My first attendance to a loan disbursement was at Micro Start, one of Kiva’s field partners located in Gounghin, Ouagadougou. What started as a routine day turned out to be the most inspiring experience of my life. I was not quite sure what to expect as this was my first time attending a loan disbursement. When I stepped in the room, I gazed through and saw women sitting in groups of three or four murmuring and waiting to be called to the next available window while others are already cashing their loans.
I then promptly darted out to meet one of the first borrowers, named Aly outside the office. I did not get the chance to witness his loan disbursement but was humbled to see him (pictured below) excited to get the loan. Aly is married and has been selling shoes for over two years and was a new client to Kiva and MicroStart. He needed the money to expand his business and was thrilled and very appreciative and told me to tell Kiva “barka” meaning thank you in Mooré, one of the local languages.
Later, I was introduced to a group of four energetic and dynamic women. They are a long time Kiva and MicroStart clients and are in the retail business selling clothes and shoes. They could not stop talking of how gratified they are of Kiva and MicroStart. They shared with me that their businesses have grown beyond expectations and they have been able to use the proceeds to send their children to school. Their message to Kiva “we will keep praying for you guys so that God continues to bless you; you have been such a blessing to us and May God bless you in return.
At last, I had the opportunity to interview Mariam who is married and a mother of three children. A first time client but eager and thankful to Kiva and MicroStart for the opportunity. Her activity is selling clothes and her story was quite moving. Her business had been stalled because she had been incapacitated for a long period. I was very touched and inspired as Mariam recounted her painful experience of how she came so close to losing one of her limbs. Her resilience knows no boundaries. She stated that it all started in January 2014 when she travelled to Togo (a neighboring country) for her business. One day, she noticed that her right foot was swollen and sore; she did not worry right away but as the days went by, the foot became worse to the point she had to be hospitalized. She underwent many surgeries and was even told that her foot would be amputated.
But she did not give up and kept fighting and with her mother’s help, not before too long the foot started to heal. After a year of persistent determination to get well, here she was ready to walk again but was presented with an exorbitant hospital bill. This could have easily discouraged any other person but not Mariam. She was very excited to be able to walk again and was ready to rebuild her business and the loan would help her do just that. She was very grateful and thanked Kiva and MicroStart. Her plan was to pay the loan quickly and come back for another one as she rebuilds her business.