Over the course of my recent travels, I had several interesting conversations about my dear homeland each drawing a different emotion from me from joy, hope, pride and even disappointment. But each one ended with a voice in my innermost saying “do your part and God will do His own”.
There is hope. I know a lot of my FB family will shake their head furiously and say I’m going spiritual, but that’s how I roll. I’ve heard experts say that our economy does not respond to textbook solutions because they are not an outcome of classic text book problems; so while I leave the economic experts to figure out the right button to push, I’ll do my bit and encourage those in my circle of influence to have faith, to do the right thing always (we can’t sow oranges and reap strawberries), to trust God and most of all to hold onto the biblical account in 2kings 6 & 7 where God turned the captivity of Samaria around overnight in amazing circumstances – God is still in that business.
So, on to Part1- the cab driver
I’m headed home in a cab and the cabbie probably from a middle eastern heritage strikes up one of these interesting discussions. As usual it starts with the weather, how hot it is today, where am I from and how hot is it back home.
That’s how we entered Nja jist. He hadn’t met anyone from Nigeria close up and he proceeded to tell me how he keeps a collection of currency from around the world. We digressed into my sharing with him that we spend the Naira and Kobo etc. He then asked if I had any ‘small’ Naira note on me, “I will pay you the pound equivalent” he said.
I didn’t think much of his offer to pay till I got to my destination. I rummaged my wallet and found a N50.00 note which I gave to him, he was genuinely excited, turning it back and forth asking about the images on it which led to a short Nigeria 101 course. He asked about value – I told him he could get a snack sized pack of cookies with that (coaster was on my mind). Wahala started when he opened his wallet and asked me what the equivalent rate was…………
I honestly started to do the mental math, but then I stopped in my tracks with what I was coming up with … Seriously? I don’t think I wanted to have the exchange rate discussion with a cabbie. So I told him it was a gift for his album but he still persisted so I moved the conversation to value – I told him I’d happily give him a pack of coaster buiscuits if I had one in my bag and not expect him to pay for it. That seems to have made him comfortable about not ‘paying’ me for my N50.00
As I think about it, our N50.00 can get us a bit more value than the estimated converted value (for some it may be easier to think about this value question with N100). The decimal places may increase in the wrong direction but everyday we also get fully loaded with new benefits (Psalm 68:19). And my thoughts got stuck on value, value, value.
My prayer is that with each passing day we ask ourselves the value question about our worth, our expenses and our deeds; what does this action mean to me? What value does it add to me? What value does it add to my family? What value does it add to Nigeria? Is this spend considered an Asset or a liability?
I strongly believe that when we go the value route, adding value in every act – the decimal places will become less significant and begin to take back seat.