Bob Harris has written a number of excellent travel pieces for Boing Boing. He's also a Jeopardy champion (his book about his experience, Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy! is fantastic). I met Bob a couple of years ago at the International Trivia Championship in Las Vegas and found him to be warm, funny, and wickedly good at answering trivia questions. His new book is not about trivia or game shows, but about his passion for microloans and his travels around the world to meet the people he has loaned money to through Kiva.After the jump, an excerpt from his book, The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time.
Hired by ForbesTraveler.com to review some of the most luxurious accommodations on Earth, and then inspired by a chance encounter in Dubai with the impoverished workers whose backbreaking jobs create such opulence, Bob Harris had an epiphany: He would turn his own good fortune into an effort to make lives like theirs better. Bob found his way to Kiva.org, the leading portal through which individuals make microloans all over the world: for as little as $25-50, businesses are financed and people are uplifted. Astonishingly, the repayment rate was nearly 99%, so he re-loaned the money to others over and over again. After making hundreds of microloans online, Bob wanted to see the results first-hand, and in The International Bank of Bob he travels from Peru and Bosnia to Rwanda and Cambodia, introducing us to some of the most inspiring and enterprising people we've ever met, while illuminating day-to-day life-political and emotional-in much of the world that Americans never see.Read the rest