This has been quite an experience. As a part of my contract here I am given a living allowance to offset the prices that foreigners must pay for anything comparable to decent food, groceries etc. To that end a bank account has been set up for me here in Nigeria. This is where the fun begins because it has taken three plus weeks to get this account set up. I was warned about this before coming here, so I brought some cash from home when I came. Therefore I have started to get used to the black market for exchanging dollars into naira. I bring my dollars to the local money exchanger guy and he gives me a really crappy rate for exchanging the dollars for naira. Finally I get my bank account set up, and get a check for my living allowance for April.
Armed with my check in hand and account number of my newly set up bank account, I set off for my first experience at the Nigerian bank. I get there and talk to the representative to get my checks and check card and to deposit my living allowance into my bank account. This seems like it should be a fairly simple task, but my bank account was set up in US dollars and the check I was given for my living allowance was in Nigerian naira. Now to an unassuming oyibo like myself, I would think that since this bank has US dollars and they have Nigerian naira, and they have a clearly posted exchange rate of naira to dollars and dollars to naira, which of course they have one rate for exchanging naira to dollars and a different rate for dollars to naira, that I would be able to deposit my check that is in naira into my bank account which was in dollars. However, this was not the case, I guess their calculator was broken or something because I was told that they could not deposit my check, and they could not exchange the naira to dollars for me??? The only thing I could do with my check was get Nigerian naira, if I wanted to deposit it I would have to get the naira, walk down to the money changer guy and exchange it on the black market for the really crappy rate, then bring the dollars back and deposit the dollars into my US dollar account.
So not wanting to carry around the whole months living allowance I took the crappy exchange rate and deposited my US dollars into my bank account and came away from the whole situation with a really bad taste in my mouth.
This year's Dance photos
2 years ago