Kenyan Villagers, Corruption and Cell phones

Masai Villager

I noticed something very interesting on the taxi ride back to the airport from my recent Smile Train mission to Nairobi.  A local traffic officer stopped a van in front of us at a red light.  My driver informed us that corruption is rampant in Kenya and the officer was asking for a bribe.  I know that this common in many countries but what transpired was very strange.  Before the light turned green, both the driver and the officer took out their cell phones and with a few keystrokes the deed was done.    I learned that many Kenyans keep their money and do their banking with their cell phone providers and not the bank.  It is much safer and very convenient.  Their salaries are deposited directly and they pay their bills by cell.  Our driver told us that in the past, in order for him to give his father any money, he had to drive three to four hours to the village.  He can now do it via cell phone, saving him the trip and allowing his father immediate access to the money in case of emergency.  There are small kiosks in most villages with representatives that can make the exchange.  By the way, his father is 91 years old.  I’m sure that we will soon see that technology here and there will be an app for that.  Go figure.  DrK

As usual, we are very interested in what you think.  Please let us know in the comment box below.

5 thoughts on “Kenyan Villagers, Corruption and Cell phones

  1. Hum… so when the technology gets here will our cops be stopping drivers for a quick buck!?

  2. Dr. Klempner: I just wanted to tell you to have a wonderful, educational and fulfilling trip to Nairobi. It is certainly wonderful to pass on your expertise to other practitioners. I am sure all the people you meet will be appreciative and will welcome you with open arms. After all, the smile transcends language, culture…and you have a great smile. Looking forward to seeing you when you return. Be safe and know that you are missed.
    P.S. I wish I had known about this program at StonyBrook when I worked there!!! I certainly would have been interested in participating.
    Best Regards!!!

  3. this little story says so much about how the world is changing…quickly.
    hey…got smile is right.
    you even export smile.

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