Thursday, October 9, 2014

Four New Kiva Borrowers

Ushindi Group


Ushindi Group - Uganda

I have gotten behind in listing the exciting new Kiva loans that have been partially funded by readers of this blog so here is the report.

In the last several months some of our previous loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world have been paid back. That plus affiliate profits earned through amazon.com have enabled me to lend to four additional borrowers.

Photographed above is the Ushindi Group of Uganda. They are a group of entrepreneurs who pool  resources together to help fund their various enterprises. One of its members is Mary-Anne. She sells used shoes and seeks the loan to expand her business so she can feed her daughter and send her to school. She is grateful for this opportunity to receive this loan despite lack of collateral.

Nadiegueton 2 Group


Nadiegueton Group


This is a group of farmers from Mali. They will use the loan to buy seeds and pay farm costs.


Basher Mosa Group


Basher Mosha Group - Yemen


One of the members, Aisha, sells women's clothing and accessories door to door. The loan will help Aisha increase her inventory.


Igball


Igball - Kosovo


Igball took out a prior loan from Kiva, which has been repaid, to purchase a cow for milk sales. That improved her living standards so she seeks this second loan to purchase another cow for the growth of her business.


Thanks to my readers for helping fund these microloans. You have made a difference in the lives of people in the developing world. To participate in future loans simply use access amazon.com through banners on this website for your purchases at no extra cost to you. One hundred percent of affiliate profits earned to this website get issued to Kiva loans. When those are repaid the money continues circulation  in new loans, making Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams sort of a mini micro-lending foundation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our Third Kiva Borrower: La Colmena Group of Ecuador


La Colmena Group

In April I received $20 in Amazon.com affiliate profits. Today I combined that with $3.67 repaid from some of our other Kiva borrowers and a dollar and change from my own bank account to issue our third loan. This one goes to La Colmena Group of Ecuador.

La Colmena is a cooperative of individuals who share business expenses for the benefit of the entire group. A portion of this loan will go to Bolivar.

Bolivar rents a house in a poor neighborhood in San Lorenzo where he lives with his wife and four year old daughter. His wife, who is 70% disabled, works as an office cleaner. Bolivar has worked as a bricklayer for years, but the work is unsteady. He plans to use this loan to acquire his own bricklaying tools, such as hammers, trials, and a mixer, so he can form his own bricklaying team to provide work for himself and others.

I chose these borrowers because of their excellent repayment history. When their loan is repaid it will be re-loaned to another hard working Kiva entrepreneur in the developing world.

Thank you for giving hard working teams, like La Colmena Group, who are often overlooked by traditional banking institutions for lack of collateral, these opportunities to thrive.

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To help fulfill future loans simply use our Amazon.com banners at no extra cost to you the next time you make a purchase. 100% of affiliate profits go to these Kiva loans.

To join our team page click here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Day Cannabidiol Oil Passed The Kentucky House

 photo celebrating.png
(Families Celebrating After Vote)


We're in The House chamber, forty of us with The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. They actually passed this thing, medical cannabis oil for children. In Kentucky! 98-0! I look around. Parents are elated, but somber too. A room full of people that finally get to exhale, but not completely. Never completely. Our kids' lives are about to get better, but they will never be great. One of them has a seizure on The House floor while a nearby legislator looks on, weeping. There will always be feeding tubes, wheelchairs. The infant sitting next to me will still have a life expectancy of two. My son will still have to make his way in a world that assaults his senses while his mother fights for her life. But we smile because we know it is a great day. Our children may one day have less seizures and some of them might even live longer now. For today that is enough.


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*This is the project I have been working on all winter has kept me from Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams. The week this passed we were asked to write a vignette in my writing workshop. I was still processing my emotions from the day and this came out as part two of what will eventually be a three part vignette.


Further Reading:


Path Cleared for Final Passage of Kentucky Cannabis Oil Bill - Wave 3 News

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet Flor Y Cielo: Our Third Reader Funded Kiva Borrower

Flor Y Cielo Group


My last two Amazon.com affiliate checks together yielded enough earnings to fund not one but TWO new Kiva borrowers. Thank you, readers, for supporting this project.


