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Featuring a sampling of our personal favorites in our latest gallery...

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Vision and Verb KIVA Loans:

6/6/2012 -   Kalinisa, Kenesh Village, Kyrgyzstan 99% REPAID (currency exchange loss)

6/6/2012 -   Lama, Jordan LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/12/2012 - Mujeres de Xeconjom Group, Guatemala LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/12/2012 - Nuevo Horizonte Group, Mexico LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/18/2012 - Miriam, Negev, Israel LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/18/2012 - Noem, Ang Snoul, Cambodia  LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/20/2012 - Phally, Takeo Province, Cambodia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

7/10/2012 - Carmel, Cadiz, Philippines LOAN REPAID IN FULL 

8/4/2012 -   Julia, Boane, Maputo, Mozambique LOAN REPAID IN FULL

8/4/2012 -   Khishigjargal, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

8/11/2012 - Miladys Dayana, Barranquilla, Colombia
LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/23/2012 - Dugarmaa, Arhangai, Mongolia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/29/2012 - Divino Niño Jesus Group, Caaguazú, Paraguay LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/29/2012 - Armando, Tonala, Mexico   LOAN REPAID IN FULL

10/17/2012 - Doraliza, Ica, Peru LOAN REPAID IN FULL

10/27/2012 - Sola, Bilasuvar, Azerbaijan LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/27/2012 - Sergio, Huatusco, Mexico LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/28/2012 - Sophie, Yaoundé, Cameroon LOAN REPAID IN FULL

12/29/2012 - Paradi De Dolval Group, Trou-du-Nord, Haiti
LOAN REPAID IN FULL

12/29/2012 - Makieu Andrew's Group, Kenema, Sierra Leone LOAN REPAID IN FULL

12/30/2012 - Alia, Wihdat, Jordan

1/1/2013 -     Prudence 3 Group, Brazzaville, Congo LOAN REPAID IN FULL

1/8/2013 -    Marcia De Jesús, El Sauce, Nicaragua
LOAN REPAID IN FULL

1/21/2013 -  Caroline, Toluca Lake, United States

2/5/2013 -    Diana Cecilia, Huaraz, Peru 99% REPAID (currency exchange loss)

2/20/2013 -  Lorna, Poblacion 3, Clarin, Misamis Occidental, Phillipines LOAN REPAID IN FULL

2/20/2013 - Kwamboka, Nyamira, Kenya

3/15/2013 - Halima, Malindi, Kenya LOAN REPAID IN FULL

3/15/2013 - Mwanaisha, Malindi, Kenya LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/25/2013 - Leda Del Rosario, Managua, Nicaragu LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/25/2013 - Seda, Ujanis village, Syuniq region, Armenia
LOAN REPAID IN FULL

5/15/2013 - Vilma, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines LOAN REPAID IN FULL

5/19/2013 - Teimuraz, Kutaisi, Georgia LOAN REPAID IN FULL

6/20/2013 - Leonora, Bogo, Cebu, Philippines

6/20/2013 - Sherry, Knoxville TN, United States

6/28/2013 - Zahava, Kiryat Ono, Israel

6/28/2013 - Ilkin, Azerbaijan

7/25/2013 - Sine, Albania

7/25/2013 - Luzdina, Pucallpa, Peru

7/25/2013 - Wossidji Iv Group, Warinibougou, Mali LOAN REPAID IN FULL

9/5/2013 -  Norma Carolina, Managua, Nicaragua

9/2/2013 -  Nubia Teresa, Montería, Colombia

9/22/2013 - Salina, Kapsabet, Kenya

9/29/2013 - Purevsuren, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

9/29/2013 - Sambath, Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia LOAN REPAID IN FULL 

10/1/2013 - Rinat, Beit Shemesh, Israel

11/3/2013 - Asiya, Ibanda, Uganda

11/3/2013 - Nafisakham, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

11/13/2013 - Harriet, Bombo Road, Uganda LOAN REPAID IN FULL

11/13/2013 - Elizabeth, Naivasha, Kenya

11/14/2013 - Sonia Antonieta, La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras

