Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2011 (Minneapolis, MN) with:

Kiva - Loans That Change Lives

25% of all job board revenue is donated to Kiva, an organization whose mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Check back to see where that money is going and what kind of good it is doing.


A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Loan from Kieran Ball on Vimeo.

Oct 4, 2012 - Empowering Women

I'm still haunted by the things I heard on the PBS documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I remember one woman was talking about the men in her community - about how, if they [the men] brought in all of the income, then they felt it was their right to beat their women. But, when the women started to become the bread-winners, then the men had no choice but to play it cool. Allowing women like Vivian to have their own financial freedom really turns the table. It make them first-class citizens. And that is a cause that the Lending Team it beyond excited to be a part of.

More about Vivian: Vivian, age 35, is a very experienced woman when it comes to business, as well as being happy and kind. She lives in a rental house with Anibal, who is employed and father of her 3 children, who she loves very much and are her motivation. Vivian's business is selling beauty products, which she buys via catalog and sells among her friends, family, and neighbors, who she attends to with much care, succeeding in making herself known. She undertakes her work in her own home, and also makes home deliveries to her customers. She's been doing this work for more than 2 years, selling clothing at the same time. She got started at the suggestion of her partner, but has done it on her own. She considers her business profitable enough given the good income it brings her, with which she is able to help her partner with household expenses. She enjoys socializing and making new friends as a way of widening her profit margin. Before starting this work, she had a lot of economic troubles, as the money that her husband makes isn't enough to cover household expenses. She plans to grow her business and set up a spacious store in her own house to sell her beauty products.

Oct 3, 2012 - Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide

Last night, PBS ran part 1 of a documentary titled, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. In it, Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn took us through Africa and Asia to cast light on the struggle and violence that women face around the world. Without a doubt, it was shocking. It was beyond shocking. One women spoke of how she used to be beaten by her husband's friends; and, when she ran away to her parent's house, they told her to go back - that, as the wife, it was her place to be beaten. Another woman talked about how men in her culture are not punished if they murder their wives.

The heartbreaking irony of this is that it seems that women hold the key to actually uplifting these communities. Time and time again, it is the women and the mothers who seek to improve living conditions and prepare the next generation for a life that holds love and education as focal points. As such, the Lending Team wants to make it a top priority to help women like Zulekha who, despite living in conditions neither you nor I could really understand, seeks to thrive and do right by her family.

More about Zulekha: Zulekha, 37, a divorced mother with one son, is a very responsible and hard-working lady who wants the best for her family. She has been selling clothes for four years in the municipal market of the city in which she lives where she is well known and has several steady customers. She seeks a loan to buy a larger volume of clothes, in different colors and sizes, and thereby attract new customers which would be very positive for Zulekha and her family. Her dream is to have a boutique in future.

Sep 21, 2012 - Business As Usual

Juan Jose seems to have things figured out. He loves his job, has a good family, and educates his children. And, he does it all with a smile. Now, he's just trying to take things to the next level. For the hard work and the commitment to improvement, the Lending Team is always happy to help out.

More about Juan Jose: Juan has been an electrician for over five years. He works every day from 8 am to 8pm traveling to wherever his clients need his services. He has no work-related problems. Juan is married and has two children who attend school. With the money from the loan he is going to buy electric tubing, cables, and adapters. One of his goals is to finish building his half-completed house; another is to continue working hard to support his family.

Sep 20, 2012 - Mood Elevation

I've been having a pretty tough couple of weeks. I have a massive deadline looming at work; and, I've been struggling to try and get over some technical hurdles. This has left me frustrated, distracted, and more than a little bit scared about the ever-approaching deadline. But then I saw Rodrigo. Not only does he remind me of the Columbian "Bob Hoskins" (am I right?!), his smile has infected my gloom and raised my spirits. Sometimes, all we need is the reassuring look of a stranger to help us remember that life is pretty good. And for this kindness, the Lending Team says Thanks!

More about Rodrigo: Rodrigo used his previous Kiva loan to buy foodstuffs in greater volume and sold them by the pound or in the amounts his customers needed. He did well with this investment because he rotated his working capital and increased sales volume; he also came out ahead because he was able to get volume buying discounts. He's now applying for a new Kiva loan that he'll use to buy cleaning supplies, rice, oil and soft-drinks. By doing so, he will once again provide better customer service and by buying in larger amounts will qualify for discounts. His message to Kiva lenders is the following: "Thank you very much for helping me to move my business forward to improve my living conditions. May God bless you."

Sep 12, 2012 - The Importance Of Education

This morning, I was listening to the Jason Calacanis Podcast, This Week In Startups, where he was talking about the broken state of the current educational system; specifically about the cost of higher education and the life-long debt that students enter into in order to pay for schooling. In my life, I have been extremely lucky to come from a family where my education was paid-for. I know how hard some people have it; people like Hilda Maria whose life-options are limited because she didn't have access to affordable schooling when she was younger. And, when I read that people like Hilda are trying desperately to provide education for their children, this is a cause that I want to get behind. And so, I am happy to say that the Lending Team is able to help!

More about Hilda Maria: Hilda is a single mother and is a domestic worker. With a lot of effort she has been improving her housing but still needs to work on parts of the house. Hilda continues to work as a domestic since she did not reach a high level of academic schooling. Due to the fact that her parents had few economic resources, when she married she depended on her husband’s economic support. He eventually passed away due to a heart attack, which required her to support her children, providing for their education and housing.

Aug 22, 2012 - Rise Before Dawn

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell quotes the Chinese proverb: "No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich." The book tears down the idea of inborn talent and demonstrates the huge role that Effort (and timing) plays in the path to success. There's no doubt in my mind that success requires a tremendous amount of work. And when I see people like Riziki, who can "rise before dawn" and do so with such a beautiful smile, I am supremely inspired! And for that inspiration - especially during the week I've been having - the Lending Team wants to say Thanks!

More about Riziki: Riziki is from the village of Amkeni, Msambweni, Kenya. She has a food stall business and she tells us that she's been in business for more than one year, so she has good knowledge of this business. She comments that she has an established good clientele and that it's the only food stall in the neighborhood. It's quite a sacrifice because she must rise at dawn to do her purchases so that she can lower her costs and be able to make higher profits. She defines herself as a very hardworking, tenacious woman who always strives to get ahead. Through her work, Riziki has managed to make some home improvements and provide her children with the necessary schooling.

Aug 14, 2012 - Wanting More For Your Children

All too often (at least in NYC) I see and hear people talk about their children in a way that makes me sad. Rather than wanting more for their children than they had, I hear parents question "Why" their children deserve anything better? After all, they suffered growing up, so why shouldn't their children? They had a hard life, so why shouldn't their children? To see this kind of damage being passed from one generation to another is truly heartbreaking. I wonder how this happens? Is it cultural? Social? Economic? I have no idea. All I know is that I remain hopeful when I see people like Maura. Here is a woman who probably has a lower quality of life than many Americans can even begin to understand; and yet, her hope is to fund her children's education and to own her own house. People like Maura embody the greatness of the human spirit. People like Maura inspire us. And for that, the Lending Team says thanks!

More about Maura: This is Maura, 48 years-old and a resident of Cavite, Philippines. She is married to Victor and the mother of seven children. Two of her children are working, one is in high school, and the rest are working with her in her food stall. She, together with her husband and children, manage their own household while operating the business. At this time, she is working hard to continually provide income for their everyday expenses. Her profits from the business will definitely help her to sustain her daily needs and the educational expenses of her children. She looks forward to this financial increase with gladness and thankfulness in her heart. Maura hopes to be able to expand her business soon, just as she hopes to support her children's schooling up to the college level, and to pay for her house in full.

Aug 3, 2012 - Leap Of Joy

When I saw Art's smile, I didn't even care what her story was - I instantly gave her a loan. I took a "leap of joy", taking it on faith that she was exactly the kind of person that I wanted to get involved with. I make it a point to deal with happy people; and, Art clearly has the kind of happiness you cannot fake. And, of course, the Lending Team is extremely pro-education; so, when I saw that Art had a long-term goal of sending her children to a good school, the decision to get involved felt natural.

More about Art: Art is 47 years old. She is widowed and blessed with three children in Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia. She has been selling fish for more than twenty years, earning approximately $7 daily. Due to the difficulty in her family's transportation, Art is requesting a loan of $1200 to purchase a motorbike for commuting. This purchase would enable her to use the saved money from her transportation expenses to support the family. In the future, she would like to expand her business and send her children to a good school.