This time our loan was issued to Flor Y Cielo, a small community bank in Bolivia. Flor has eight members who run a variety of businesses like cattle rearing, farming, delivery driving, and store ownership. Hard working entrepreneurs in the developing world like Flor Y Cielo are unable to access traditional bank loans to expand their businesses due to lack of collateral. Kiva and crowd source donors such as yourselves make it possible for these families to lift themselves out of poverty.


To help fulfill Flor Y Cielo's loan you can join our team page and make a donation. To help fund future Kiva donors through Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams simply access amazon.com through the banner on the side bar of this website for your purchases at no extra cost to you.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Meet Hamid: Our Second Reader Funded Kiva Borrower



Hamid

A few years ago I had the dream of turning this blog into a mini micro-lending foundation to benefit low income entrepreneurs in the developing world through the non-profit organization Kiva. Since this blog does not receive a lot of traffic I wasn't sure how the project would go. And for the first year it didn't. But once I posted about how I cured my intractable insomnia with a light box and by wearing blue blocker glasses at night, information I found in medical databases, the project really took off. People started buying light boxes and blue blockers from my Amazon.com affiliate links on the page and shared the link with other insomniacs.



Then I noticed something else: people weren't only buying light boxes and blue blockers, but unrelated items. It appears some people are now people going out of the way to access Amazon for their routine purchases through banners on this page to help with the project, which is wonderful. The blog has been lately earning enough now to issue about three loans monthly. There is a few months' delay to when I receive payments, so the full amount of loans we will issue remains to be seen, but I can tell by my sales statistics that the number keeps growing. And remember, once each loan is re-paid those funds are issued to other borrowers in a continuous cycle. Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams has indeed become the mini foundation of my dreams. Thank you, readers. You are making a difference.



Now, about Hamid. He is a farmer from Tajikistan. Many of the countries served by Kiva to not have state funded public education, so if parents cannot come up with the resources the children can't go to school. Hamid still has one child to get through school, so he wants to cultivate a new plot of land to help cover education costs. He will use the funds to buy seedlings and mineral fertilizers.



To help fulfill the rest of Hamid's loan click here or join our Kiva team page here. You can also help by accessing Amazon.com for your purchases through the store banners on the sidebar of this website, at no extra cost to you. One hundred percent of affiliate profits earned by this website are donated to this cause. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Breast Cancer: How My Body Knew Before I Did



Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams was never meant to be about me. That's why I have a journal. I come here to transcend me. If I do share personal details it is as context to causes dear to my heart like environmentalism, health, Fair Trade, and micro-lending.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 3, 2014. I started searching the internet for stories from women like me. Women whose lives had been turned up-side-down by those two words. The realities these strangers endure make me feel less alone. I wanted to hear everything. What stage were their cancers? What were their symptoms? And OMG how did they get through it all? There is no replacement for hearing from those who have been through it, so I will share my story, too.

My body screamed warnings at me during the year leading up to my diagnosis. In retrospect I see just how stark they were. But I put them in the back of my mind at the time because they seemed so bizarre. I think you'll agree.

HOW MY BODY KNEW BEFORE I DID

 "It's time for you to get cancer."

During the summer of 2013, several times a week I'd wake in the middle of the night to the thought, "It's time for you to get cancer". I ignored this because it pissed me off. I thought my brain was just screwing with me, like a recurrent nightmare or something. I even mocked it. Like damn, I forgot I set up that cancer getting appointment - how inconvenient!

An Archetype From Beyond


A local woman named Cheryl died of cancer a few years ago. She was a friend of a friend. In the summer of 2013, about five months before receiving my breast cancer diagnosis, I could not stop thinking about Cheryl, which was strange since I didn't know her. It was almost like something about her was trying to break through my consciousness and get my attention. This went on for a while. I told our mutual friend this at church one day and we tried to figure out what it could mean. I'm not implying that the spirit of a stranger was trying give me a dire warning from beyond. I just think my body was using Cheryl as an archetype to warn me that I too had cancer, but I didn't pick up on it. Both my parents had cancer, but it is normal for me to think about them a lot. This had to be a person I had no reason whatsoever to think that intently about. I think that's why my psyche chose her.

