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Life on the Nickel (VSO Allowance)

Yet again I’m hustlin’, hustlin’, hustlin’
but I can’t seem to catch a dime.

Every two weeks at the head office in the centre of Addis, VSO volunteers receive their spending allowance. This is for extraneous expenditure, aside from our accommodation and meals. Things like daily travel to the office, toiletries, phone cards, bottled water and social events. It’s 840 birr. At an exchange rate of 28.6 ETB to the pound, we get £29.37 every two weeks, almost £60 per month, or about £2 per day.

To put it in context our monthly allowance is the average starting salary for a university graduate, or enough to pay the monthly wages for two maids.

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