We had a blast during the 2011 Black Mountain B&B Visions of Sugarplums Christmas Cookie Tour! It was great meeting visitors to the Inn on Mill Creek and sharing our little neck of the woods — and our cookies! We had the awesome Jo Northup performing on hammered dulcimer and flute for guests. And the tour benefited a wonderful charity, the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, which provides local residents and stranded travelers with basic and emergency assistance. The SVCM has a food pantry, coordinates the Meals on Wheels program, works with the local homeless shelter, helps those in need with critical financial assistance, and aids in finding job opportunities, job training and educational advancement. Their work is so important in our community and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who bought tickets to the Cookie Tour to help out this great group of volunteers.
In 2011, we were able to fund six entrepreneurs from developing countries through the microlending site Kiva, bringing our total number of loans to 32! Three of our 32 borrowers — Nelva, David and Reina — recently paid off their loans (although because of “currency exchange loss”, meaning the value of the dollar appreciated 20% or more against the currency of our borrower’s country during the loan payoff time, David’s loan was considered to be 99% paid off when all was said and done). Since we choose to relend our money once it becomes available again, we had enough to pick two more borrowers from opposite sides of the globe: