“Obruni, give me one cedi.”

This is something I hear quite often while I’m walking in town, something that typically irritates me.  Cedis (for those that may not know) are the ghanaian currency, with one cedi being the equivalent of about 75 cents, and 100 pesewas equaling 1 cedi.  For comparison purposes, it’s easier to think about 1 cedi being 1 dollar, and pesewas being the equivalent of cents.

The fact of the matter is, many people in Bawjiase, live on about one cedi per day.  Now, you might be surprised with the number of things you can actually buy for 1 cedi.  For example, I could buy 10 oranges, or 2 egg sandwiches, or a coke and 3 mini bags of peanuts, or 5 small bags of laundry soap. Things here are much cheaper than in the U.S., and when you first get here, it’s fun and exciting to see how much you can get for as little money as possible.

But the fact of the matter is, I never really have to think about money.  I can pay for things with 5 or 10 cedi bills, buy whatever I want at market, and get as many cookies and cokes and as much phone credit as I want.  If I wanted to travel (which I never really do, I’m a little home-body) I could basically go wherever I want.  I don’t have to think about paying for my meals, my clothes, my housing, my medicine, supporting a family.  If I were to ever need anything, I could ask my parents to help me out (like they haven’t done enough for me already). Like many people my age that I know, I am a product of a unearned advantages.  And this is something that I think about and struggle with all the time.

So, starting March 1st, I’ve decided to set aside 30 cedi (about $25) for the month of March, and only spend 1 cedi per day.  Now this is no where near the equivalent of how many people in Bawjiase are living, considering I have clothes, meals, housing, and access to medicine.  It’s more the equivalent of how the Orphanage staff live from month to month.  Fifi makes 30 cedi per month, but eats at the volunteer house/or orphanage, and has clothes, a phone, and a place to sleep.  So for practical purposes, Fifi will be my standard.

What this means is: If I want to go somewhere (like Kasoa for example) I will have to save up for 2 days, because a tro tro is 90 pesewas each way.  If I want to buy phone credit, I will also have to save up, because it’s only sold in units of 2 cedi.  I have also decided that I can’t eat any food from outside of Bawjiase (which means no shoprite), and when my wonderful parents come in March, and bring me a variety of protein bars and candy, I’ll have to wait till the end of March to eat them.

I can still buy anything the orphanage needs, and things for the kids and orphanage staff.  I have also decided that I won’t count the internet time I am using to blog, since I’m accountable to all of you wonderful Mama Hope donors for updates on the new building.  But if it’s anything personal, I can’t spend more than my allotted 30 cedis for this month.  I will keep you updated on how it goes!

Speaking of new building updates…. The roofing is continuing to progress!  Here is a pic:


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