Today I was reminded of my time in Zambia. I awoke this morning and thought, “I need to go to the bank and deposit my paycheck.” Normally this is a 10 minute trip on the way home from the office one evening, but with the Shelter in place proclamation and the Coronavirus swirling around business, the bank lobby is closed. So as I took my place in the queue, I was reminded of the various lines that banking took in Zambia.
Banking in Zambia went like this in 2001: There was one line for declaring your business, another for speaking with the appropriate banking official to make a withdrawal or deposit. A third line where another teller double checked the count, a fourth line for actually getting your hands on the money yourself and then finally as you exited the bank a fifth line for the security official to verify that all the right stamps had been placed by all the right officials along the way. Normally banking in Zambia took 4+ hours.
Thankfully, our banks are more efficient and there is an air of trust in our system that is absent from our African counterparts. But nevertheless, my normal 10 minute trip took closer to 30 minutes as car after car was trying to conduct personal and business transactions. I am not complaining, I think the men and women in the Credit Union were doing an amazing job given the circumstances and I am thrilled that the banks are still working. (I would hate to go to the banks tomorrow on the end of the month, I can only imagine what that line will look like.) But it was just one more reminder to me about how much life has been disrupted by the presence of a virus.