For a Buck in Mozambique…

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The official currency of Mozambique is the Metical…Meticais in the plural, met(s) for short, pronounced met-ee-call and met-eek-eye-sh.

The current exchange rate is 65 mets to every 1 USD, but it has changed fairly drastically over the last year. In fact, upon arrival last May, the exchange rate was only 49.6:1 USD. While some fluctuation is common with the changing dynamics of the global economy, Mozambique has been uniquely impacted by recent business dealings gone awry and the uncovering of secret international debts.

As of 2015, the average income in a Mozambican household was approximately 512 USD per year, equaling about 1.44 USD per day.

Factor in the average family size of 4.5 members, and we’re talking about approximately 0.32 USD per person, per day if only one person in the home has a job.

33,280.00 meticais per family/year

93.6 meticais per family/day

20.8 meticais per person/day

So there you have them, the basics.

As volunteers in Moz, we live on approximately 10,500 Meticais a month…about 130 US Dollars.

If you do the math, it ends up at about 4.5USD/day to cover everything from phone bills to food to transportation to leisure activities. Some expenses don’t fluctuate much, but the majority of shopping is done in open-air markets where prices are always changing based on local supply, demand, seasons and rainfall, gas prices, and bargaining skills.

So, what can you buy for a couple bucks in Tete, Mozambique?

For less than 1 USD (less than 60 Meticais)

  • A large beer (550 mL)
  • A can or bottle of soda
  • A lightbulb
  • A mid-sized pumpkin
  • A rice sack full of charcoal

For 1 USD (65 Meticais)

  • Approximately 8 tomatoes
  • A 1kg bucket of potatoes
  • 2 loaves of homemade bread
  • 6 onions
  • 3 large carrots
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 heads of garlic
  • 3 bunches of couve
  • 1 kg of flour or sugar
  • 1 large papaya
  • 3 packs of spaghetti
  • 2 rolls of toilet paper
  • A second-hand shirt/blouse

For 2 USD (130 Meticais)

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 1 liter of oil
  • dinner at a restaurant— 1/4 of a chicken, fries/rice/or xima, and salad
  • a box of wine
  • one-way trip from Chitima to Tete City (almost…you’d need 20 more mets)

For 3 USD (200 Meticais)

  • 1 capulana
  • A dress custom-made by a tailor from aforementioned capulana
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 2GB of data for a smartphone
  • A live chicken
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