Sunday, August 18, 2013

Something better than Frugality

I'm cross-blog posting about this both here and over at my other blog, The Army Collector.

Right now, I'm reading the book The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time  It's about a travel writer who gets involved with the microfinancing organization Kiva (which also happened to win a Nobel Peace Prize) after seeing the gross disparity of wealth and poverty around the world.  With $25 loans to individuals who are seeking to improve their lives and build local industry, it got me thinking about the fact that I can drop $60 on a copy of the new Star Wars RPG without difficulty, and what that means.

So here's what I decided to do.  I took the remainder of my hobby budget for this month and gathered my two children around the computer.  They each got to pick a single $25 loan to make to an individual.  Kiva loans have a very high rate of repayment, so I will actually get the money back within the next year or so.  After talking a bit with them about this and letting them look around at various individuals who were looking for loans, they each picked their person.

Christopher is a farmer in Kenya who is looking to add a dairy cow to his farm to increase his revenue stream.  Ruth Mery is wanting to build pens for her pigs that she raises to support her family.  Between the two loans and processing fees, I'm out $57, which again I'll probably get back.

So no more games or miniatures for the month, but two people are a little closer to having their lives better, not through charity but locally-organized loans.

I don't get a lot of traffic on this site, but I thought it might be a neat idea to see if others who maintain a gaming budget might be interested in dedicating a portion to Christopher or someone else on the Kiva website.  Since making my loan, Ruth got all the funding she needed, which is pretty exciting.

If you do so, let me know.  And thanks in advance for considering this.



  1. Imagine how many ten's of people could be helped this way if only one wargamer abstained from a single Fraudworld purchase?

    Somehow, their customers have convinced themselves that outlaying an exhorbitant amount of money (equivalent to most peoples weekly wage) on a few plastic minis is a good deal.

    I'm all in favour in redirecting some of our gaming money to help people better themselves.

    I hope your post encourages others to do so.


    1. Thanks. I noticed that there have been a couple of additional loans made towards the cow in the last hour or so, including one person who did so because of my blog post on the other blog. That's awesome.

    2. Oh, and "weekly"? The average annual income in Kenya is $1,445. That's only $28 a week.