Aug 3, 2012 - Thank Goodness It's Friday

It's been a long week; a stressful week. But when I saw Sosthene Jacqueline A.'s smile, I felt instantly better. Seeing her almost-ecstatic expression reminded me that there is so much in life to be thankful for; and that even with the tough weeks, life is good. For the inspiration alone, the Lending Team wants to help. And, when I saw that she is also working to provide education for her children, it was simply a no-brainer.

More about Sosthene Jacqueline A.: Sosthene Jacqueline is married and the mother of four children in school. The eldest is 17 years old and the youngest is five years old. Having specialized in the sale of 5kg sacks of rice, canned food, and other goods for years, Sosthene Jacqueline gets her supplies in one of the markets of the sub-region. Concerned with increasing her supply capacity and meeting customer demand, she has sought and obtained a loan from Finadev. With her savings, Sosthene Jacqueline wants to contribute to her children's education fees and to provide for her needs.

Jul 30, 2012 - Side Hustle

While listening to podcasts about business and Entrepreneurship, I've come across the phrase, "side hustle". A side hustle is a job or project that you start on the side (of your current job) in order to explore new business opportunities or to generate more income. When I hear about this kind of endeavor, I'm always impressed with the energy and the drive that people have to make change happen. That's why, when I saw that Ambar Isayanet was starting a side hustle in order to help prepare for her son's future, I wanted to get involved. She has reminded me that if you really want to make something happen, you can find the time and the will. And for that, the Lending Team says Thanks!

More about Ambar Isayanet: Ambar lives with her husband and son in a rental house. She has a business selling pupusas and also runs a small store. Her pupuseria is three months old but she has had her store for three years. Through these businesses, she supports herself and helps her husband cover their household expenses. More than anything, she wants her son to study and prepare himself for the future. She has been able to maintain her family's living conditions. In the future, she hopes to own her own home and to further expand her store.

Jul 18, 2012 - Ordinary People, Extraordinary Smiles

When I saw Roxana's smile, I was immediately hooked - how could you not be?! But, then I read her description and I was a little let down. I wanted to see something about a person struggling to get his or her dream off the ground - I wanted to see someone who needs a loan to take their lives to the next level. But Roxana appears to have a steady job and a stable life; she just wants to pay for some home improvements.

At first, I was definitely hesitant about giving her a loan. But, after thinking about it for a minute, I realized that I had gotten a bit too swept up in the romanticization of lending. Kiva is about empowering people to alleviate poverty. And, if this loan can help Roxana improve her living conditions, then that is on-mission. And, it is something that the Lending Team definitely wants to be part of.

More about Roxana: Member Roxana was born in the city of Cusco and is 41 years old. She has a common-law marriage by which she has three children. She works as an employee of a private company. At this time, Roxana requires a loan for personal use, in order to maintain her house and buy tiles.

Jul 16, 2012 - Living The Dream

When I was reading about Maximiliano Floresmilo, there was definitely something about his attitude and his outlook that resonated deeply within me. I think he looks at mechanics the way I look at programming; sure, it's a job, but mostly, it's a way of life. Like him, I knew what I wanted to do from a young age. And, like him, I'm trying my best to turn that passion into a life-long career. People like me and him are luck, in a sense - we know what we want to be doing. I understand and appreciate this outlook. And, to that end, the Lending Team is very happy to help out in any way it can.

More about Maximiliano Floresmilo: Maximiliano, 52, graduated as a mechanic. Since he was young he knew what he wanted to do in the future and this is why his parents supported him when he decided to study auto mechanics. He put much dedication into learning because he likes it and now it's his way of life. He has a large number of customers because everyone knows him from when he used to help his father. His children who he's teaching the occupation to are his main helpers at present. He works every day with no fixed schedule since what's most important for him is to complete the job.

Jul 13, 2012 - Happy Friday

When I read Clarisse's I appreciated that she is trying to support her family and put food on the table; , but her description doesn't really connect with me in any personal way. That said, it's Friday and her face was the first face that I saw when I went to the Kiva page. And it made me smile. And as far as I'm concerned, a smile is always worth repaying. For a good start to a good happy Friday, the Lending Team wants to say Thanks!

More about Clarisse: Clarisse is married and has two children, ages six and ten. She sells charcoal and has been selling charcoal for five months. With the loan, she wants to buy more charcoal for resale. The profits from the business will be used to provide food for the family.

Jul 3, 2012 - Icey Pops And Education

As always, the Lending Team is very much pro-education. So, when I read that Gonzalo De Jesus started his business for the express purpose of providing a good education for his children, I wanted to help out in any way that I could. Plus, look at that smile! Here's a man that can enjoy life because he knows that his choices are grounded in the pursuit of a mission.

More about Gonzalo De Jesus: Gonzalo is married with three children whom he has always wanted to give a good education. For this reason, around 17 years ago he decided to start his own business producing icypoles and in this way seek opportunities to improve his family's financial situation.... Further, he will be able to slowly improve the income security of his home and provide his family a good quality of life and better economic stability which will allow them to make progress.

Jun 21, 2012 - A Very Joyful Spirit

Everything about Nelly Esther makes the Lending Team eager to get involved. A great smile and a thumbs-up?! That's like the magical combination of peanut butter and chocolate - you simply can't go wrong! Nelly is definitely the kind of person that I want to be like. But, rather than try and reduce that down to a few words, I'd rather just point you to the information below - it will surely inspire you!

More about Nelly Esther: Nelly, 58, is a woman with a very joyful spirit and above all she tells us that although she may be 58, her spirit is that of a 20 year old because the years pass but joy and the zest for life should always be like that of a young person. Because of the limited economic resources of her parents, Nelly was only able to study through high school, but she would have liked to study nursing. She is always very kind and because of this she believes she does well in her business because her customers always leave happy and also because she is very honest and very creative in making the flower arrangements. She will keep working with the joy and desire that she is known for so that she can keep fighting to accomplish her greatest dream: To build a home with good materials and to have another stall from which to sell flowers.

Jun 1, 2012 - Respect For Our Elders

The translation on Norma Gregoria's Bio is a little "rough"; so, I'll read into it. What I like about Norma is that she is there for her mother - giving life to the woman who gave life to her. I think that's something that we tend to forget about; we focus on where we are and where we hope to be - and we forget about where we've come from. I think we could all learn a little something here about seeing life more holistically. And, for this reminder, the Lending Team wants to say thanks!

More about Norma Gregoria: She works as a primary school teacher, and has spent 3 years giving classes in a primary school in the same region. In terms of her immediate family, she doesn't have children and is single. This woman is requesting financing to buy pigs, corn, firewood, seasonings, potatoes, leaves and ties to strengthen in business with her mother, now that they jointly run this commercial business. It is a way to support her mother, as she has made her and given her the life that she has today.

Jun 1, 2012 - Keep The Momentum Going

This is Andres Tovar's second Kiva loan. And, from the looks of it, he's doing great (and having a good time making things happen). The Lending Team would like to help keep his momentum going! Keep on smiling - keep on rockin!

More about Andres Tovar: Andres has been able to sell many fast food products thanks to his previous Kiva loan with which he bought raw materials and supplies such as rice, oil, potatoes, cereals in large quantities. Currently he is applying for a new Kiva loan which he will use in two ways: on one hand he is going to make improvements to his facilities and needs construction materials, and on the other hand, he will buy raw materials and supplies expecting an increase in products. He can benefit from buying them with cash and in larger quantities than usual. He sends the following message to the Kiva backers: "I am very grateful for the financing of my project since you have given me the opportunity to increase my production and my income."

Jun 1, 2012 - Immense Charisma

Typically, when I provide "more information" about a particular person, I try to cut down on the information that feels irrelevant. As I was reading about Blanca Rubiela, however, I found very little to cut out. Every part of her Bio felt both relevant and inspiring - whether it's that she's known for her "immense charisma" or that she's hoping to be able to employ just one more person (with this Kiva loan). Blanca is exactly the kind of person that the Lending Team wants to get behind and support! She's helping to make the world a better place.

More about Blanca Rubiela: Blanca has a sewing workshop through which she can generate jobs and improve the quality of life for many people. Her business has contributed financially to her household income providing her husband and two children with a better life and economic opportunities to get ahead. In her workshop, Blanca is known for good quality products and this has helped to garner a large number of clients with large orders. A new client has asked her to add a new machine to her workshop so that she can make clothes that require special stitching. By moving ahead with the order, she can generate more income for her home and have the opportunity to employ one more person in the future - helping to improve other people's lives. Blanca is known for her immense charisma and it is this quality that has allowed her to get past adversity and provide her family with a better quality of life with access to education for her two children as well.

