Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Love

You know you’re in for a ride when the book you’re reading opens the second chapter with this quote: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you really think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

Wow. I’m equal parts inspired and intimidated. I can imagine using the above quote in one of the latter chapters when, as a reader, I’m totally fired up, believing I can do anything and ready to change the world. But, nope. This introduces us to the second chapter, which makes me wonder just where the author is going to take me. Good lord, woman, I’m already challenged by your intelligence, your vision and your confidence! Where to from here?

It’s taken from the book, The Blue Sweater, which I bought after wanting to find out more about how microfinancing businesses in developing countries appears to be more effective than charity in relieving poverty. It makes sense in the “give a woman a fish/teach a woman to fish” kind of way.

The book details the various experiences that lead the author, Jacqueline Novogratz, to form Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that identifies micro-businesses that not only help pull the entrepreneur from poverty but assists their community in a long term, sustainable way.

Currently she has just landed in Nairobi, where she will be working for a bank as an ambassador to African women, helping to create structures so that women with business ideas can get access to loans. Unfortunately, many of the African women she will be working alongside are annoyed that the position has been taken by a white woman, not an African woman, which is understandable. In conjunction, Novogratz has been given little idea as to what her job will actually involve, so she is mentally preparing to roll up her sleeves, work hard and, in doing so, hopefully win favour within the community.

I’m only at the start of her journey and Novogratz has already eclipsed anything far beyond what I’ve done or could imagine doing. Good thing I’m reading this while sipping tea and nibbling chocolate in between naps on a Sunday afternoon. I wouldn’t want to be taken completely out of my comfort zone after all!

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