Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kumara masenge

Back in the days when the Rwandan franc went a little further, it was subdivided into 10 amasenge. Baby bananas, more commonly called imineke, earn their nickname kumara masenge, “finish your pennies” because they are so delicious that you can’t help but spend all your change on them.

Nowadays, a bunch of 12 or so skinny ones goes for 150-200 rwf, depending on its condition, the location and your bargaining skills. Plumper bunches go for 300 ($.50).

Note that when bargaining for produce, sellers will very rarely lower the prices on pre-arranged groups of items (bananas, stacks of 4-5 passion fruit or tree tomatoes or oranges, piles of carrots or tomatoes). However a skilled bargainer can get something extra thrown in - convince the seller to part with 6 instead of 5 passion fruit for 100rwf, add more carrots to the pile, throw in a couple little green peppers with the stack of cucumbers. Items like pineapples, papayas, and mangoes can usually be bargained for (and sellers always start with a particularly steep markup on mangoes).

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