My Life Kept Flashing Before Me
In the fall of 2013 my life started flashing before me. Every few hours I'd get flashes of memories from childhood that I'd completely forgotten, followed by stuff from my teen years, then something from adulthood. It was always poignant, different each time: like playing with a beloved toy, my first crush, seeing my husband for the first time, watching my son take his first steps. Though much got packed in these were over in a flash, until the next one. This had never happened to me before and it was jarring. I said to my husband, My God, it is like what they say happens when you're dying. It has not happened again since I was diagnosed. Again, I think my body was trying to get my attention.

The Lady Who Diagnosed Me With Breast Cancer In A Dream

When I did my annual appointment in November I was under no suspicion of breast cancer whatsoever. This was just a routine screening. In between having the scan and receiving the results I dreamed a woman in a lab coat said to me, "you have Stage 3 breast cancer". I woke up startled and her imagine was burned into my memory. I said that I would know this woman if I saw her on the street. Once I was diagnosed with (Stage 1) breast cancer I joined a local cancer support organization. I had to meet with a counselor to sign some papers. This woman walked over to me I thought I would pass out. It was the woman from my dream! She said she is a nurse and a breast cancer survivor herself. There's the white coat! During our appointment I was foggy and distracted, but I didn't say a word to her about any of it. What could I say? Nice to meet you, now get this....

Mine is Stage 1 but in the dream she said Stage 3. If the dream was right about my having cancer to begin with then why was it wrong about the stage? Is there something I don't know yet or is this a warning about the future? Or, perhaps it means nothing at all. Maybe it is all just one big coincidence? Who knows? Time will tell.

I Dreamt of Recurrence In The Other Breast

A few days after my diagnosis I dreamed someone put an x-ray of my chest on a screen. It contained the tumor on the right side, but another on the left. I just had an MRI and no tumor was detected on my left side, but the dream was suggested there was, or would be.

I'm a pretty data driven person, so I'd never make a major medical decision based just on a dream. But I'll be honest: given my history of precognitive dreams I was rattled. My first thought was that I needed to get a mastectomy. But since I do not have BRCA 1 or 2 my surgeon thought it unnecessary. He says the data shows no difference in survival rates between women who have mastectomy vs. those who do lumpectomy and radiation. He also said the statistical chances of getting cancer in the other breast is small. I began leaning toward radiation but the decision never felt good in my gut. And then...................

Last week I received additional markers on my tumor. I am Her2 3+, which gives me a better than average chance of getting breast cancer again. I wasn't surprised. In fact, I kept insisting to my husband that I was going to be Her 2 positive, but he no way since Triple Positive Breast Cancer is rare (My tumor was also estrogen and progesterone positive). I was right.

There are several rare mutations some breast cancer patients have that render them sensitive to radiation. If these patients receive radiation in one breast it increases their risk of developing breast cancer in the other one. I am being tested for these mutations to help me make my final decision on surgery vs. radiation, but I'm leaning toward mastectomy. (Update: I have no known cancer genes. I had a lumpectomy and radiation.)

In Retrospect

Given my history of pre-cognitive dreams you may wonder why I didn't move on this sooner.  I guess since the vast majority of my dreams are NOT precognitive it can be hard to separate normal nocturnal gibberish from actual warnings. And when the message is YOU HAVE CANCER you hope that's just fear based fodder for the gibberish bin so that's what you choose to believe. Yet, if I'd heeded my body's warnings and got checked when I first found the lump in September that could have meant not needing chemotherapy. But I'd had several lumps pop up over the last few years. I ran straight to my doctor and they ended up just cysts, so I assumed this would be too. I was wrong. The same thing happened to the late Elizabeth Edwards. So my message is this: no matter how many lumps you've had checked out that turned out to be cysts, never assume. Let the doctors tell you what it is and is not.
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