May 9, 2012 - The Things We Live For

Years ago, I saw an independent film titled Billy Elliot. In it, the child (Billy) of a British coal miner falls in love with ballet dancing. At first, his father is extremely disappointed. But, compelled by the love of his child and the reality of the family's eminent poverty, his father decides to break the coal miner's strike. This transformation culminates in one of the most emotionally charged scenes that I've seen (watch it on YouTube).

When confronted about the strike, the father exclaims, "It's for wee Billy - he may be a f'ing genius for all we know.... we're finished - what choice do we have. Let's give the boy a f'ing chance." I don't think you can make it through this scene dry-eyed.

I am always overwhelmed by the lengths that people are willing to go for those that they love the most. And, it is for this reason that the Lending Team wants to help out Cesar Tulio Gomez Arrieta. When he said that he is encouraged every day by the dream of seeing his children grow up to be successful, it just touched me deeply.

More about Cesar Tulio Gomez Arrieta: Cesar, age 45, lives in the southwest part of the city. He lives with his wife, a seamstress, and their three children between the ages of 8 and 15. Coming from Palmito, a town in the Sucre department, he arrived at the city of Barranquilla. He has lived in Barranquilla for 22 years, and he has been selling fast food for 10 years. He previously worked as a bricklayer. He takes very good advantage of having regular clientel because he sells minutes for cell phones right where he sells fast food. This puts new life in both businesses, which are located in his house. His goal for later on is to expand them by adapting his business site. He dreams of seeing his children become successful professionals. This encourages him every day.

May 1, 2012 - Getting Over A Case Of The Mondays

Life has been stressful for me lately. Between education and work and my new landlord pulling shady shenanigans, I've just felt very put upon. And yesterday, I was definitely having a bade case of the "Mondays". As I was flipping through Kiva, though, I came across Nelly Sayson and instantly smiled. Her apparent attitude picked me up and made me feel better. And for that, the Lending Team is wanting to say Thanks!

More about Nelly Sayson: Nelly is 53 years old and lives in Butuay, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. She is married and has four children. Nelly has a dressmaking business and earns approximately PHP 3,500 each month doing this type of work. She has a requested a loan of PHP 10,000 to purchase clothing materials for her dressmaking business. Nelly has been a member of PMPC for nine years. In the future, she hopes to expand her business.

Apr 27, 2012 - The Pompitous Of Love

Maurice was really in the right place at the right time. Granted, he has an awesome smile, which is typically a sufficient reason for the Lending Team to get involved - we love supporting people who take joy in life. But, his name is Maurice and I happen to have Joker (by the Steve Miller Band) stuck in my head:

Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
Cause I speak of the pompitous of love

Maurice, you've put me in a stellar mood; and I'm thrilled to be able to give back!

More about Maurice: This is 38-year-old Maurice. He is married and has four children aged 19, 9, 4 and 2 years. He has just started running his own mobile money transfer business. Maurice grew up with his uncle, who runs several businesses around Lusaka. He learned a lot about how to run a successful business from helping his uncle. He is excited that he has finally started running a business of his own. He says he gets immense satisfaction knowing that the money transfer services he provides make people's lives easier.

Apr 13, 2012 - An Inspirational Pattern Of Success

As I was reading about Arledis Castro Hernanadez, I couldn't help but feel that her story sounded familiar. How many people have I read about on Kiva that had nothing, started a business, and are now successful. It's really pretty awesome! It's a testimat to the old adage that Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. These people have a drive and a hustle that simply makes success happen. And for that, the Lending Team is honored to help out.

More about Arledis Castro Hernanadez: Forty-two year old Arledis lives with her husband and has four children, ages 12 to 24 years, whose wellbeing she wants to support as much as she can. This is why she has a business, with which she can earn income by selling perfume, creams, cosmetics. She opened it a year ago with very little capital, but in the interim she has gained many customers, continued to expand it, and gotten together other providers who give her catalogues or specialized directories, through which she can promote and sell her products. Her plan is to organize an infrastructure over time and to give it her all.

Apr 13, 2012 - The Beauty Of Pride

I am constantly blown away by people's entrepreneurial spirit. And, I am especially impressed by people like Maria Del Carmen Candelario Vera who (I perceive) live in a country that doesn't cater to it like my country does. And yet, here is a woman who was in a slump, so she decided to do something about it by starting her own business. And, just look at her smile - it's gorgeous. You can tell she has pride - pride in her work, pride in her ambition. That's the kind of attitude that the Lending Team can support wholeheartedly.

More about Maria Del Carmen Candelario Vera: Maria, 43, lives in Quevedo, Ecuador. She decided to open a store at home because her economic situation declined and that motivated her to start this business. She works very hard every day by herself. In future, she'd like to have a house of her own. She will use the loan to buy rice, oil, etc..

Apr 4, 2012 - Live Long And Smile

Clearly Alice Ngetich has a beautiful smile; but, what really gave me pause was the fact that she is 63 years old. Now, I know I'm not the best judge of age; but, from where I'm standing, she looks quite joyous and youthful. This made me think about a recent TED Talk that I watched: The Hidden Power of Smiling by Ron Gutman. In the talk, Gutman reveals that smiling is one of the best indicators of longevity. That is, you smile more, you live longer. A good number of years longer. Seeing people like Alice is a reminder that being happy and smiling is a critical part of life. And for that reminder, the Lending Team pays homage.

More about Alice Ngetich: Alice is 63 years old. She is blessed with three children and is a married lady. Her husband also contributes to the family income. Alice has been in the farming business for the past 40 years. She also sells cereals as a secondary business. She will use the loan to purchase seeds and farm inputs for her farm. The profits will be used to plant more crops and increase produce. Alice's dream is to buy another plot of land that is more fertile.

Mar 21, 2012 - Joy In The Face Of Adversity

From reading about Nubar Avagyan, it seems that this loan is really important for her family; not just as a means to augment an existing business, but as a way to ensure an acceptable quality of life. For that, the Lending Team is willing to help. But, to be honest, what really drew me to Nubar was her smile. Doesn't she just look joyous? And, when taken against the backdrop of a struggling business, you have to assume that this woman is strong and optimistic. Now, that's the kind of attitude I can really get behind!

More about Nubar Avagyan: Nubar is 55 years old. She lives in Artashat with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Nubar has been trading fruits and vegetables for 3 years. Nubar plans to increase her sales and get more income. For that, she needs to purchase more fruits and vegetables. This loan will give her the opportunity to implement her goal. Nubar also plans to use the loan to renovate her premise. With the additional income, Nubar will be able to enlarge her business premise and develop her business. The income generation is vital for Nubar's family's economic stability.

Mar 21, 2012 - The Phoenix Rises From The Ashes

When I was reading about Rolando Voltaire Zavala Zavala, the quote that really struck me was, "Out of the difficulties of unemployment, he decided to make cakes". There is something whimsical and, at the same time, deeply profound about this statement. I think of it as a testament to the human condition - to man's ability to rise above his circumstance - to transcend his limitations and find a way to succeed.

A few years ago, I attended a presentation by John Hope Bryant, author of Love Leadership: The New Way To Lead In A Fear-Based World. In his presentation, Bryant stressed that leadership is born from hardship. That success is precipitated by failure. I found this sentiment very moving. And, when I see this reflected in people like Rolando, it is definitely something that the Lending Team wants to support.

More about Rolando Voltaire Zavala Zavala: Santo is a man of 46 years with a lot of aspirations for the coming years for success with his cakes, small cakes, and appetizers. Out of the difficulties of unemployment, he decided to make cakes and distribute them to places that sell breakfast. He works with his wife and does not encounter difficulties. He and his wife have 3 children. His biggest dream is to expand his business and distribute to different stores and breakfast spots. In order to make the cakes, he wants the loan to purchase flour, leavening, and eggs.

Mar 21, 2012 - I Love Web Development

When I saw Erica, the first thing that I noticed was her smile. Clearly. But, then I realized that she was a fellow New Yorker and that she was also a fellow web developer / designer. This got me excited. Not only do I love to connect with people who share my love for Web Development and computer programming, I am also excited for an opportunity to lend to people in my native country. So far, the Lending Team has been giving donations primarily to people who live outside of the United States. This is nice change of pace.

More about Erica: Erica is the majority owner of a web development and marketing business based in her New York-based home. Her business offers many services for her clients, including custom social media design, email marketing design, customized WordPress themes, and web design. She also provides one-on-one tutorials and online workshops for her clients and groups who would like to learn to do design independently. The company was originally started by her husband, but was recently transferred to Erica, however, he is still involved in the business. Together they have over 21 years of experience in the industry.

