… you spend kwacha.
Nope, it’s not Monopoly money you’re seeing, it’s kwacha, Zambia’s currency! Kwacha comes in both notes and coins. Notes come in denominations of 2 kwacha, 5 kwacha, 10 kwacha, 20 kwacha, 50 kwacha, and 100 kwacha. Coins come in denominations of 1 kwacha, 50 ngwee, 10 ngwee, and 5 ngwee. Ngwee can be added to make up 1 kwacha, similarly to our cents to the dollar. The kwacha notes are actually very detailed and pretty; they make our USD bills look monotonous and boring.
When I first came to Zambia in June 2015, every $1 USD was worth a little over 7 kwacha. Fast forward to October 2015? $1 USD can get you 12 kwacha. What?!? The dollar… strong?!? Yup. Things aren’t going so great with the economy here in Zambia at the moment due to a number of things, and life’s been a bit rough living off of the small monthly allowance (it’s paid in Zambian kwacha as opposed to the USD), but I’m managing as best I can. Next year’s Zambian presidential election is going to be an interesting one to witness, as I’m sure the current economic issues will play a huge role in debates and discussions.