My Winter in Cambodia

Early each morning, one of the first sounds from the street below our apartment here in Photo tours and recyclers 031Phnom Pehn is a noisy squeak-squeak of a cornet, followed by the singing announcement “etchay, etchy”.  Down below us, the recyclers are already at work.

Photo tours and recyclers 037They collect everything from bottles, cardboard, paper to metal scraps from housewives and housemaids, who resell it by the kilogram.

The people of Cambodia work hard to earn a living; a familyPhoto tours and recyclers 033 working together collected and recycling can make from 7,000 to 10,000 riel in profits for a day’s work – about $2.50 in US currency. Enough, they say, to get by, and keep the family together. As the day goes by, and the heat starts to build – it’s a seemingly impossible job as they move through the streets pulling their cart behind them.

Travel Tip

World's Most Trusted Travel Advice

World’s Most Trusted Travel Advice

When I travel, I often rely on TripAdvisor to help me locate all my tourist needs – accommodations, eating, and sightseeing. I’ve been posting regularly to TripAdvisor, as much to help other travelers make good choices as to pay those have had provided me really great advice. Needless to say, I’ve been posting reviews for nearly a month now, all here in Cambodia. Usually, the emails I get from TripAdvsior let me know that my review was posted, or viewed, or questioned. But this week, they sent me something new….

…An Invitation to Join Kiva!

Kiva Microfunds (commonly known by its domain name, Kiva.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit

Loans that Change

Loans that Change

organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to people in developing countries through Kiva’s 142 partner microfinance institutions, which Kiva calls field partners. Kiva includes personal stories of each person who needs a loan because they want their lenders to connect with their entrepreneurs on a human level. Kiva itself does not collect any interest on the loans it facilitates. It is purely supported by grants, loans, and donations from its users, corporations, and national institutions. Kiva is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Giving Here At Home

404221_10151232774704183_1736352590_nI’d read about these new lending vehicles for several years, and as a lender myself, embraced the idea. But I had never taken the next step. Here was my opportunity. And Tripadvisor GAVE me $25 to get started, no strings attached –when I investigated I found that In March 2012, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s Co-Founder, lent Kiva $1 million. Kiva then allowed 40,000 people to lend $25 for “free.” It worked; the more I knew, the more I wanted to participate!

This time of year is traditionally a time of gift giving for many of us, and there are many fine opportunities in our own community. I’ve found Willamette Week’s list especially easy to navigate, allowing you to select your non-profit area of interest, and then clicking to chose.

Get to know this year’s incredible line-up of worthy nonprofits.

Select a category, then a nonprofit to learn more

I’m Excited about Joining Kiva!

As I looked through the list of possible borrowers, I selected Sokhern, a 50 year old mother

Recycler Sokhern - 50 year old mother of 5, from Battanbang

Recycler Sokhern – 50 year old mother of 5, from Battanbang

of 5, from Battanbang, who has been a recycler for two years. She would like a loan of $1,000. A loan of $1,000 helps Sokhern to buy garbage (recyclables) for resale and expand her business. So far, only 27% raised, with $725 to go.

Click Here to Donate

Stay Informed
To stay up-to-date on all the fun things to do in the Portland Metro Area, you can either follow me up and down the hills and dales of Southwest Portland, or you can check out my blog, Portland Currency. And remember to find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

This week, I’m coming back to my usual job as a real estate lending officer. 

Happy Holidays!

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