Feb 27, 2012 - A Year And Growing

Over the weekend, I saw the Artist. If you haven't seen it yet, the movie portrays the struggle of a prideful man to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. As a computer programmer and user experience (UX) designer, there's something about this kind of story that strikes a very deep chord. Technology is changing at an incredibly face rate - a rate that only seems to increase in severity over time. When one stops to think about it, the idea of staying relevant in the face of increasing change can be nerve-racking and oppressive.

That's why hearing about people like Gustavo Guzman Herrera calms me down. Not only does his smile portray a familiar warmth, the fact that he started a new, successful business at the age of 56 lends promise to the idea that we can all stay relevant if only we put our best foot forward.

For this kind of inspirational guidance, the Lending Team is always happy to get involved.

More about Gustavo Guzman Herrera: Gustavo is 56, and the owner of a store, a bakery located in the municipality of Soledad that he started a year ago. His biggest customers are the schools, to which he supplies cafeteria products for the students. Also among his customers are grocery stores, and various other stores and companies. He also sells foodstuffs and groceries directly, and his main buyers are housewives.

Feb 22, 2012 - A Sure Thing

What drew me to Irene Maria Ramirez De Harnisch was her smile. Can you even look at her without feeling better about yourself? About life? Her smile takes over her face in a carefree, joyous way. This is exactly the kind of thing the Lending Team is looking for. Plus, this loan is a sure-thing. It's a loan to buy products that have already been pre-purchased. You can't beat that!

More about Irene Maria Ramirez De Harnisch: Irene Maria is currently seeking her second credikiva, with which she plans to respond to her clients orders for the school season. Her catalogue campaigns bring very good discounts on creams and perfumes, and she also has orders for multipurpose products and uniforms, which she will invest in with this loan. Irene Maria has managed to increase the number of customers, and as she wants to be timely in serving them she has requested a second loan. The products have been ordered, and her investment will be successful as it is based on existing orders. Additionally, she can take advantage of the special prices offered in her catalogues.

Feb 22, 2012 - The Future Is In Plastics

Libia Esther Burgos Ballesteros has kind of an amazing story - amazing in that I can hardly believe that it's true. She has made a good business out of selling plastic bags! I love when I hear about people who take an idea that seems small and make it into something tangible and successful. For that kind of tenacity, the Lending Team always wants to get involved.

Plus, just look at Libia's smile. Simply beautiful. I always want to support those that know how to be happy and joyous.

More about Libia Esther Burgos Ballesteros: Libia has three children whose ages range from 13 to 29. She owns a business selling plastic bags in all sizes, an activity she started when her children were little. She became unemployed and she was separated so she had to find alternative ways to generate household income. Initially she worked as an employee in a firm but when they closed it she took her savings from her severance pay and invested it into her plastic bag business. Since then, her development as an independent, autonomous woman has led to her children being educated and every day she plans to make it grow in search of better opportunities for success for all of her family.

Feb 22, 2012 - Joyous People

I took one look at Ivan De La Hoz Taborda and I knew the Lending Team would want to get involved. From his face, you can just tell that he is a joyous human being. The expression he has is not one that can be faked - it can only come from a daily appreciation of life. Plus, it doesn't hurt that this is his second loan from Kiva and that the previous loan was both helpful and paid back in full. In life, I think we get the most joy out of helping those that help themselves.

More about Ivan De La Hoz Taborda: Ivan is applying for a new Kiva loan, because with his previous loan he was able to increase his capital, buy in larger quantities, and sell everything he bought, including snacks, candy, water bottles, and cell phone plans and accessories. With this new Kiva loan, he will purchase more of the same. He is very pleased, because the local government is going to relocate his business in a new shopping center where he can display his products in an orderly way and add new products.

Feb 10, 2012 - A Solid Work Ethic And A Desire To Do Well

When I was reading about Erica Pedrozo Mercado's business, I was immediately struck by the phrase, "her work ethic and her desire to do well gave her new ideas." That's just awesome! As someone who has an unquenchable thirst to keep learning and to better my understanding of the world and my actions, there's something about this that I find truly inspirational! And just look at that smile - it beams with positive energy. For people who are driven to help themselves, the Lending Team is always willing to get in on the action!

More about Erica Pedrozo Mercado: 38-year-old Erica is a married woman who has three children aged between 5 and 16. She has a food business where she prepares and sells 'chicha' (a traditional corn-based drink), soda, juice, potatoes stuffed with meat and cheese, cheese fingers, and snacks in general. She started her business when she realized that her mother earned good money in the same business. At first she started out selling soup and pies but gradually her work ethic and her desire to do well gave her new ideas. Now she not only sells meals in small quantities but she also has a sales location with heated display cases and a chiller cabinet where she offers nice cold drinks. She has a lot of sales owing to the permanent warm climate of the Colombian Carribean coast.

Feb 10, 2012 - The Family Unit

When I was reading about Rustam and his clothing business, I was intrigued by the fact that he had three generations from his family working together. In today's world, or at least in the United States, this "family business" mentality feels very much like a fixture from the past. I hardly have a handle on what my grandfather even did for work, let alone have any desire to follow in his footsteps.

More importantly, however, Rustam has an awesome smile! And for that, the Lending Team is always willing to help! This is a pro-smile job board!

More about Rustam: Rustam is a young man, who is involved in selling women's clothing. He has been in this business for 18 years. His mother travels to Bishkek for the merchandise monthly. His wife is involved in selling women's fabrics at a clothing market. Rustam has one daughter and a son, both of whom attend the city's secondary school. His son, who is 16 years old, helps the father with unloading the merchandise during deliveries.

Feb 1, 2012 - Providing For Your Loved Ones

As I was going through the Kiva loan opportunities, what struck me about Sandro Javier Gomez Navarrete was his warm smile and the phrase, "so that he can offer the best to his wife and his 8 year old son." Too often, I hear about people whose behavior is befuddling - whose relationships are downright confusing. How can you be with her?! How can you let him treat you like that?! When you see someone who simply wants to provide the best for his loved ones, it can be a breadth of fresh air. For that - for love and for decency - the Lending Team wants to help out.

More about Sandro Javier Gomez Navarrete: Sandro is a man that constantly wants to improve so that he can offer the best to his wife and his 8 year old son. This man is a micro-businessman. He has a taxi, and he offers his service daily. Each day he meets new customers. He always assists them courteously with the aim that they have a good impression of him, and above all else that they feel safe in his vehicle.

Feb 1, 2012 - Game On

I spent my Freshman year in college playing - nay, mastering - Street Fighter vs. Marvel Super Heroes. My team combination of Japanese school girl, Sakura, and the Incredible Hulk was simply unstoppable! To this day, I'm convinced it's one of the best games ever created. I'm not a huge video game player; and, since college, I pretty much stopped playing. But, video games have a place in my heart; and, I know what a wonderful platform they are for interacting with other kids. I spent many hours forming close bonds with people over Street Fighter. That's why, when I saw that Amalfi Galera Ariza was making a business bring video game systems into her community, I was excited. For something like this, the Lending Team is more than happy to get involved. Game On!

More about Amalfi Galera Ariza: Amalfi, age 42, has a family that consists of her husband and two children (ages 22 and 15). She is the owner of a business that offers mobile phone calling services. In addition, she offers video game and movie video services. The idea for this business came to her quite spontaneously. Her husband enjoys playing video games, so she bought the gaming equipment and every afternoon the children gathered at her house to play. They began forming a line, so she started renting out the games. Over time, more of her neighbors began visiting, so she was able to save some money to invest. Today she has two video game consoles and three televisions.

Jan 25, 2012 - Beefcake!!!

That title may seem completely random; however, when I read that one of Erkingul's jobs was to "fatten-up" livestock, my immediate mental thought was that of, "Beefcake!!!" In all seriousness, though, you have to respect someone like Erkingul; as a widow, she has raised a family and works the land of 36,000 square meters. And, she does it with a smile that feels infectious! For that kind of attitude, the Lending Team is eager to help out!

More about Erkingul: Erkingul is 59 years old, a widow and raised three children. Erkingul is involved in fattening up and reselling livestock. Her business, started in 1991 with a sum of 18,000 som (KGS), today contains three dairy cows, one calf and one horse, and yields about 15,500 som (KGS) per month from sales of milk products. Erkingul also works on 3.6 hectares of land, where she grows potatoes.

Jan 25, 2012 - Thank You To Our Boys In Blue

Last night, I watched President Obama's State of the Union (SOTU) address. In it, he lauded our troops as a shining example of what can be accomplished when people come together - of what can be done when people put their differences aside and work as one machine driving towards a common goal. It was a rather rousing and inspired speech that left me, at times, misty eyed. Our troops, our police, our firefighters - they all serve to make our lives better. And it is in this context that I came across Timothy Morris, a veteran of the New Orleans police department. After 31 years of service, Tim needs a loan to help start a new business. For his dreams, his service (and, of course, his clearly awesome smile), the Lending Team is delighted to be able to contribute. With gratitude, we wish you luck!

