Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tis the Season, I Guess

This is one of my least favorite times of the year. The constant Buy, Buy, Buy, Sale, Sale, Sale, barrage drives me nuts. I have been known to turn off the TV in mid program because I just can't stand the constantly repeating commercials for this product or that service.
It's not even the end of November & it's Christmas everywhere. There was even some Christmas advertising just before Hallowe'en, fer gawd sake. I just can't stand it some days. I don't bake. I don't decorate. And I sure don't buy a tree. What a waste of a perfectly good tree that could live for years to purify the air, increase the oxygen levels, hold down the soil & provide food & shelter for wildlife. Why not put up a fake tree??? They come with the lights attached nowadays, buy a fake & save a tree.

I am not a total curmudgeon all the time. I do knit for charity, contribute to the Food Bank, Salvation Army & Harbor Light. I drop off clothes & household goods to the Fireman's Thrift Store. And I make loans to Kiva all year long. While Charity begins at home, I believe in giving a Hand Up instead of a Hand Out to those who work hard to build a better life without the social benefits that we, in North America, enjoy. KIVA is in the business of making Mico-Loans to people who have little or no access to financial services. Loans can be as little as $50 to buy a sewing machine so a woman can start a dress-making business.

My personal favorite targets are single women & farmers. I currently have loans to a University student in the Gaza Strip, a young weaver in Paraguay, a group of 5 women in India, 3 older women in Africa, South America & the Philippines who run small General Stores out of their homes, a chicken/guinea pig farmer in Bolivia & a man in Tajikstan who needs to pay for his wife's operation. None of these people have access to banking or financial help without Kiva & the people like me who make small loans available.

I often think about people like the woman in Tajikstan who cannot get medical help until her husband finds $900, like the Rwandan farmer who struggles to feed her family without access to clean water, the Palestinian girl who can't go to school because her mother doesn't make enough money to pay the fees or the village women in India who desperately want toilets. How lucky I am to be old in Canada where we often take for granted all of the 'luxuries' we have that most of the world is still struggling to get. Now that's something to celebrate.

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