Peace Corps Currency

7 Dec

When we get mail, which is about once every 2.5 weeks, it’s like a mini Christmas. Cardboard and tape litter the floor, joyous gasps abound as beef jerky and Gatorade powder explode open (sometimes over every other item in the package- poor Nick), and letters with month old information are read aloud as mini time capsules (sounds like Hurricane Sandy was a big deal… and maybe there was an election or something).

But after the choice items have been inventoried, the coveted pieces of chocolate and dried mangos (thanks mom!) hidden from view, the training center becomes a mini-market.

Some of the trade items- GUMMY BEARS!

Some of the trade items- GUMMY BEARS!

When you’re living on 30 birr (about $1.50) a day, the barter system becomes very important. Granted I’m not actually living on $1.50 a day as all my meals and my housing is taken care of, but that figure was too hard to figure out and you get the point- M&Ms are worth their weight in gold. And so is tabasco sauce and taco seasoning apparently.

Besides food stuffs, magazines and books are passed around as well. With two copies of TIME magazine and the new JK Rowling book in a package last week, I basically had a waiting list going.

The other highly coveted item is of course toilet paper. Granted, we are handed way more rolls of toilet paper every week than we could ever use, but as our site move-in date creeps closer some volunteers have started to horde tp like squirrels before winter. I myself have a stack of about 8 unused rolls just sitting in my room. Don’t ask me how I plan to transport it to Gonder, the point is that I am flush with tp… pun intended.

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