More about Timothy Morris: Tim is a New Orleans police lieutenant about to retire from the force after 31 years. Six months ago, he bought a travel agency franchise to keep himself busy during retirement. He says, "I always wanted to do something that makes people happy and people are always happy when they go on vacation."

Jan 24, 2012 - A Good Day For Smiles

I don't have too much to say about Yuvinza Judith. She's got a good smile and today is just a good day for smiles! It sounds like she has a good business going and the Lending Team is more than happy to help her out!

More about Yuvinza Judith: She sells beauty supplies of a very well-known national brand to barber shops and beauty salons in the southern zone. She has a little five year old son and her husband works for a telephone company. She has a third activity also which is the sale of Bata brand shoes that she sells on credit. She's asking for the loan to buy merchandise because she takes advantage of the offers in the catalogues and buys in quantity to then resell obtaining better profits. She's a very hardworking person who feels very grateful for the opportunity she's getting.

Jan 24, 2012 - You Had Me At Thumbs-Up

As I've stated before, the Lending Team prefers to give loans to people with a good smile, which Robinson Muniz Orozco clearly has. But, you throw a little thumbs-up in there as well and it's a lock - you've got our support. I believe that people with a positive outlook are more likely to use the loan effectively to better their position. And, judging by the fact that this will be Robinson's 2nd loan, I think there's something to this theory.

More about Robinson Muniz Orozco: With his previous Kiva loan Robinson bought athletic footwear, toys in general and foodstuffs and he sold it all. Now, he's getting ready for his next Kiva loan because he wants to earn money again with this new investment so he will respond to customer orders for clothes and footwear that he'll buy with his new loan. His message to Kiva lenders is the following: "Thanks for trusting that I will put the money to good use and I will show my appreciation by paying you back punctually."

Jan 24, 2012 - Don't Let Life Bite You In The Face

It's hard to read this story and not enjoy it; here's this guy, Carlos Polo Acevedo, who gets bitten in the face by a donkey! Then, leverages the experience as a way to launch his own home-based business selling essential goods. This guy definitely has spirit; and, the kind of smile that brightens up the room. This is the kind of attitude that the Lending Team is super excited to support - the kind of attitude that say, "Go ahead, bite me in the face - it's not gonna keep me down!"

More about Carlos Polo Acevedo: Carlos is 54 years old. He is married, he lives in the town of Cartagena and has 4 children aged between 24 and 27 years of age. He is a retailer and he also owns a shop where he sells basic necessities such as snacks, canned food, sausages and so on. Thanks to this activity he has succeeded in providing for his family. He came up with his entrepreneurial many years ago, while he was engaged in selling fruits in a small stall located in the town's market and he suffered an accident: a donkey bit him in the face, and as he could not keep on working standing in the sun, he decided to sell basic necessities to his neighbors from his own house.

Jan 6, 2012 - Happy New Year!

This is the first Kiva donation that the Lending Team is making for 2012. As such, I thought the facial expression on Maria Bernarda Angel was quite fitting. She appears to be truly joyful! With the new year comes new hope and new inspiration - another year to make a difference in the world and to fulfill our dreams. Here's to happy new year and wonderful outlook on life!

More about Maria Bernarda Angel: Mrs. Maria Bernarda, at 51 years old, has been selling clothes for about three years. Mrs. Maria Bernarda works alone in her spare time. Mrs. Bernarda wishes to buy an assortment of clothing in order to expand her sales and thus improve her income and quality of life. Mrs. Maria Bernarda dreams of having her own special events hall since Mrs. Maria Bernarda cooks very well and with this, to be able financially to support her mother and sister, the people who live with her.

Dec 9, 2011 - Merry Christmas

I absolutely love the holiday season. The Christmas trees, the hot apple cider, the snow, the music, the gifts, the cheer. It's just a wonderful time of the year. So, when I saw that Nelly Del Carmen Vides Cervantes had a wonderful smile and was going to be selling Christmas ornaments in her business, it just filled me with good feelings. The Lending Team is a fan of Christmas and a fan of helping people improve their lives. Plus, you gotta admit, it sort of goes along with the spirit of the season!

More about Nelly Del Carmen Vides Cervantes: Currently, she is planning to invest [her load] in her business at Christmastime and New Year's, since she knows that at this time investment is usually very effective. This is why she is taking out a new Kiva loan, with which she will purchase children's and women's clothing, Christmas ornaments, and new minutes plans, so that her customers will have the opportunity to be closer to their families and will be able to wish them a "happy and prosperous 2012" through the telecommunications services Nelly offers.

Dec 9, 2011 - The Tireless Fighter

When it comes to the enormous number of lending opportunities, sometimes it's the little things that catch your attention. Of course, I'm always looking for people like Maria Isabel Restrepo Sanchez who have a great smile; but, this time, what really caught my eye was the fact that she referred to herself as the "tireless fighter." I like her spirit! And for that, for the little things that give people an edge, the Lending Team wants to get involved.

More about Maria Isabel Restrepo Sanchez: At 58 years of age Maria Isabel is a tireless fighter. She has run her own business for several years now selling all kinds of products such as clothes, perfumes, accessories, bags and many other things. She started selling by order and now keeps an inventory and a variety of products in her home. Maria dreams of having a very large store with an outreach and recognition in the entire city.

Dec 9, 2011 - Joyful

Can you even look at Teresita Belen without smiling? I can't. She just looks joyful. And, of course it doesn't hurt that she's wearing a New York tee shirt - my home town!

Smile aside, however, I like the fact that she runs a store for school supplies. The Lending Team is always pro-Education; and, while this isn't about education directly, it is about facilitated learning. And for that, we want to get involved.

More about Teresita Belen: This is Teresita, 54, a resident of Caloocan City, Philippines. Her husband is Fernando, a technician, and she is a mother to her two children. She, together with her husband and children, manages their own household while operating the business. Teresita operates a school supplies business. It is where one can buy school supplies, like pens, bond paper, "cartolina" and the like, without going to a bookstore. She gets the supplies at wholesale prices and sells them by the piece. She also operates a Xerox machine for copying services. Her store is located adjacent to her house. Her regular customers are students and the local community. Teresita hopes her business will grow in the coming years and dreams of being able to give her family a good future through all her hard work on her business.

Nov 28, 2011 - Critical Mass

When you read Kalikwa Mwaziro's loan bio, you can see that one of her biggest challenges is late-paying customers. As a business owner, I have also to deal with this friction. Luckily, I have never really been in a situation where a late payment would make or break my company. Thankfully, I've always had a bit of wiggle room that allows me patient. This kind of buffer - this critical mass - is important because it lets you operate without a pending sense of doom. And, it is with this kind of a clear head that you can think properly about your business and how to grow it.

I can relate to Kaliakwa's concerns. And, to her desire to grow her business. As such, the Lending Team is happy to get involved.

More about Kalikwa Mwaziro: Kalikwa is a married woman with two school going children. Her husband is a businessman who contributes to the family's basic needs. She owns a house with electricity and piped water. Her greatest monthly expense is food for her family. Kalikwa has operated a cosmetics shop for the past 5 years. Her potential clients are her neighbors. She faces a major challenge of customers not paying their debts in time. She dreams of expanding her business.

Nov 18, 2011 - That Justina, She's So Hot Right Now

If you can't place that quote, it's from the brilliant movie, Zoolander. I chose that quote because Zoolander is all about the world of fashion and Justina Isabel Jimenez Jimenez is in the cosmetology and beauty world. They seemed to go together in my mind. Who knows, she might have her own version of Blue Steel... I probably shouldn't even be talking about it.

As always, the Lending Team has a soft spot for anything that is related to education. Justina's goal is to be able to support her daughter's studies; that, combined with a wonderfully cheerful smile, and we had to get involved.

More about Justina Isabel Jimenez Jimenez: Justina, 63, is the owner of a beauty shop that everyone in her area knows. When she was about 37, she took a cosmetology course and began practicing first on friends and neighbors for free in her neighborhood. Little by little this became her life's project, and with her business she has become well-known by her customers. She specialized principally in hair cuts and this line of work made here popular. Now she does color, blow drying, hairdos, manicures, and especially pedicures. She also sells accessories and beauty products to her customers. Her goal is to continue increasing her working capital to expand the business so that she can support her daughters' university studies. This will give them success in life.

