Beautiful Feet

I wanted to share a letter I wrote to the staff at Kiva on my last day of my internship (today!). It took me some time to get the thoughts out, but it felt necessary to make them public too. Now that I’m entering the world of unemployment again, it’s a reminder of why I gave up what I did to try to do what I want to do.

I’m definitely at a loss for words with this email.

As I mentioned in All Hands this morning, the last 5 months have been extremely influential. It has been a privilege to be part of a team that is filled with joy, passion, vision and… lots and lots of delicious sweets from the TOW (I kid you not, when I say I’ve gained so much, I also mean in the form of physical weight).

Yet the powerful impact each of you has on an individual – the individual mother who has been told she can’t financially back her own family, the individual immigrant who refuses to let limited English capability hold him back, the individual intern who’s trying to figure out her next professional footing – is widespread.

Isaiah 52:7 says in part, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…”

I realize that Kiva will see many interns come and go, and it’s easy to get lost in that shuffle, but I wanted you to know this: You are bringing such good news to our neighborhoods and the world. Thank you for climbing the mountains with me.

Stay in touch,

Innae

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A Tragedy that Reflects Back Hope

For all those who took the time to read Ki’s story (and comment online or to me directly!), thank you.

Leah Loves That Photography

Credit: Leah Loves That Photography

Toya didn’t flee from country to country. Her first language is English. Yet what this Pittsburgh woman made of her life is inspiring, incredible and illuminating. Even without meeting this woman face-to-face, her story drew me in. Take a look.

The humble brag about a humble brag that isn’t supposed to be a humble brag

This already got complicated.

The problem with humility is that when it becomes public, there is a very strong likelihood that it turns on itself. Humility in the limelight? Heaven forbid, that’s nonsensical! Oil and water, attention and humility. Hence, the long-winded title of this post.

Right, back to the post.

Zip team building

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My team at Kiva had an off-site team-building day last week. We stopped by a few businesses who have benefited from the 0%-interest loans that Kiva Zip and crowdsourcing provide. The day ended at Abbotts Lagoon in Point Reyes.

I have never been to Point Reyes. It was stunning. Also, this is not the humble brag.

In a team-building discussion, one of my managers paid me a very high compliment.

“She is so humble, when she has every right not to be.”

I heard this and felt two emotions:

1) Gratitude

2) Guilt

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I have a lot of experience. Well, a decent amount. I’ve worked for years in a unique field that requires communication, aptitude at learning and a tolerance for pressure and deadlines,

The last month, however, I have felt incompetent more than I would like to admit. I have been absent from many friends’ and family members’ lives because I felt like I was fighting to simply keep my head above water hour by hour. I have felt panic – sheer panic – multiple times since starting my internship at Kiva. I found myself constantly checking my email to ensure there wasn’t a task I had left undone, then realizing there was always something I could be working on.

While my manager meant his words as a compliment, he touched on something in my heart that I knew I had to articulate.

As someone who has “succeeded” in the worldly sense of the word throughout most of her life, these four weeks have humbled me. It wasn’t that I needed to be acknowledged for my display of humility. I needed to acknowledge my need for it.

While it is odd to share about one’s failings, I’m not the first to find this contrary belief the path to freedom.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Once I did, the panic subsided. The incompetence shaken off, bit by bit. Now I know: I am humble.

One More Airport

I haven’t been in New York City long, but I will admit the Big Apple has become quite satisfying. Sure, I’m still the person who takes candy from strangers on the subway and then spins like a ballerina to orient herself once on the surface. At the same time, there is a coffee shop I can call mine and I have successfully completed multiple loads of laundry at my local laundromat in my six weeks here.

 

 

In the middle of all this comfort, though… there’s another airport waiting to greet me.

Hint: It is one of the two that feels like home to me. Who remembers? Prizes if you know! And by prizes, I mean a shout-out and an enthusiastic high-five if you’re anywhere near San Francisco or NYC.

 

Oops, there it is.

 

It’s an unconventional decision, but I am going to take my next very large step over to the other side of the country as an intern with the non-profit Kiva.org. If you don’t know what they do, well, that’s why there’s a hyperlink for you to learn! So click and get to it!

 

All kidding aside, I have been intrigued and inspired by what this organization and what many other microfinance groups are doing to encourage entrepreneurism, and more importantly, empowerment. My interest in small business development grew throughout my reporting career as I witnessed and contributed to the growth of the downtown areas of Salisbury, Md. and Troy, N.Y.

We dressed like this every Friday night.

We dressed like this every Friday night. [Main St, Salisbury]

I am pretty sure all – and yes, all - my hard-earned dollars went to wine and cheese at the Confectionery.

I am pretty sure all – and yes, all – my hard-earned dollars went to wine and cheese at the Confectionery. [Troy]

 

 

As someone who often lacks courage, I admire the bold spirit of these visionaries and I only hope that I can help foster that among men and women in countries where aid can’t be found in the form of loans.

That’s where you and I come in.*

 

 

I am leaving for California in January for five months. That’s the charted territory for now. You’ll be learning more of the life that’s unmapped alongside me as we go. Well wishes are welcome. So are food, hugs and prayer.

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*Check Kiva.org again, please, if you don’t understand.