This morning I sent money to a friend living in Zimbabwe.
Normally, I do this through Western Union at American Express in Cape Town’s Gardens Centre. There I bump into tourists and travellers changing dollars and euros.
Today I happened to be in deep town and so made the transaction at Western Union in St George’s Mall. There I rubbed shoulders with young men sending money home. Two were from Congo, four from Zimbabwe and one from Tanzania.
Because the tellers work behind thick safety glass, customers have to speak loud to be heard, so there is not much privacy. And because of FICA they have to state where this money comes from that they’re sending.
I listened as one man made arrangements for R 3 000 to be converted into shillings. He declared that it was his salary. The others sent amounts varying from R 500 to R 2 000, converting to US dollars and declaring their money as wages.
Listening, I reflected on how hard life is for so many people. I thought about compassion and kindness and the good heart; and how these young men could just go out and shop for themselves, but instead they remember their families struggling far away somewhere up in Africa and send what they can.
Found poem: sms messages
Help me Patricia
My children are starving
If u help me to make this project
I wont ask money from u again Patricia
Hi Patricia happy new year
Say happy new year to your Mr Dony
Patricia I went 2 Harare 2 check the price of chickens
100 chickens and the feed that can take them to 6 or 8 weeks
Its 200 usdollars which is 2000 rands
Patricia but I can buy a pig
Thanks Patricia but wen sending the money can u deposit in my sa acc
I can cross the border for it
Cause on the parall market its on top of usa
In banks its on top of rand
How are u and your family
Here we are well
Guess what Patricia!
I bought a 2 weeks pregnant pig
My pig had piglets
I am short of words
To express my happiness
But all I can say is thank u very much
God! May u bless this family.