At the borders between many African countries, the exchange bureau consists of many people carrying a large bundle of cash. Most of the time I pay for my transport in one currency, and get dropped off in a city with an ATM to avoid the mayhem of changing money. Yesterday, I had no choice – buses don’t cross the border.

The following is a math problem:

~150 Malawian Kwacha (MK) = 1 USD
~1300 Tanzanian Shillings (TSH) = 1 USD
The border “exchange bureaus” offered me 10 TSH for 1 MK.
I asked for 9 TSH for 1 MK.
They refused.
I asked for the exchange rate for USD.
The exchange bureaus offered me 140 MK = 1 USD.
I started to change USD.
They gave in and gave me 9 TSH for 1 MK, preferring to get my TSH over my USD.

I think I came out on top.

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