11/26/2013 - Lidia, Cochabamba, Bolivia

12/11/2013 - Teresa Aracely, Osicala, El Salvador

1/4/2014 - Queren Yined, Bogota, Columbia

1/4/2014 - Jorge Carlos, Cochabamba, Bolivia

1/9/2014 - Esther, Sanniquellie, Liberia

1/19/2014 - Sarim, Siem Reap, Cambodia

1/20/2014 - Betty, Kampala, Uganda LOAN REPAID IN FULL

3/4/2014 - Hulkarkhon, Khujand, Tajikistan

3/4/2014 - Fenehas Jason, Hoima, Uganda

3/6/2014 - Maa Bastaren Group, MURIBAHAL, BALANGIR, ODISHA, India

4/10/2014 - Karine, Vanadzor, Armenia

4/10/2014 - Mona, Araara, Israel

4/10/2014 - Nermin, Kosova LOAN REPAID IN FULL

4/10/2014 - Juana Patricia, El Salvador

4/17/2014 - Mentari Group, CILACAP, Indonesia

4/17/2014 - Analiza, Segatic Daku Misamis Occidental, Philippines

4/17/2014 - Shahnoz, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

4/17/2014 - Susana Del Rosario - El Salvador

5/25/2014 - Violet, Kasse, Uganda

5/25/2014 - Alba Del Socorro, Somotillo, Nicaragua

7/13/2014 - Parbati Shg Group, Junagarh, Odisha, India

7/14/2014 - Trinity, Hurungwe, Zimbabwe

7/14/2014 - Madina Khaitsa, Nakaloke, Uganda

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana

7/18/2014 - Alicia Afua, Mallam, Accra, Ghana

 

 

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    « Fireweed | Main | My first photography exhibition »
    Sunday
    Jan242010

    In Which a Woman of a Certain Age Ponders 13



    She is almost 13 and I am only her aunt, and I watch her, clarinet in hand, school concert in front of me, she all in heels and that dress and I want to cry when her dad, my brother, tells me tomorrow night is her first dance. Dateless, he says, just with friends, he says, she's only 12, but she has friends, he says, who are already dating, and does it bother her, I ask, that no one has asked her, and no, he says, she says no, but he wonders if that is true, and I want to snatch her up and run away with her - somewhere safe, where her feelings will never be hurt, where she can just be herself and never ever change, especially not for boys, but I know she will, girls always do, even now, even now, and it is all I can do to stay and watch her, this beautiful, beautiful, smart, funny, talented girl. My heart hurts to even think about it, and I look away, seeing instead her first steps to me, and the time she smashed her finger, crying, trying to be brave, looking at me and saying please draw me a picture, something to make her happy, to distract her, how happy it made me that she understood this was the aunt who drew, and how she made me see that art could help heal even so small a thing as a hurt finger.  I see us walking the streets in spring, she holding tight to my hand, flowers from the trees littering the ground under our feet; I see her skipping down the hall at my photo studio, age 4 in a new Christmas dress – I am the the beautifullest, she sang.  And she was.

    And now we are here, all these years later, and boys are becoming important to this girl whose doctor proclaims her “scary” smart, this girl who began to read so young, who wins spelling bees and math contests and science fairs, this wild, crazy, fearless girl-becoming-woman, curls you can't buy spilling across her face and down her back, curls she once hated but no longer; at almost 13 she has made those curls her "signature".  Boys are not yet so important that she has put books aside, but there is lipstick already and suddenly shoes are important, though she once informed me she wasn’t interested in fashion, and her nails are always painted, her ears never without earrings, and the Easter basket I make for her every year suddenly seems unnecessary and silly to this aunt who has always been the Easter Bunny, spending hours removing store tags and re-wrapping candy and toys in handmade papers and tissue, removing all department store evidence, so that the magic of Easter was all her niece would know.

