This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

To the Bank

Zambia has experienced some inflation over the years and that means it takes more government money to buy the same items than it did previously.

The main unit of money is the Kwacha.
5.3 Kwacha is now equal to 1 US dollar.
In May 5300.0 was equal to 1 US dollar.
So the money wasn't really devalued, the government thought it was getting a little unwieldy.  They slashed off the last three digits.  

So now it will cost 7 kwacha for a loaf of bread instead of 7000.  That made my mind a little less confused by not dealing in millions of kwacha every day.

At the same time Zambia also issued coins which they haven't had for a while.  

Zambia is on a decimal system so one ngwee is like our penny.

These are the new coins now in use.  The largest, a kwacha, is worth almost 19 cents. (A Zambian basic unit or dollar in our terms)
That makes the smallest amount of coin (in US a penny) worth 0.18 of a US penny.

The bottom line here is that Zambians use very small values in their daily life.
The rest of us rich folks deal in the larger numbers.  It is the luxury items, or what we normally use in the United States that are expensive here.

As you can see from the poster, a 2 kwacha note and a 100 kwacha note were added to the inventory for more versatility.  That helps the rich and the poor.  : )

This is the largest currency note every issued in the world.  It went out of circulation just a little while ago in the country just to our south, Zimbabwe.  At the time it was withdrawn it was worth about 13 cents.  There was a photo in the paper of a man with a wheelbarrow load of them and the comment was that he should sell the wheelbarrow for the better deal.

President Padovich gave this one to me, as he bought several for souvenirs at 13 cents each.

This is called Cairo Road.  It runs north and south through Lusaka and if you stay on it you will end up in Cairo, Egypt or south to Cape Town, South Africa.

We parked in front of the main bank branch downtown.  Notice the high fashion and another woman carrying a load on her head. Their are big differences in economic situations but they are mixed often without much fuss.

Selling bananas outside the bank.

This is near the city center.  There are probably fifteen buildings higher than four stories in town.

Samsung has a large presence and the biggest building.

Elder Stewart and Elder Shurtz took us to the bank so I could be a signature on the account.
Like everything it was an adventure.  First parking.  Men along the street backed a car out so we could  park.  Where the other car went I don't know.  Then they wanted to wash our car along with the others they were doing.  We declined, but the elders have their car washed occasionally by someone.

The office we were to go to was on the second floor.
Of course Kristi wanted to walk up.  That is fine but remember this was a British colony at one time.
The first floor here is our second floor.  That didn't count the mezzanine, then comes the second floor, now our third floor, one more to go and I have gained another 10 seconds on my life as I have really walked up four floors to the "2nd" floor.
Kristi was radiant, I was panting.
Meanwhile, Elders saw an elevator and got excited and said it had been almost 2 years since they had been in one, jumped in and met us on floor "2".

I took the big couch with Kristi and the Elders shared a chair.  I told them they would have to learn what is acceptable in the United States again.  (at least in Utah).
We waited in this hallway and then we were escorted through two more secure doors.  We were then told we were missing the cover sheet.  The Elders went back the next day without us.

Money from my wallet.
Check our the local fauna and flora on it.  I haven't seen any yet.

Just a couple of pix from the ride around town.

These wires with gloves are all over.  I asked several missionaries what they were for.  Some didn't know and one thought they were just advertising for the stands nearby.  Sort of like the red, white and blue signs we see in the States that say "for sale" or "antiques".  However, I finally discovered they are plumbers advertising their services.  With a pair of plastic gloves and the wires they will clean out anything, especially your plumbing pipe (yes that was singular),  or your pit if something or someone falls in.

This street is just a block from where the bank is.  It is a little more typical of the big city of Lusaka.
The door on the very right edge of the photo is the Post Office where all the packages are sent.  They don't deliver.  You must have the tracking number to pick something up even if your name matches and you can see the package that was sent four months before from your mother.  This is a disappointing place for the office Elders, but most of the missionaries aren't aware.  The mothers that send boxes soon learn to email tracking numbers.  The mothers that have missionaries out longer, learn to just not bother.  Fed Ex and DHL are more certain, but not guaranteed, and VERY expensive.

These folks were on there way somewhere.  A pretty common sight to have any vehicle overloaded.
They look too clean to be headed to the fields.  I counted at least 50 people in the back of a dump truck coming back from some type of work.  I need to find out who does the hiring as jobs are very difficult to find.  

It has now been a week since we took this trip to the bank.  Elder Stewart called again today to see if it was O.K. to write checks.  The answer was that nothing had come through yet, so we wait for the wheels of progress to grind just a bit further.