Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Bir

Local currency is called bir here. Bills are colored based on amount, black ink for 1s, blue for 5s, red for 10s, orange for 50s, and greed for 100s. Coins, sadly, can look alike. Both the 10 cent and 5 cent have the same heads and color, but the 5 cent is smaller and the tails says '5' instead of '10'. The 50 cent coin is silver, and the one bir coin is gold with a silver ring.

What really gets me though is that I'll get a bill from restaurants saying 6.01 or something similar. Pennies don't exist in the country. No one ever pays that extra cent.

Bir, on average, is dirty. I've only seen clean ones when they've come from the bank or as change from a place in Addis. Out where a lot of volunteers live, dust is all over the place and wallets are passed over in exchange for just stuffing money in a pocket or clutch. It's impossible to keep your money clean, but when I get a gritty one I try not to think about things too much.

I will say this though, the fabric they make bir out of hold up pretty well.

3 comments:

Tara Tyler R said...

i like your theme, telling us more about a little-known country. it brings the world closer!
happy c day!

Rhonda Albom said...

I wouldn't have even been able to guess what the name of your currency was, Bir is my new word today. Here in New Zealand our money is also color coded for different denominations, but we no longer have 5c coins and 10c is our smallest. Fun typo in for the $100 color - greed :)

Corinne said...

I love countries that don't use the Euro.

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