This is a guest post written by Chris Buccella, a dedicated volunteer who runs KivaStore to help share Kiva with the world.
What's geocaching you ask? Geocaching is a global treasure hunt! A “cache” is a hidden container, containing a logbook and perhaps some small “treasures” for the taking. There are over 2 million caches, hidden all over the world. Visit geocaching.com for more information, and to see how many caches are hidden near you.
Any one can take or contribute items to a cache, but one of the more interesting items are trackables. Custom-made coins are a common trackable item, and each has a special code to identify them. Like other things in a cache, trackables can be left or taken by finders. When a finder takes a trackable, they look look it up on geocaching.com. Each trackable has a page where the owner can record a goal (for example, “visit the Grand Canyon”) along with a message. The finder then records where they retrieved the trackable from, and also where they place the it once they find another cache… hopefully helping it move toward its goal.
KivaStore.org has been producing Kiva geocoins for the past several years, with great success! Not only are the Kiva geocoins able to be used on geocaching.com, but they also spread the word about Kiva in a very real and tactile way.
There are hundreds of Kiva geocoins in circulation, but here are just a few examples:
Here's one that started in Wisconcin and is currently in Hamburg, Germany. In the past 4 years, it's covered over 22,000 miles
Some lenders dedicate coins to borrowers that they funded. This coin is in honor of a Kiva borrower in El Salvador. The coin's goal? To visit El Salvador of course!
And some coins do a great job at spreading Kiva's message, in multiple languages. This coin has visited a half dozen countries in the past 3 years, and is still going strong.
Autumn (or Spring, for you Aussies) is a great time to be outdoors, which means it's a great time to try geocaching. It's free to register, and all you need is a GPS device, like a smartphone. If you're interested in leaving a trackable item, KivaStore offers the Kiva geocoin at $5 off when you buy 3.