KELVERI checked his bank balance on the Eftpos machine in the main shopping centre at Eriku. There was just a single kina in his account.
Payday after payday, it was always the same. He couldn’t believe it. He earned K400 and, even before the week was over, he ran out of money.
Then he’d go to the money market and borrow money from the lenders.
Kelveri depend on these money sellers, even though they ripped him off. There was no other way.
A money seller can loan K10 to Kelveri who will pay back K15 on his pay day.
Sometimes when the wantoks started pouring into the little room he shared with his wife and daughter, he would borrow up to K100 from the money sellers and the next pay day, give them K150. Can you believe it?
Kelveri shook his head in dismay. He worked hard for these good for nothing thieves who ripped off his hard earned cash.
He pulled out his wallet from his trouser pocket. He took out a K10 note. His last K10. He looked around the shopping centre. Families were busy buying food and loading them into trolleys.
Children were pushing the junior trolleys and there was happiness and contentment in the air.
Kelveri looked at his K10. What could he buy with this?
His eyes filled with tears. A grown loser who couldn’t afford to take his wife and daughter on a decent shopping trip. A man living on borrowed money until every pay day.
The more he thought about it, the more he hated himself. He only was able to bring home rice and tins of oily fish.
Why couldn’t he do better? Why couldn’t he be like these responsible men and women, who make their families happy?
Kelveri put the K10 back in his wallet and walked out of the shopping centre. He must take his wife and daughter shopping.
He went to see a money seller.
“Brother, I need K100. I will repay you next pay day,” Kelveri told the man selling cigarettes outside the tucker box.
“If I give you K100, then you will pay me back K150. It’s K5 for every K10.”
“That’s okay,” Kelveri told the man.
After shopping, Kelveri and his family went home to find his brother-in-law waiting outside their room at the hostel where they lived.
His brother in law asked him to help pay his son’s remaining school fees. The next morning, Kelveri went to ask for more money from a different money seller.
The money seller was a school teacher. “Sister, can you help me with K150? I will pay you back next pay day.”
“That will be K225. It’s K5 for every K10,” the seller said.
“Okay,” Kelveri told the woman.
On his way home with the K150 in his pocket, Kelveri did a quick calculation. He will be short again next pay day.
He calculated the rent plus the money he had borrowed. There was nothing and there was over a week until pay day.
He felt unreliable and hopeless.