there's a recession....economic hardtimes....poor economy....blah blah blah. i'm tired of hearing about it. i'm tired of thinking about it. and i'm tired of it constantly affecting everyone's thought processes. it's so narcissistic. what about everyone else? all we think about it ourselves. how selfish. so i propose we quit worrying about our own economy and start helping out someone else's. hey, what goes around comes around, right?
so joel stein writes a column for time magazine every week. if i could i would post a link to last weeks column, but it's just impossible, so i'll summarize it. there's this nonprofit website, kiva.org, where you can give small loans to third world entrepreneurs. so stein donates $25 to a baker in nicaragua. now for a normal person, this would pretty much be the end of the deal. but stein decides he has some suggestions for this baker to help his business. he calls kiva and has a volunteer go down to the 'little mango bakery' and translate for him via cellphone. stein suggests a name change for the bakery, to be named after stein himself and that freddy (the baker) should focus on cupcakes over empanadas. freddy is amazingly cooperative and accepts the name change but includes his own name. he even agrees to try selling cupcakes. freddy even suggests they try selling the cupcakes to the local grocery stores. stein also discovers that the cupcakes will be transported by bicycle because freddy can't afford a car. he has to pay for a new floor and roof for his bakery. so they get off the phone and this is where i think the story gets interesting. stein still isn't done. he has more ideas for his new baker friend. he calls a woman who co-owns a famous cupcake business in california. he tells her all about freddy's bakery and asks if she's thought about taking her business global. she tells him that in the future they would be excited about opening their cupcake stores worldwide, but that it's a more likely to happen in the very distant future seeing as they don't yet have six stores in the states. but this woman apparently decides to humor him, or is really just a kind soul. to quote stein, "so sprinkles (this woman's cupcake store) agreed to give Freddy y Joel's $750 and a strawberry-cupcake recipe in exchange for regular reports on sales of that cupcake as well as a list of our three best-selling flavors. We agreed not to open a Freddy y Joel's in California, and in return Sprinkles would stay out of our section of Managua".
now i admit that the tone of this article is humorous and many elements to this story could be fictional. but i think that the basic story is true. it is, after all, time magazine. freddy now has a lot more money for his business and all it cost joel was $25 and one phone call. anyway, i think that's pretty impressive. if you're interested in reading the actual article let me know and i'll send it to you. in the meantime, check out kiva.org, and see what you can do to reach out and help someone else's economy. you never know, you just might end up helping yourself too.