    She is almost there – 13 is waving at her from the other side of an open door and in only a few days she will walk through.  Into a room I can't enter.  Don’t go, I told her a bit ago, don’t go, I laughed, don’t be 13, and she laughed back at me, too late, her eyes said, too late.  So I say to her don’t change who you are. I don’t know how we get from 13 to women of a certain age, but I have been 13 and I know how much I would have preferred pretty to smart, how much more the boys liked those girls with ribbons in their hair and how, despite my efforts, I was never one of them.  Stay you, I say, keep making those funny movies you make, stay up late reading those books you’re not supposed to read and ace all your tests and find the boys who will love your brains and beauty.

    The fears are all mine, they are tangled with memories of my 13, with my hurts and heartbreaks, of pretending I wasn't the first in the class to finish a test, pretending I hadn't yet finished my homework or a book, never wanting to be too smart, and hating the game I felt forced to play, though not very well.  She is not me, she is more self-assured, full of spit and vinegar, not a shy bone in her body.  I saw her last week and she was climbing atop a brick mailbox, dancing a little dance, celebrating just being, and she laughed like a girl. 

    Not yet a woman.

    Reader Comments (32)

    your post is hearbreaking...just reading it makes my stomach knot just a tad. little girls have such little time left to them these days, they are mini-adults at 13, how can that be - i don't think i even looked at a boy until i was at least 17!! they are under pressure to be so much more; they watch what they eat, they try to be so skinny; its all about fashion and peer pressure and being in the 'in crowd'. no longer little girls. but your little girl, she sounds like a really cool chick, sounds like she has it all sussed - and with her auntie watching from the wings, i reckon she'll sail through it all :)

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereliza

    I was dreading my daughter reaching the all important 'big 1 3'. It came and it went... She's almost 15 now. I'm lucky that 13 didn't bring a need for boys, or for make-up, or for fancy clothes. I know I am just experiencing the delay, but I am also enjoying the delay. I agree that a little more time to be a young girl is a gift in society today. She seems to ignore peer pressure; she appears to float through her days feeling no time constraints. She lives for music and story writing.
    I'm still getting a hug as she wafts past me with her ear-plugs fixed in tight. Where there was a girly kiss I now get a cheek-tweak or my nose is pushed in.... She is growing and getting older but luckily for me it isn't too sudden. It's slow enough for me to see, to watch, to dwell on the changes...
    She has an aunt, your words remind me of her and I know how lucky that your 'almost 13 year old' niece is.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdaffy

    This simply brings tears to my eyes. I was that girl of 13..I was the mother of that same 13-year old girl..and as hard as it was being that girl..it was harder being her mother. Thing is - they're not us...and they can be smart and pretty and athletic and popular. This next generation-of-who-will-someday-be-women believe they can be everything and have it all. They believe in themselves.
    Beautiful..beautiful post!!!!

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie

    oh, phooey! you made me cry. she's amazing, and so are you. so are you.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

    Your words make teary too.

    It's so hard for me not to project my own joys and sorrows onto to my daughter who is now 22. I wish to spare her, but know deep down that it is her life and her experience as I frequently remind myself, who will she be if she doesn't find her own way...

    Sometimes, I think the expression, " Growing pains " is more appropriate for those who watch the children grow than for the children themselves.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Harper

    I had to come back and read this several times to take it all in. Kids today grow up so fast and are not children as long as we were.
    As Marcie says I was too that girl aged 13 and the mother of two girls aged 13. It was hard to not interfear too much to let them grow up making own decisions and learn from them. In hindsight I can say that they make me proud every day. I'm now in the middle of or twin boys "growing pains" and that's a totally different story :-)

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrida

    My daughter is 13 now...and I see her growing into a beautiful self-assured young lady. And she has the maturity and confidence that I never had at that age. It is a joy to watch. And like Frida, I will read this again.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPuna

    I didn't raise a daughter, but did teach middle school for the majority of my career and observed the laughter, tears, highs, and lows that twelve and thirteen year-olds experience.

    I adore your image. Such a fitting "portrait."

