Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Look, I just want some tomatoes!
The other issue that continues to upset me on a regular basis is MONEY! More specifically, the amount of bills and change circulating in Mali are disproportionate to what's needed here. Here's a quick breakdown of common items and what they roughly cost in cents/dollars:
500 cfa = 1 dollar
1 can of houmous: 1.20 dollars
small bag of cashews: 1 dollar
bottle of beer: 1 dollar
This is how this scenario plays out. I go to the ATM to get some money, I take out about a hundred dollars but it all comes in the equivalent of 20 dollar bills. Shit! Now, let's take yesterday as an example. Meg and I were going to have houmous for lunch so after a meeting I had in the morning I tried to find some cucumbers and tomatoes on my ride back. Finding any vegetables during the day is a feat in itself and once I did I was ecstatic. I pull over, pick out a nice cucumber, 3 tomatoes and I throw in a couple onions to round it off to 50 cents. As I reach for my wallet the clouds roll in and it gets eerily dark because I think I only have big bills. My wallet opens in slow motion like I'm slowly cracking a door I believe to be hiding a mass murderer. Just as I peak my head around the axe hits me square between the eyes, it's a $20. I hold it out with a stupid look on my face, I've been here a year and know what this means. She laughs and just puts the veggies back down knowing that we don't need a verbal response here, that produce is going nowhere.