With a variety of channels through which one can send money within and out the country, people still risk and send it by bus. Presently, there are various ways sending money safely and quickly.
These include the Post Office, Western Union, Fina Direct, and Money Gram among others. Irrespective of the advantages of these services, some people decide to risk and send it by bus.
Susan Umutoni (not real names) does not use any of the above safe ways when sending money to Uganda. She says that she even feels better when she sends money by bus, disclosing, “I have been sending money to my children for the last three years by bus and I have not encountered any problem with it.”
Explaining at length Umutoni said that she resorted to sending money by bus due to the difficulty she faced with the other means.
“I wanted to send Rwf 15,000 to my son in Uganda as part of his school fees. When I went to use (one of the above), I was told to pay Rwf 6,500 so that they could send the money,” she said, adding that she found it as quite expensive.
Umutoni explained that by paying Rwf 6500 she would have remained with only Rwf 8500.
“That would not help my son at all. When I asked if they could reduce the charges if I were sending only Rwf 10,000, they told me that I would still pay the Rwf 6500 since it was a flat rate,” she said. When she opted for another way (also not mentioned here to avoid legal implications), matters were not helped.
“I was told to first exchange into dollars the money I wanted to send, and I was also supposed to pay for their services in dollars,” she said, adding that this was the hardest moment of her day.
She further explained that sending money in a safe and faster way when it could not have any impact to the person receiving it was not important to her.
After a moment of silence Umutoni explained that as a last resort, she thought of consulting one of the conductors of some buses leaving for Uganda.
“A conductor charged me Rwf 1000 to take the money to Uganda. I could not believe it. Being the first time I had talked to him, I was afraid (for the money) but I had no alternative,” she said.
Accordingly, Umutoni paid him Rwf 1,000 from the Rwf 15,000 and gave him the mobile number of the person he would give the money. When the bus left Umutoni admits that she was worried and made several phone calls to both the conductor and the son. On hearing that the son had received the money she was relieved.
“I could not believe what had happened. I did not know that conductor nor did he know me,” she says with a smile. She has since sent money by bus.
“I do not have any problem with sending money by bus and its not only me, we are very many only that I did not know it was possible. It is a matter of creating a friendly relationship with either the driver or conductor,” she concludes.
Tom Rekeraho (also not real names) a conductor who admits helping in faithfully transferring money to some people said that he has been doing it for a longtime.
“I am now trusted by many people when it comes to sending and bringing money from Uganda,” he said adding that it’s very hard for a person to trust another with money but when you prove yourself as trustworthy, it is possible. He explained that the service he renders has helped him get many friends both in Uganda and Rwanda.
“People I have helped fully trust me with money. Money is something which can easily change human minds. It’s a matter of building self-confidence with handling people’s money,” he said adding that besides all discipline at work builds an individual a good reputation for even his workmate to believe and trust him.
“When a person wants to send money through me, he consults other people to confirm if I am capable of rendering the service. What they tell him or her directs him in what to do,” he explains.
Sending money or any other valuables by bus might be cheap but one ought to know that it could be risky in case of a theft from passengers or during the offloading period and in a worst case scenario during accidents. However, like the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.