business, but she also sells FLIP FLOPS!!! Need I say more?

So here she is, Essi from Togo, my new partner in flip-flop sales:

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