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

    as always your words ring so true in my ears, beautiful post and perfect photo.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

    i have seen an ability to be frank and honest with peers that we never had when we were young. my youngest is 20 and the oldest is 32, and i am envious of the relationships they have built with their friends and each other, baring their souls easily and receiving in turn a tremendous amount of unconditional support and love. however life is still full of ups and downs and i would not redo my teenage years for love or money!!

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermargie

    ohhhhh I've got teenage boys but I've got several nieces, one of which I had custody of and another which lived with me for about a year....its scary yet beautiful to watch them come to that pathway/door but once they go the way at which they really need to go (being true to thy self) its a deep sigh moment!

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJakki

    I raised two boys and they have their own set of worries, and it happens a bit later than it does for girls, but it's no picnic either. And the worry and fear is the same, well...maybe not quite the same, but it is there none-the-less. You just have to trust that they will make the right decisions and be there for them with open arms even if they don't. Love your portrait of your not yet a woman niece.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

    First of sll, the image is just wonderful, SKJ, straddling that thin line between innocence and experience. I bet your niece loves it!

    What I most latched on to was her brains! My preacher's-wife mother once desperately explained to me that if I could try not to be so smart, maybe I would get dates (I was already way past 13, I'm afraid). I remember stopping dead in my tracks and crying out increduously something like: "If that's what God is like, asking me to be someone different than who God made me, then I want nothing to do with God!"

    Your niece is so lucky to have you. I had no aunts or uncles who took me under their wings to help me grow up. Nor do I 'spect I did a very good job helping my own daughter get past 12 those many years ago (she's now 37). I would want you to be my aunt...and hers. The combination of your love and concern would make us fearless...and totally who we were meant to be. Needless to say, carry on!

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGinnie

    beautiful writing. I too could see myself as you at 13. I was carried along so easily with your writing and thoroughly enjoyed some of your turns of phrase. Looking forward to more.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Schuller

    as ever your heart sits on your sleeve for me to love. so poignant and full of nostalgic visions. your writing floats me above the mundane tasks of the moment and propels me into the world of feelings. you have my attention with the first sentence and then as each new image emerges from your words i travel wherever you want me to go. back even to 13 which is somewhere i am not happy to visit. emma is my "wish i could be her" memory. i hope for her all that you do and i believe it is possible that her smile will not falter in the same ways as mine or yours. i watch her with a hopeful heart.
    xo

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Laws

    Beautiful and touching.
    Yes, it is a melancholy experience as we watch our children grow up and spread their wings, and for sure, it leaves little holes in our hearts. But as a nurse, I have seen those who never get the opportunity to take part in all the things in which your niece is blessed to participate. As you watch your niece dance through the door of thirteen, wave with thankfulness and remember those who will never dance.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFarmergal

    a tender age for so many different reasons, even for those who may appear brave and strong...

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Shopped

    i am a daughter, a mother of a daughter. this brings me to tears. and i thank you. it's lovely.
    xo

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

    I can't remember 13. I can, but I don't want to. I want to be where I am now, where I am truly the best I've ever been. I know without 13 I couldn't have arrived here, but oh, this post, this post ... says everything I can't. I too am THE aunt. Yes, the aunt who was always there. My love for the nieces and nephews breaks my heart.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKath

    Oh my. I remember being 13 and all of the drama that came with it. Ugh. I managed to survive the 13th year with my daughter and my son, as well. Thank goodness they have no idea what's in store for them when it all begins. Thirteen sounds so fabulous until you live it!

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

    debi your writing touched my heart as it always does...love from a mother of 17 & 22

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterelk

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I have no children of my own but I do have nephews (who I love to bits). I can remember them when they were oh so small it seems like yesterday. Now they are 16 and 17.

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCherryPie

    Thank you all! Muchas gracias. Now I just need to figure out a birthday present for this almost 13 year old. It was so much easier when she was 4.

    xo
    Debi

    January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersmithkaichjones

    Lucky girl to have an aunt who cares so much.

    January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBo Mackison

    beautiful writing and a gorgeous picture. Love it

    January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPOBSB

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