I want to go home.
In the real world, you own your money. It doesn’t matter whether you earned, faked it, or stole it – if it’s in your wallet, then it’s yours. But this is TZ, and here, if it has their president and it’s in their borders, then it’s theirs.
Here’s the deal. I like to send money home. And I use western union TZ. For some reason, each time I wire cash, I have to present my passport, which is fine, they do that everywhere. But in TZ, i’m also required to present photocopies of four separate pages of my passport – The number page, the visa page, the photograph page, and the name change page.
I had my baptismal name added to the passport a few years back, to synchronise my documents, and our very Kenyan immigration, rather than issuing a new passport, simply crossed out the old name, penned in the new name, and put an official stamp on it. Tanzanians don’t believe in this, so I also need to explain it, every single time. And if I find a particularly grouchy teller, I get yelled for that as well.
So, to send money out of TZ, I need cash, passport, photocopies of said passport, and oh, I have to give a written reason why I am sending their money out of their country.
Today I needed to send money to Asia, so I carried the standard documents. But noooo. Since I am a Kenyan citizen, I am only allowed to send their money to Kenya. If I need to send money to Asia, I have to have Asian documents. WTF?! It’s my effing money, what do you care where I send it?
It is calmly expalined that if I can just ask the recipient to fax me their documents from Asia, then I can proceed. Well, guess what, the recipient isn’t Asian. Oh, I’m sorry, the western union ladies say, but you can’t send the money.
Now, before you get all indignant, it’s not just because I’m Kenyan. Apparently, TZ citizens are only allowed to send money within Tanzania. No external wire transfers. I go to western union a lot, and I once had to help a guy send money to his girl in cameroon, because they wouldn’t let him, so I sent it using my name. And yes, I had to produce the recipient’s documents.
It gets worse. If I have an account with, say, Barcalys Tanzania, and I need to move funds to my account in Barclays Kenya, well, I can’t!! I can only transfer my funds if I am moving back home, and I need documents to prove it. My own bloody account!!
I am so mad right now.
Even bank transactions are a problem, since payments to business partners abroad have to be documented and justified. A friend wanted to buy a car, so he deposited funds in his brother’s account for the transaction. And when the brother went to withdraw the money – from his own account, he had to produce a whole list of documents to explain why he needed to withdraw such a large amount.
I got a Christmas bonus once, and decided to draw all the money and send it home. The bank manager had to be called before they would let me do it. I understand that they want their economy to remain centralised and all that, but it’s my blasted money!!!
In less frustrating news, princess and I made a new word. Tabcole. I am too jazzed to correct her. Well, I did try, several times, but she wouldn’t get it, and it’s just so cute!! Almost as cute as oof. Or Michael Axjon aka jonsekt/jansokt/jansox [it gets worse each time we correct it!!] And no, I didn’t just make that up. She truly is the wind beneath my wings.
PS: I keep seeing this notice above my post:
We will be making some code changes in about 26 hours which will log you out of your WordPress.com account. They should only take a few seconds and you should be able to log in afterwards without any problems.
Ooh, ooh, almost forgot. I went to a phone shop today, authorised dealer no less, to get new batteries. The lady at the shop told me it’s 10K for regulars and 25 for originals. I asked what the difference was, and she said something about grade, so I asked for two regulars. She referred me to some grey-haired Indian guy whose hands were vibrating.
The Indian guy asked me to show him the phones, then he snatched the cash and gave me two batteries, asking me to put them in my bag and leave. No receipt. The shop was packed, and the guy was clearly trying to sneak a few bob from his boss.
I felt uneasy, but I left anyway. It kept nagging me, why life in an honest nyerere-ism is so cut-throat that even the kalasingas steal from their bosses. Then I felt guilty for abbetting, and noticed that the packs said 3220, which my phone clearly is not. I thought, ironically, that it would serve me right if they were the wrong ones.
Guess what. They are. Shiny and new, with ‘original’ branded all over them in shiny sticky things. But they’re way too small, they can barely fit in the phones. Sigh. And I can’t go back coz I have no receipt, so I’ve just wasted a K. Oh well. Siku za mwizi ni…well, in my case, it was barely 4 hours…