Oct 18, 2011 - The Power Of Smiling

Gaspard demonstrates the power of a good smile. From his Kiva loan request, I know pretty nothing about him. However, I feel like I don't really need to know all that much - his smile fills in the knowledge gaps. It's amazing what a good smile can do. Like the eyes, the smile can communicate a whole world of information. And, when a smile comes across as warm and genuine, it can be unbelievably powerful.

Gaspard definitely has a smile that the Lending Team believes in.

More about Gaspard: Gaspard is 28 years old and is single. He sells shoes. Gaspard has two years in this business and he works from 7am until 6pm every day. Gaspard has requested a loan from Kiva via Vision Finance Company, in order to purchase a variety of shoes for resale. With any profit, Gaspard would like to save money and reinvest in his business.

Oct 18, 2011 - Educating Your Children

When I was a kid, I was in remedial English. Then, I had to have a tudor because I was failing out of school. My parents worked very closely with me to make sure that I got my homework done and that I was prepared for my tests. To them [my parents] it was of critical importance that I got my life back on track.

Clearly, I grew up in an environment that was extremely nurturing. As such, I believe the concept of education - and the education of one's children especially - to be of a higher level importance. So, when I see that someone like Blanca Ermel Cortes Castro has tried to educate her children and aims to continue educating her youngest two, the Lending Team wants to get involved. If I can do anything to facilitate the kind of loving environment that I received as I child, then I will be making an important difference.

More about Blanca Ermel Cortes Castro: Blanca, age 43, lives in the rural village of Pena Blanca. She lives with her husband, Jose, and their five children. The children are 27, 25, 20, 18, and 14 years old. She has been selling women's clothes for 20 years. She has been able to pay part of the educational expenses for her children. Her husband also supports her through his work as a driver for an electrical power company. Her dream is to continue with the education of her two youngest children. She also dreams of, in the future, building her own place on the land where her house is.

Oct 18, 2011 - The Gift Of Loving

Despite the fact that Ablavi has a full-face smile that radiates joy, what really drew me to her was her children. She (and her family) have already given her children schooling; and now, she wants to continue her efforts in order to facilitate her children's personal fulfillment. As I've grown older and matured, I've learned to look at love as a gift that one gives more than a gift that one receives. This, to me, is one of the most satisfying aspects of life. And if Ablavi wants to continue giving that gift of love to her children, then the Lending Team wants to be part of that transaction of awesomeness.

More about Ablavi: Ablavi is 41 years old. She is married to a tailor. She has two children both of whom have had schooling. The eldest is 20 years old and the youngest is 18. Ablavi has been working as a retailer for the past 11 years. She sells to all persons who enter her shop. In the coming years, Ablavi would like to expand her business. She said that with her profits, she plans to ensure her children's personal fulfillment.

Oct 18, 2011 - Genuinely Friendly

When I look at Ramil Azizov, I get an immediate sense that he's a good guy. I think maybe it's in the eyes. His smile and demeanor come across as being completely genuine. I'd guess he's the kind of guy that you'd want to be friends with; the kind of guy that has a generally positive outlook on life and takes joy in the things that he does.

Sometimes, you just get a good feeling about people. And I have that good feeling about Ramil. As such, the Lending Team is more than happy to lend a helping hand.

More about Ramil Azizov: Ramil is 33 years old. He is married and has two children. He is a small-business entrepreneur who sells different kinds of foods as well as detergents, like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and washing powder, and many other foodstuffs in his store. Ramil is not alone in this business. His wife actively helps him with sales. His monthly profit is $160 USD and he is on the way to increasing it. His business is very successful because of a good location in the central Sabirabad bazaar.

Oct 18, 2011 - Outstanding Pose

The moment I saw Darwin Nain Cruz Ibarra, I had to lend him some money. I mean just look at that pose — that is a classic "Nadel" photo opportunity and level of enthusiasm! Clearly, we are kindred spirits. And, I'd hazard a guess that his outlook translates into a great work ethic. As such, the Lending Team definitely wants to get involved.

More about Darwin Nain Cruz Ibarra: Darwin is a hard-working 28-year old who has done his best to earn a living. He began his business two years ago. He provides taxi services and serves as a driver for specific people. He begins work at 7:00 a.m. and works until 12:00 p.m. His challenges are competition and the level of crime in the country. He applied for the loan for car maintenance. He will buy new tires and other items like rear-view mirrors and a radio. His dream is to finish building his home, and he aspires to have a good life.

Sep 22, 2011 - A Sweet Face

As you know, I've been selecting loans based on people's smiles. And, while Susana doesn't have a huge smile, there was something about her expression that I was immediately drawn to. I think, perhaps, it is a look of joy; like she knows something - like she knows that everything is going to be ok; that life is worthwhile; and that she is very appreciative of what things will come in the future.

Who knows - maybe I'm just reading into it. Maybe I'm just seeing in her face the things that I am feeling about my own life. Maybe I'm right on the money. In any case, Lending Team is happy to help out such that her business may thrive and that her children will have a better life ahead of them.

More about Susana: Susana is 52 years old, married, and has four children. She divides her time between her daily activities and her farming business. She also sells milk. She makes her sales between 6.00am and 7.00pm. Through this business, she gets her children ahead in life. Susana would like to expand her milk business and her farming business. She is requesting this loan to buy milk, and also seeds for her farmland.

Sep 9, 2011 - The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Some people blow my mind with their enthusiasm and their entrepreneurial spirit; Abel Petro Bravo started his own company when he was 17 and has kept it running successfully for the last seven years. And clearly, he looks happy doing it. This is quite awe inspiring. I think back to when I was 17 and, to be honest, work was one of the farthest things from my mind. I think Abel's work ethic is one that is certain worth back and for that, the Lending Team is glad to help.

More about Abel Petro Bravo: Abel, 24, sells motorcycle parts. He started the business seven years ago, but for two years he has been located in the Arboleda neighborhood in the town of Soledad in the department of Atlantico. He and a mechanic attend to the business, which also provides motorcycle maintenance service. The main products he sells are cables, gaskets, bearings, spark plugs, brake bands, etc.. Abel's dream for the future is to have his own place. In the meantime, he takes great pains working to be able to achieve this, and he manages a profit margin of no less than 14%, from which he is planning his growth.

Aug 25, 2011 - More Chickens For Everyone!

While I definitely prefer to lend to people with a good smile, I'm not gonna lie to you - I took one look at Fredy Alfonso Pimienta Cantillo and thought he was a ringer for the Columbian Tom Selleck. At that point, does it even matter what his story is? I mean, come on, who doesn't love Tom Selleck; the man has the best mustache... maybe ever.

And, maybe I'm just in a silly mood today, but I also liked the fact that Freddy wanted to buy chickens with his loan. But in all seriousness, Freddy is a hard worker whose dream is to improve the life of his family and the future of his children. And for that, the Lending Team is always happy to help.

More about Fredy Alfonso Pimienta Cantillo: Fredy is a 47-year-old married man who lives with his wife and two children, ages 16 and 20. He started working 20 years ago. His father was a wholesale fruit vendor and helped him start and develop his business venture. Fredy has been enthusiastic from the beginning and has worked independently all of his life.

Aug 12, 2011 - Taking Your Business To The Next Level

As a business owner, I can easily relate to the spot that Rafael Andres Solano Polo is in. He has a good business; and, he could be doing even better if he moved his office to a new location. So, he could make more money; but he needs to spend money to make that money. If you're a big business, this isn't such a problem. But, if you're a small business that makes ends meet, spending money to make money can be an absolutely terrifying, if not completely unfeasible idea.

I feel that same kind of friction when we think about hiring new developers. If we hired new developers, we could take on more work. But, what if we can't keep them busy? What if we can't pay them? If we hire people (especially away from other full-time jobs), we have a moral obligation to make sure that we're creating a sustainable relationship.

It's a strange cycle to be in - feeling like you could use a little bit of money to ensure that you could make more money. It's a frustrating chicken-and-egg problem. And, it's definitely something that the Lending Team wants to help with.

More about Rafael Andres Solano Polo: Rafael is a 23-year old young man who began his working career at various advertising agencies. Gaining a good market share, he managed to go off on his own and start his own advertising agency venture. He dedicates himself to creating corporate image campaigns, marketing, publicity campaigns, event planning, typography, graphic design, allocation of office supplies and general sales of publicity materials.

Jul 6, 2011 - The Hope And Dream Of Education

While Richard Chomba simply wants a loan to help purchase farm supplies, he says that his hope and dream is be able to concentrate on his children's education. I love to hear stuff like this. Too often, education is an afterthought. Even in a country like ours (the United States), the high school drop-out rate is so large, you almost think it's a joke.

