danieljohn (danieljohn) wrote,

Kiva blues: Palestinian in default

A while back I lent money to Azam Construction Supplies in Rafah El Sahabura, Gaza. You can call me an "international lender" - you can call yourself that for as little as $25 through Kiva.

I haven't really been following the news since Hamas got voted in, but I had heard enough to know things weren't rosy. I feel sorry for Azam, and not just because I may never get my money back. There's a risk to assume if you want to be an "international lender" :)

Azam's repayment difficulty makes his local political reality far more tangible. Although the economic side certainly is a big impact for the borrowers, for us lenders this is part of what's transformational: simply learning about another person's reality. Ideally, a peer-lending system could highlight good sources of information. Lenders could have a role helping people on the ground that are fighting all those things that make prosperity elusive such as corruption and red-tape. We might convince our governments to put pressure, and tie foreign aid to clean-up results.

Now I wonder how I would like to be treated if I were in his shoes. The longer this goes on, the harder it could be for him to repay. Should the remainder of his loan be forgiven if this lasts 6 months? A year? Is it necessary to wait, or is it already bad enough to be forgiven?
Tags: azam+construction+supplies, kiva, kiva.org, micro-credit, palestine, peer+lending

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