Bob Harris is a freelance writer who, when the book opens, is working on a magazine piece rating top hotels worldwide. As he sits amid luxurious surroundings in Dubai, he notices the immigrant workers slaving away in unfathomable heat. We learn that they come from places like India, in the hopes of providing their family with a better life. But the work they do isn’t paid what was promised, they are given no housing, and the brutal conditions mean thousands die before they are given the opportunity leave.
In the short-term, Harris shares his complimentary hotel food basket with the men, and attempts to converse (although they are limited to hand signals). In the long term, as the author continues his travels, he becomes concerned with the impoverished and wonders what can be done to help. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion that microfinance is the answer, and there are already several worldwide organizations committed to that task.
He becomes involved with one, Kiva, and throughout the book, tells about the company, makes loans himself, and follows up by traveling to various countries to find out how his borrowers have been able to improve their lives with the help of this micro loans.
This was a very enjoyable and eye-opening memoir. Bob Harris reminds us that the poor, are truly our neighbors and we can see in them our own fathers, mothers and family members. I love the idea of micro loans, and was pleased to learn more about them. I even went so far as to make a few loans of my own through Kiva. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013