Paying back

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Repaying the Ministry by Andy Buhler, CUSO, 69-71

Last week my horoscope said I was coming into an amount of money. I waited all week -- no money arrived. Then tonight I got a delayed letter from Kano -- from my Bank in Kano. They sent me my invoice up to the last day of audit, October 26, 1970, and showed that I have a balance of £N342/18/9 (about $1000).

There is no mistake in the Bank either. The trouble lies with the Kano State Ministry of Health -- they’re still paying my salary every month. Now I don’t know if this is because they admire my services so much, or whether, since they paid me for doing little or nothing before, they feel they might as well continue paying me for doing nothing at all. Not only that they gave me a raise effective September 10th for giving them so little trouble and for staying in their employ for over a year. I am now getting (from them only) £N61 instead of the usual £N57/10/- every month.

Dutifully, but with a tear in my eye, I sent a letter to my Coordinator tonight. It’s still on the corner of the table -- maybe I’ll tear it up before the night is over. Also the Kano State Government haven’t been taking off money for my Honda loan so maybe they’re dashing me the £N150 for the £N50 I’ve paid on it. What a mess when I leave! Too bad I wasn’t leaving next week and I might think of utilizing the $1200 now accrued. It would pay my way to UBC for a year, wouldn’t it? C’est la vie! I’m either too conscience stricken -- or stupid.

While in Kano for Christmas 1970, I spent most of my time there trying to re-pay the Ministry the money they have been paying into my account since I left in May.

“What’s the trouble, Sir? When are you leaving?”

“Actually I left in May.”

“Why didn’t you tell us, Sir?”

“I did.”

“Why isn’t there a letter?”

“There is.”

“Where is it?”

“In your files.” -- and so on for three days.

Finally they accepted the money and didn’t even reimburse me the 2d for my cheque, or the bank charges on the account.

Ah, well – it was only virtual money, except for the tup’pence and charges wasn’t it?

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