The Lending Team believes strongly in the need for education. And if Richard Chomba thinks that as well, we are more than happy to help. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Richard Chomba has a great smile - one of my new loan criteria.

More about Richard Chomba: Richard is a businessman and is 46 years old. He is married to Purity who is a housewife. They are blessed with three children. He has been a farmer and a retail shopkeeper for the past thirteen years with the monthly income of about $220 which he uses to support his family members.

Jun 29, 2011 - Bigger Cows And Smiles

As I wrote previously, I've decided to use smiling as a key factor in deciding where to allocate the loans made by this job board. And for me, Dina Brigida Paquita Flores has the kind of smile that just says, "Hey - I'm happy to be alive." Plus, one of her jobs is "fattening cows," and conjuring that mental image definitely put a smile on my face. There's nothing wrong with a little quid pro quo when it comes to smiling, and so, the Lending Team is happy give Dina a helping hand.

More about Dina Brigida Paquita Flores: Dina is a member of the Virgen de Concepcion Bank in the Ayrumas Carumas village, Acora district, Puno province and department. She is 27 years old, in a common-law marriage, and has two children. She went to school up to the third year of high school. Her dream is to be a general handicrafts businesswoman.

Jun 9, 2011 - Laugh And The World Laughs With You

After my previous donation to Mary Eshun, I decided that I was going to start looking for people who have good smiles - for people who appear happy just to be alive. So many of the faces that I come across look beaten down. So, when I come across people like Mary Eshun and now, Mary Ansah, I am overcome with a belief that we're going to be tapping into a great potential.

The Lending Team wants to spread good fortune; and, I can't think of a more effective way of doing this than to harness the positive attitude of hard-working people.

More about Mary Ansah: Mary retails in frozen fish, meat, sausages, chicken and gizzards at Elmina. She has a child and has been in this business for 7 years. She wishes to increase the quantity of frozen items mentioned earlier and so needs a loan to be able to buy more frozen items for resale. She plans to add another refrigerator to the current one.

Jun 9, 2011 - A Beautiful Smile

When I saw Mary Eshun on the homepage of the Kiva site, I was instantly drawn to her smile. She just looks like someone who has a passion for life and for living it to its fullest. In my experience, you want to surround yourself with people like this. Their positive energy is contagious and ends up making you feel better just by proxy.

And, of course, I'm always happy when I hear that someone is saving up for education. All in all, Mary is definitely the kind of person that the Lending Team wants to support.

More about Mary Eshun: For the past three years Mary has been baking at Elmina. She is a single parent and has two children. She wants to increase the number of items she bakes for sale. She is requesting a loan to buy flour, sugar, essence, firewood and other items needed to bake bread, pies, and rock-buns. She hopes to use the profits from her business to save towards the university education of her children.

May 18, 2011 - A Better Quality Of Life

It says that Reiman Abarca Cascante wants to "achieve a better quality of life and provide his son with an education". Sometimes, I just get so excited when I read about people wanting to better their place in life. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people in this world who don't seem all that interested in such activities. And, when someone wants to put in the work to take it to the next level, well the Lending Team wants to lend a helping hand (no pun intended).

More about Reiman Abarca Cascante: Reiman Abarca Cascante is 26 years old, married, and lives with his wife and son who are his highest priorities. He plans to purchase supplies and fertilizers so that he can achieve a good crop and provide the most suitable conditions for planting. Reiman has adequate land and experience in producing a good crop.

May 17, 2011 - Education For The Win!

Adriana Mercedes is a teacher; and, I have a soft spot for teachers. Frankly, I have a thirst for information and I have a deep respect for the people who help to disseminate it. As someone who went to school for computer science, I am constantly finding myself with the desire to return to school and retake my classes. As much as I love independent learning, there's nothing quite like having a mentor present to answer questions.

I bring this all up just to say that the Lending Team is happy to support any kind of educational system. Education is the awesome.

More about Adriana Mercedes: Adriana Gurdian is a native of the municipality of El Sauce. She is the mother of 3 children, and she works as an elementary school teacher in a school in her area. She has been teaching children for more than 20 years. Adriana has her own home, which she is attempting to improve little by little for the benefit of her children.

May 4, 2011 - For The Kids

As someone who doesn't have kids, I can't quite explain why, but I have a soft spot in my heart for people who do things for the sake of their children. When I read that Munhbayar Luvsangiv said, "My wife and I are doing our best to provide better living conditions for our children," I just felt like I wanted to help.

Maybe it's because I grew up with such a fortunate childhood. I was raised in a loving, wonderful home and was certainly given every opportunity. So, perhaps then, I want others to have all the chances that I have had. In any case, the Lending Team wants to help.

More about Munhbayar Luvsangiv: Munhbayar is a 23-year-old man who lives with his wife and two daughters in Chingeltei district, Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. They live in a "ger", a Mongolian traditional nomadic housing tent, in his parents' backyard. His two daughters haven't reached school age, so they stay home with their nanny.

Apr 18, 2011 - The Beauty Of Women

A few months ago, I was having dinner with a friend of mine when she exclaimed, "Hold on, let me turn my phone off." She then proceeded to reach into her bra and pull out her phone. I was dumbfounded. "Where the heck did that just come from?" I asked amusingly perplexed. "My bra," she said matter-of-factly. "I store all kinds of stuff in there - phone, keys, gum, whatever."

I tell you all this only to paint the mental context that I had when I saw the picture of Vanessa with here bossom-bound phone purse. It just made me giggle with nostalgia over the good times once had with a friend.

But, in all seriousness, Vanessa is a widow with three kids. And, when she said that, "Her dreams are for her children to have a good education and to see them become good people," I was more than happy to know that the Lending Team could help.

More about Vanessa Elizabeth Macias Palacios: Vanessa is being presented here. She is 27 years old and her husband died three years ago. Since then, she has had to bear all of the expenses of her family and those of her three children (ages 12, 11, and 8). The oldest child is in high school while the remaining children are in elementary school.

Apr 13, 2011 - Education Is Critical

As far as I'm concerned, education is one of the most important things in life. And, I'm not just talking about schooling - I'm talking about everything including experience, independent learning, continuation education, reading, etc.. The human brain, like most materials, suffers more from disuse than from overuse; but, you have to start somewhere. That's why, when people like Lorenza need a loan to help put their children through school, the Lending Team wants to get involved. Education should be a right for all people.

More about Lorenza: Lorenza Cruz Martinez and her husband form a very close family that looks out for their children's well-being and quality lifestyle. This couple has three school-aged children and therefore are in need of a loan to buy school supplies and pay for tuition at the school where the children are enrolled this year. This will allow them to continue their education in order to have a career in the future.

Apr 6, 2011 - The Fruits Of Hard Work

In the book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell quotes the Chinese proverb: "No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich." I am sure that there are many who would disagree with such a statement; and, I have no doubt that you can find many examples that undermine this concept (think "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb). But, at the end of the day, I love the intent! We are masters of our own destiny - the world is our oyster - life helps those that help themselves.... and other such cliches.

Bromides aside, hard work is laudable. And, it pays off. Just look at Elizabeth who, even at the age of 22, is waking up before dawn in order to make sure that her store is one of the most popular stores in the area. This is the kind of work ethic that the Lending Team wants to get behind - this is the kind of work ethic that I want to be part of.

More about Elizabeth: Elizabeth, 22 years of age, is modest and hard working. She lives in her own house, and is disposed to work very hard to succeed in life. Elizabeth's store is one of the most frequented in Yanango. She opens very early in the morning, as she expects her neighbors to visit to buy the items they need. She is a good salesperson, happy and attentive, and always greets her customers with a smile and ready to assist them with their purchases.

Apr 1, 2011 - Think Globally, Act Locally

There are so many lending opportunities on Kiva that it's actually quite hard to decide who to choose. Up until now, everyone that the Lending Team has given to has been located abroad - places like Mongolia, Peru, and El Salvador. When we come from such a wonderful country, it's easy to forget to that there are people in need right in our backyard. That's why, when I saw that Silvia was located in the United States, I thought it would be a great change to think globally and act locally.

More about Silvia: Silvia has her own cosmetics store where she sells beauty/cosmetic products and also sells perfume. Her dream is to continue to expand her business to have a larger store where she can sell a greater variety of cosmetic products to women in her neighborhood. Silvia has 5 children, two of whom she is supporting on her own.

