I work freelance, which means most of my payments are made online. I currently work on GAF and Elance. GAF only releases money on Mondays or Tuesdays. What happens is I issue a withdrawal request latest Sunday night, and the funds are released on the next Monday or Tuesday. Requests issued midweek are pushed to the next Monday/Tuesday.

Since my Freelancer Debit card is still in transit, I can only access my funds through Moneybookers. When the card gets here, I’ll be able to withdraw funds straight from the ATM, though it’ll still be Mondays and Tuesdays, and I’m not sure there’s a Mastercard ATM in my neighbourhood.

Once the money gets into my Moneybookers account on Monday or Tuesday, I withdraw it to my Kenyan bank account by wire transfer. That takes another four to five days.

So this week with bills due and schools opening, I need some money, and all of mine is stuck on GAF, Elance, and wire transfers. I won’t be liquid until next Monday. Solution, soft loans.

I called three or four close friends asking for money repayable next Monday, and the answers I got were pretty interesting. One had money, but was holding it for someone else. Why? Well, it was borrowed money, and was due to be paid back – it just hadn’t been collected yet.

Okay. The collector was close to me as well, so I called him and asked if I  could divert part of the repayment. He explained that he needed it immediately, so that he could repay a soft loan.

So here’s the scenario. I go to person A for a loan. He can’t help, because he has money borrowed form Person B. Person B can’t help either, because he needs the money to repay a loan from Person C. And on and on and on.

I call these people my soft loan circle, so I know those weren’t avoidance tactics. We have a bit of a merry-go-round, except that instead of circulating deposits, we circulate withdrawals. We routinely borrow from one another, and the trust is maintained, because we always pay back.

What amused me in this whole scenario is that everyone seems to be borrowing. From each other. We all have solid incomes, but somehow it never quite stretches. So I may end up borrowing from this person, lending that other person, then using the money repaid from my lending … to repay my borrowing. It’s really quite puzzling.

Before I moved back to Kenya, I was warned that life here is really hard. They were sure life ‘out there’ was better, so they told me to stay away. I responded that the people here were surviving, so I would too. And somehow, I do survive, and I’m happy. But I’m really amused with our culture of cyclic borrowing.

Survival Skill Number One: find at least five people you can call for emergency loans. And whatever else you do, make sure you always pay them back; the plan doesn’t work if the cycle is broken.

♫ Pardon me ♫ Incubus ♫

375 thoughts on “Soft loans and hard lives

  1. Hi there. I discovered your web site by way of Google even as searching for a comparable topic, your site got here up. It appears to be great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  2. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is really frustrating. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  3. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  4. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is really irritating. A good blog with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web-site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  5. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good website with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  6. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is actually irritating. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  7. Hi there. I found your site by the use of Google whilst looking for a similar subject, your web site came up. It looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  8. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours these days, yet I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is lovely worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the internet will be much more helpful than ever before.

  9. Hey there. I found your blog by means of Google even as searching for a related topic, your web site came up. It appears to be great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  10. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is really frustrating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  11. Awesome write-up. I am a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a frequent visitor for a long time.

  12. Hi there. I found your website by way of Google while looking for a comparable subject, your website came up. It looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  13. I have to show thanks to this writer just for rescuing me from this situation. Just after scouting through the the net and meeting opinions which are not helpful, I was thinking my life was over. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the difficulties you have resolved as a result of this report is a crucial case, and those that could have adversely damaged my entire career if I had not noticed your website. Your own personal natural talent and kindness in controlling all areas was helpful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a thing like this. I’m able to at this point relish my future. Thanks so much for this impressive and effective help. I won’t hesitate to refer your site to any individual who needs and wants counselling about this area.

  14. Awesome write-up. I am a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a frequent visitor for a really long time.

  15. First of all I want to say wonderful blog!
    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before
    writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my
    ideas out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
    Thanks!

  16. Awesome write-up. I am a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a really long time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *