Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Before 30

Well, the cat's out of the bag now. For those readers who are not my family and close friends, I'll clue you in: I will turn 30 on January 8, 2012.

Until now, I have not given a whole lot of thought to this significant birthday. When it comes to contemplating my age, my most common emotions fall into the category of "I can't believe how long ago that was" realizations (as in: Nirvana's Nevermind came out TWENTY years ago?! It feels like just yesterday when I was wearing my Limited Too flannel shirts, otherwise known as my sixth-grade girl attempt at Seattle grunge cool).

What I realize now is that even though I do not feel terribly depressed or scared about turning 30 (so I think), my sheer disbelief about this birthday's imminent arrival must mean something. What, I'm not sure, and I don't care to ruminate too deeply about it. But I think that I cannot ignore my 30th much longer: I must do something to ring in this next decade with a bang.

Lots of people have tackled "30 Before 30" lists -- often a very random assortment of must-dos, from the mundane "paint all the trim in my house" to the self-improving "learn how to speak Zulu" to the daredevil "motorcycle across Vietnam. In the nude." I think such lists are great, but I think that I am a little late for this game. With only 46 days until my birthday, my "30 Before 30" list would be pretty boring. On second thought, I'm just going to chalk up this whole quit-my-job-and-move-to-Nepal thing as one big answer to such a list. Hah!

But I still think I should do something for my birthday. I have no real desire for things, much less a way to physically receive such gifts (assuming we are talking American retailers here and not Bhat-Bhateni supermarket down the street). For that matter, I also have no good place to put more things because we already have over 30 boxes of things sitting in storage (just ask my in-laws).

So instead of things, how about this: Kiva loans. To celebrate my 30th birthday, I am going to try to generate 30 new loans on www.kiva.org. I will make a loan, and Brian will make a loan, but that still leaves me with 28 loans to fund, and this is where you all come in. If for any reason you were considering getting me a gift for my birthday, I humbly request that you lend to a Kiva borrower instead. Or maybe I don't know you at all and you're thinking "why in the world would I get this blogger a birthday gift?" (fair enough), but maybe you feel inspired to fund a Kiva loan anyway -- then how about you do so in my honor? Or perhaps you are one of those Kiva superlenders with thousands of dollars constantly moving in and out of your portfolio, and instead of lending to your usual lending team, such as Women Who Lend to Shirtless Men, you decide to credit one or more of your loans to my lending team. In addition, once your loan is repaid (which happens 98.93% of the time), you can choose to keep the cash, rendering this gift effectively free (though I suspect you will find yourself wanting to relend as most Kiva lenders do).

What do you think? Can we do it? I think we can!

Here's how it works:

1. If you are a new Kiva user, set up an account. If you are an old hat at Kiva, log in.
2. Go to my lending team page, Claudine's 30 Loans Before Turning 30, and click "Join Team" to become a member.
3. Go to the Kiva loan page and select a borrower for your loan.
4. After adding your selected loan to your basket, you will see a drop-down menu called "Apply to Lending Team" on the left side of the screen. Select "Claudine's 30 Loans Before Turning 30."
5. Click "Continue" and check out.
6. If you are a social networker, share your loan on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you'll inspire a new Kiva lender.
7. After your loan is eventually repaid (did I mention Kiva has a repayment rate of almost 99%?), consider lending again. And again.

I kicked off this lending campaign with my own loan to Dionisio, a cacao and stevia farmer in Peru (where my brother-in-law is moving next month!). This loan was not only my first South America loan but also my first green loan. Happy birthday to me!

Thank you in advance for any Kiva loans that you make on my behalf. I, Kiva, and Kiva's hard-working entrepreneurs around the world appreciate your generosity.

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