Flipping through a magazine yesterday, I saw an idea for spreading around a little extra cash: through these people, Kiva.org, you can invest a small amount of money directly to someone in need of a bit of capital to help their small business - be it sewing clothes, milking cows or growing bananas. What is only a small amount of money in Australia, as little as $25, can mean a lot to someone in one of the poorer countries of the world.
I just wanted to let you know about it. I'm not trying to be preachy. One of my least favourite sensations is the mix of 10% guilt / 90% irritability I feel when I encounter advertising which tries to guilt-trip me into donating money. It's not that I don't think those poor little kids with the big swollen bellies deserve help - I just don't want to be made to feel bad about it. I hate those depressing voice-overs and the mournful music they play while they describe the worst cases of poverty. I don't want to be rung up during my dinner - how do they even know what time we're going to eat? - and I always look away from those sad round eyes peering out from my Saturday paper. I used to think I must be naturally misanthropic, but what I have found is that when left to my own devices I do feel compelled to help other people. I want to be inspired, not guilt-tripped, into helping. I find it's much easier to do it in my own time.
Around this end of the year I usually like to make a small donation on behalf of Hayden and myself, especially when I feel like we've been lucky, or when I'm grateful that someone has taken a chance on one of us - and that has happened quite a bit this year. It feels like the right thing to do, to pass that chance on to someone else.