My village diary 10: “My sister wired cash via cellphone”

Cellphones communication in a remote village in south eastern Kenya – 10

1. I ran out of cash yesterday after purchasing chickens!!! I called my sister in Nairobi and asked her to change some Canadian dollars and wire the cash to me. She changed the money at a forex bureau , walked to a Safaricom dealer nearby, wired the money to my father’s cellphone, at a fee of 50 shillings . Within seconds, he received an SMS from the company informing him that the money had been wired. He then walked to the Safaricom dealer at the market to collect the money. The entire transaction took a few minutes and cost less than a dollar. M-Pesa, Safaricom’s money transfer and banking system is phenomenal here in Kenya. It is most convenient, effective and affordable.  Read more about M-Pesa on pritamkabe blog.

(Image source: pritamkabe)
2. My brother told me the other day that he has linked his bank account to his cellphone. He can withdraw money from his account, using the cellphone, at any M-Pesa dealer,   anywhere in the country. I wondered what if he looses the phone. He said, no one can withdraw the  money since he is the only one who knows the Pin code!  I am still not convinced, I will further reserach on this and blog about it later…

3. While in Toronto, I wire money to my sister in Nairobi via money gram (quite affordable). She then wires it to my father in the village at a fee of 50 shillings no matter how much the amount. It is instantaneous!

It costs one bob to call

4. After my meeting with Susana last night, she called my cellphone to let us know she had arrived well. I missed the call, she then called my father who also missed her call. He later saw the missed call and called her back. Here is how the conversation went (in my local language):

Dad: hello, niwavika nesa (you arrived well?)
Susana: ii (yes)
Dad: Aaya, koma nesa (ok, sleep well)
Susana: Asanta (Thank you)
The conversation lasted less than a minute (8 words). I asked my father how much he was gonna pay for the call, he said one shilling! It is amazing how cheap communication via cellphones is in this part of the world…


2 Responses to “My village diary 10: “My sister wired cash via cellphone””

  1. BroLo Says:


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