Anyone who knows me hata kidogo (even a little!) can tell you I love Linux. While it certainly is true, I’m stoked about open-source software in general, be it GNU/Linux, Android, PHP, Apache, git, etc. Because I believe passion is contagious, I’ve started a new blog with the specific purpose of documenting and sharing that passion.
I made it a habit a few months ago to always be carrying an unscratched Bamba 50. Lots of people thought it was hilarious, not understanding why I didn’t just redeem them right when I bought them. There are many reasons, but yesterday, it was nothing other than an unused Bamba 50 which saved the day! First, a little background…
Scratch Cards in Kenya
In Kenyan street Swahili “kubamba” means “to jazz”, as in, to make excited (or something like that). Most Kenyan cell phones work on a pre-paid basis; you buy these little cards, scratch to reveal the unique twelve-digit code, and then enter it in your phone to redeem the face value of the card. Depending on the cell phone provider, time of the day, or person you’re calling, 50 Kenyan shillings (about 50 US cents) can get you anywhere from 20 – 50 minutes of talking time.
Anyways, so yesterday I had decided I wanted to bake some brownies (with which to eat away my sorrows). Because I had used all the chocolate powder making OMG brownies last week, I decided to pass through Sarit Centre on the way home from work. While all I really needed was chocolate powder, I bought a few extra things since I was in the super market anyways. When it came time to pay for my parking I was five shillings short. I started to consider my options…
I looked in the car, no coins lying around. ATM card: at home. M-PESA wasn’t working on my stupid phone for some reason, so I couldn’t use the ATM with that either. Short of hanging around and asking random people for five bob, or walking all the way home to rummage through my coin pile, I was out of options!
… then I remembered the Bamba 50 in my pocket; scratched, but unused! I went and struck a deal with the parking meter lady, giving her my 50-shilling scratch card in exchange for the five bob I needed to pay for my parking. She was stoked because she cleaned up on the deal (45 free shillings), and I was stoked because I could get my car out of the parking lot without having bum around asking for change from complete strangers! Phew, how’s that for thinking on your feet?
We’re finally in Dar es Salaam and, despite the heat, we’re leaving no street unexplored! The road from Mbeya to Dar is long, and we apparently picked the wrong bus, because it took over fourteen hours to get here (damn, do we really need petrol again, for the third time?). It was kinda unnerving to arrive here late at night, especially since the out-of-town buses stop waaaay outside of the city limits (Ubungo bus terminal). Luckily Dar never sleeps (and I’ve been here a few times before), so we yelled, “Hapana!” (no) to all the taxi drivers, hopped on a dalla dalla (public transport minibus, like Kenya’s matatu), and found our way to a nice mid-range hotel with air conditioning pretty quickly.