Apr 1, 2011 - From Work To Passion

Those of us in the world of computer programming and web development are incredibly lucky because we get to wake up every morning and follow our dreams; we get paid to do that which we love. Unfortunately, we are in the minority. Many people wake up every day to go to a job that is nothing more than a means to an end - a way to put food on the table and a roof overhead. That's why, when I read about someone like Marwan Salahat, who wants a loan so that he can invest in following his dreams, I say, "I want in on that party!" If you are one of the few who knows what makes you happy and you can do it for a living, then the Lending Team wants to help.

Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life. — Confucius

More about Marwan Salahat: Marwan is a young man from Bethlehem. He works in a bakery at $300 monthly salary. Marwan was always interested in music and putting together music for parties of friends and relatives, and he wants to become a professional DJ.

Apr 1, 2011 - From Nomadic Tent To Business Woman

When I read the posting for Munhdelger Dolgorsuren, I was intrigued that she lived in a tent. Apparently, a "ger" - more generally known as a Yurt - is a common type of portable tent used by the nomadic peoples of Mognolia. Of course, it's not a tent the way you or I might think of "tent"; if you Google-image search it, you'll see that they're actually quite robust shelters.

In any case, Munhdelger is a hard worker and is looking to acquire more goods to sell at her trading center stall. The Lending Team is happy to help!

More about Munhdelger Dolgorsuren: Munhdelger is 42 years old and lives with her husband and three children in a ger, a Mongolian traditional nomadic tent, in Arhangai province, Mongolia. Her husband is a herdsman and her three children, 13 to 17 years old, attend high school.

Mar 29, 2011 - Empowering The Female Workforce

I recently finished reading "A Strange Stirring" by Stephanie Coontz. It's a biography of the book (and times) of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. In it, Coontz describes the tremendous hurdles that women had to overcome in order to gain a sense of self and purpose. Unfortunately, even in 2011, remnants of those difficulties still exist. That's why I get filled with excitement when I read about people like Alexandra Elizabeth Guachala Lino who, even with three kids, still works outside the home.

Now, granted, Alexandra is working to provide a better life for her family; having a job probably has very little to do with how she identifies herself. But, at the end of the day, the Lending Team is happy to empower women who are seeking to empower themselves. Hopefully, one day, people like Alexandra can work out of choice, not out of necessity.

More about Alexandra Elizabeth Guachala Lino: We found Alexandra, 25, here. She's in a common law relationship and has three children who are 6, and 3 years old and an 11-month-old. The oldest is in school and her husband's a bricklayer. She is a great housewife who, besides taking care of her home and small children, also seeks ways to earn extra money to provide the best for her family. She sells clothes.

Mar 25, 2011 - Tenacious Spirit

I'm going to be completely honest with you - I picked this particular loan because Elsa was described as being a "tenacious" woman. I know that this might seem shallow but, Tenacious is one of my favorite words. Plus, I think it embodies an energy, a determination, and a thirst for all that life has to throw at you.

On a more serious note, however, this money will be going to help Elsa create an environment in which she will be able to pay for the education of her two children (which she is raising all by herself). I am huge proponent of education and often dream about going back to school to take night classes. As such, the Lending Team is happy to be able to lend a helping hand.

More about Elsa: Elsa, 58, is a tenacious woman. She was widowed 2 years ago, and ever since she has been the sole provider for her 2 minor children. She lives with them in the rural Carita settlement. She has been farming for 35 years; she started out farming with her husband. Despite being alone, she continues to work with a lot of effort.

Mar 24, 2011 - The Quality Of Living

Having a good living situation is probably one of the most crucial ingredients to a successful life; no matter how hard your day is - no matter what troubles you have - knowing that you have a place to come home to can make all the difference. It can fill you with a sense of pride and give you a sense of ownership over your own existence. That's why, when I hear about people like Edmundo Pacherre Montalban, who needs money to fix the deteriorated state of his family's housing - to raise the quality of his family's living situation - I want to get involved. The Lending Team has donated to Edmundo and wish him the best!

More about Edmundo Pacherre Montalban: Edmundo is 53 years old, married, and has two children. He lives in the city of Morropon in Piura, about four hours from Chiclayo, the capital of the Lambayeque region. For more than 12 years, he has earned his living as a field laborer. He is very responsible in his job duties. This work helps him meet his family's expenses.

Mar 11, 2011 - Healthcare And Hospitals

Health is so important; and, even in a country as awesome as ours, good healthcare can be hard to come by. That's why I get all excited when I read about people like Byambabaatar Suhbaatar who are making it possible for people in rural Mongolia to access drugs and medical professionals. Byambabaatar is looking for money to help expand his pharmacy and build a private hospital. And well, the Lending Team is one hundred percent behind that idea!

More about Byambabaatar: Byambabaatar, 49, is married and lives with his wife and four children in Uvs, Mongolia. They live in a ger, a Mongolian nomadic housing tent, on the outskirts of town. His two older children attend college while the younger two attend a local secondary school. He and his wife are both doctors who operate a pharmacy in addition to their regular jobs. Their business is very helpful for the ger-district residents who live far from downtown.

Dec 06, 2010 - Grow Your Business, Better Your Situation

When you run your own business, it can be very hard to better your situation when you are constantly trying to make ends meet. Even if you have a great idea - a way to really improve the quality of your life - it can feel like you never have time to tend to it; all your energy and resources go into simply maintaining the status quo. Today, the Lending Team is giving money to Rosalina such that she can buy the oven that will help her and her mother take their business to the next level.

As described in her bio, "Rosalina is very hard-working young person. She makes desserts such as jellies (jell-o), flans and yogurt cakes. She has been doing this for two and a half years. Rosalina has three children, two of whom are school age. She lives with her husband and children in Villa Litoral district which is thirty minutes from the city center."

Nov 04, 2010 - How We Are Raised Is Crucial To Our Success

Right now, I am in between books, so I've been re-reading parts of Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers. In this book, Gladwell demonstrates the high correlation between involved parenting and a successful life. That is, the more involved a parent is in his/her child's life, the more likely that child is to go on to be successful. As such, when I read about people like Elba Zeledon, who want a loan to help provide for her children, I can't help but think that this is a woman who is making a huge difference in people's lives.

As described in her bio, "Elba is a woman who has fought so that her children lack nothing even though she gets no support from the children's father." Her dream is to, "...provide the best for her children and to prepare them professionally." This is kind of upbringing that I was lucky enough to have; and if this is the kind of life Elba wants to provide for her children, then the Lending Team wants to support it!

Oct 09, 2010 - Steve Keator Helps House Those Seeking A Brigher Future

Last month, I launched - a demo site that show-cased the integration of ColdFusion, Twitter, Twilio, and oAuth. To help prepare for the demo, I asked fellow programmers to test the site for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. Steve Keator, ColdFusion developer and wonderful human being, won the gift certificate. However, instead of getting a gift certificate, Steve asked that I use the $50 to place a Kiva loan on behalf of the Lending Team.

And so, it is as a proud member of the generous ColdFusion community that I am donating $50 to Zeyla Rosa Orozco of Chontales, Nicaragua. She is applying for her third loan with the goal of improving her living conditions. She already has some of the materials (quarry stone and sand), and with the loan she will be able to complete the purchase of cement, iron, zinc, as well as the labor to finish the construction. Her greatest dream is "to be able to offer her children a worthy home and, in addition, that they study and become respectable adults."

Aug 13, 2010 - The Mouth Is The Gateway To The Body

We all hate to go to the dentist; there's simply nothing enjoyable about someone scraping our gums, drilling next to our nerves, and trying to carry on a conversation with a mouth full of cotton. But the fact is, the mouth is the gateway to the human body and a major factor in one's long-term health. Not only does the mouth hold influence over important areas like the digestive track, circulatory system, and the brain, there is mounting scientific evidence that many diseases of the heart are caused by bacterial infections originating in the mouth.

A healthy oral cavity is crucial to early human development and life-long nutrition. As such, I am happy that the ColdFusion job board can donate to Shakhin Guliyev - a dentist in the Fuzuli region of Azerbaijan. With this money, Shakhin will be able to buy new equipment for his practice, enabling him to provide the best service possible for his community.

Jul 26, 2010 - The Job Board Makes Its First Kiva Donation

Today is a very exciting day - I made my first donation to Kiva on behalf of the ColdFusion Job Board. Picking a cause, to which I wanted to lend, proved difficult; my first instinct was to give to education since I love learning and firmly believe that it is crucial to one's own betterment. Unfortunately, there were no education-related projects available.

My second instinct is to give to health-related projects. If you've followed my Project HUGE series, you know how much I love fitness; but, more important than heavy squatting and dead lifting, people like Ricardo Julian Fuentes Jarquin (featured to the right) are helping to provide important health services to those in his local community.

I have also created a Lending Team in case anyone in the community would like to join up with us on our efforts.

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