Featured Volunteer: 1,000 loans and counting for Spanish translator Gail LeGrand

“I really enjoy my time with Kiva. I am honored and thrilled to be a volunteer because not everyone has this chance to help borrowers the way we do.”

City: Gurnee, Illinois

Language: Spanish

Team: Mil Puentes

Time with Kiva: One and a half years as a translator, five years as a lender!

Outstanding contributions to Kiva:
From the moment Gail started translating, her enthusiasm and excitement to volunteer for Kiva was her shining characteristic. She just surpassed a huge milestone, translating her 1000th loan back in November, 2012. Not only is she continually one of the top reviewers on her team, but she is also an avid lender to Kiva borrowers.

Here’s a short Q&A with this dedicated volunteer.

How did you find out about Kiva?
I heard about Kiva while reading Bill Clinton’s book, Giving. He mentioned what Kiva does and I thought to myself that I could afford $25 every once in a while. It was something I could do to make a small difference and I really like the community that surrounds Kiva and the idea that we’re all in this together.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?
I wanted to do more than just lend on Kiva. As a Kiva lender, you’re able to choose the people you want to support - the ones that tug on your heart strings. What I like about being a translator is that you never know whose profile you’ll be translating and you’re able to support people you might not have normally made a loan to. Translating also really helps with my reading skills, and I’m constantly learning new things.

What is your favorite partner or region?
I don’t really have any favorites. I like the variety of loans in the queue, and the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to get when you take an assignment. One loan can transport you to Chile, and the next will take you to Guatemala. Right now, I really enjoy lending in Latin America, although I love Asia, too.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.
I wanted to go to camp one summer as a kid, and my parents told me that they would chip in half of the cost if I could pay for the other half. My older sister, who always looked out for me, had the idea to lend me some money. We went to buy fabric and I made aprons to sell door to door in my neighborhood. Determined to go to camp, I sold them all, was able to buy more fabric for aprons, and paid my sister back. When I got the profile of a man who sold aprons and needed a loan to buy more fabric, I couldn’t believe it! It brought me back to my experience as a borrower selling aprons.

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
I love Guanajuato in Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Haiti and I would go back to the Galápagos Islands in an instant. I also love Papua New Guinea having lived and worked there for many years.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
When I lived in Papua New Guinea, I raced with an all-female sailing team. We really didn’t know what we were doing and would oftentimes take votes while on the boat to determine our course of action! As a joke, some of the team members from a boat we raced against put a big “L” on my mast, in the same way Papua New Guinea drivers would paste an “L” for learner on the back of a beginner driver’s car. We got better though, and even won some races. It was such a great place to learn because the waters there attracted some really good sailors who would always share their knowledge.

Interested in volunteering for Kiva? We’re always looking for volunteers with translation or editing skills, and we’ll soon be starting our search for Team Leader candidates to support up to 30 volunteer editors or translators. To find out more and get notifications on when our various applications will be opening, go to our Volunteer Opportunities page.

About the author

Katie Miura

Katie was born and raised in Hawaii, which explains her affinity for being outside whenever the sun peeks out in her foggy neighborhood, and for all things made with Spam. Her undergraduate studies in Japanese at the University of Hawaii took her to a rural town in northern Japan, where she taught English for two years. It was there that she had a chance to work with a disaster relief organization after the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, and met hundreds of international volunteers who inspired her to pursue a career in the non-profit field. She is excited to join the Review and Translation Program team and is looking forward to supporting the volunteer editors and translators who donate their time and skills to Kiva.