Philip gasana, a 23-year-old Kimironko, works as a money changer in Remera Bus Park. He told us about his day.
“ I wake up early at 4:00 am. I say a quick prayer and shower. After showering I take a hearty breakfast of tea and leftover food. I have to do this because of the nature of my job. Sometimes, breakfast is all I take from morning to night when I get home”, he says.
“I live with my mother and my sister, and after giving her the day’s ration and ensuring that my sister has money for lunch at school, I kiss my mother good bye, and I go to where I work, which is at the Remera Taxi Park,” he explains.
“Before I go there, however, I make a quick stop at the Nyabugogo Taxi Park where I exchange cash notes for coins from our main dealer. He usually has coins amounting to a hundred thousand francs and beyond. After that I take a taxi and go to the station, where I run after taxis hoping that they will ask for my services,” he says.
“It is a very competitive business and at the end of the day we have to turn in all of our money to the main dealer, who gives us our share of the day’s profits. I do not get any side profits so I depend on the mercy of the dealer and his mood that day.
We face challenges like any other businesses; we face a lot of danger from thieves, since we are usually carrying bulky coins in bags, sometimes amounting to RWF 50,000 or 60,000. Also the weather affects us because we work outside; when it rains, it hits us and when it shines, we suffer the full force,” he recounts.
Sometimes we miscalculate the amounts given to us and we give them more; so we have to pay also, others con us with fake notes or torn ones.
However, I bear all these challenges because at the end of the day, there is reason to smile - I go home to my mother and sister who welcome me with lots of food and smiles, he says smiling.