The thing with this do-gooding lark is it’s a difficult habit to break. Once you’ve committed to a life of meddling, Butterflying and getting stuck in there’s no backing down, no slacking off, no chance of respite or downtime. So although I’ve been on holiday for a couple of weeks and not actively Zeroing, my do-gooding hasn’t let up a bit.
First there was the incident of the misplaced stethoscope, found on a beach and returned to a nearby ambulance crew who curtly said it wasn’t theirs. Then there was the incident of the abusive bus passenger who demanded the driver’s details so he could make a complaint against him. I stepped forward to give the driver my contact details should he need a witness confirming the passenger was, in fact, a dick. Sure, he wasn’t particularly interested and, sure, neither of these examples actually helped anyone but at least I had a bash. There is, after all, a very fine line between someone who makes a difference and someone who is a small, petty, somewhat laughable, self-aggrandising buffoon. Just because I’m not the former doesn’t mean I can’t have a stab at being the latter.
And so it is I’ve been casually microfinancing the developing world from the comfort of Zero Towers. When last we spoke of Kiva I was chipping in for Rosaura Tuñoque Santisteban’s general store in Peru, the Santa Lucia Group’s clothing business in Nicaragua and the Village Bank Group’s vegetable plot in Cambodia. As they’ve now repaid their loans I can move my donation to a new group of microfinancees. Here we have Malikie Kanu from Sierra Leone looking to buy new stock for his food store; Felix Musyimi from Kenya looking to buy bales of shoes to resell; Luka Ngoti Hahunyu, also from Kenya, investing in vehicle parts for his repair business; and Rose from Rwanda looking to buy more stock for her egg, water and milk shop. Here we have a route out of poverty. Here we have capitalism doing some good instead of its usual crushing of workers, corrupting of souls and ruining of worlds. Hooray for all that and for me in particular.