This is a guest post by Bob Kaplan, active lender on Kiva Zip and active member of Milepoint.
There is so much more to lending than just sharing our money. After years of lending on Kiva, I discovered Kiva Zip. I was excited by the possibilities of lending directly to people.
From the beginning I have always wanted to personalize the lending process. This makes it more meaningful for me. So, whenever I make a loan, I take time to look at the borrowers' picture and feel my heart connect with them. This moment of feeling my connection has always been very, very important to me. I wouldn't lend without it.
When I took a look at Kiva Zip last year, I noticed the possibility of direct communication between borrowers and myself. After I made some Zip loans, I read my borrowers' updates, made some replies, and started to see some new possibilities. In the U.S., I have seen borrowers inviting lenders to their shops and special events, borrowers and lenders sharing ideas and information, and I have seen collaboration among borrowers with similar businesses.
This past spring, I started to make a lot of Zip loans, especially to Kenyan borrowers. In April one of my Kenyan borrowers said:
"Thank you Mr BOB! May Almighty GOD bless you. I thank GOD for giving me a new friend from far away who is willing to help me. That loan will help me very much in preparing my garden and buying fertilizers. Thanks. Yours Charles."
Charles truly touched my heart, and we started a beautiful dialogue that has continued for many months now, even after his loan has been fully paid back. His kind words have given me so much inspiration.
I have now shared dialogue with many dozens of borrowers. We have shared prayers for each other, good wishes, kind words and more. Their gratitude for these small loans has reminded me, again and again, how fortunate I am that I can make these loans. I feel blessed to receive prayers from borrowers like Nashon: "You came as angels for me and i will always pray for your happiness."
So, now I feel that something magical is happening through these dialogues on Kiva Zip. As one trustee described it: "It's so amazing to find friendship and connect with people who believe in your business even without physical meeting." So, while borrowing and lending money on Kiva Zip is lifting up many businesses, I sense that we are creating a community that can and do share much more. Join the community by making a loan! Then converse with the borrower, other lenders, and the trustee by clicking on the Conversations tab.
Author Bio: Bob Kaplan lives near Asheville, NC. He has lent to friends' businesses at critical times and is an active member of Milepoint and other Kiva lending teams. He enjoys working with other people to help create a better world for all through prayer, lending and healing.