Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ten billion shillings - A simplified look at typographical errors

Ever wondered what it's like to own ten billion shillings?

That thought ran through my mind over the weekend and I got to wonder how many people (yours truly included) can actually fathom the value of that sum of money. Lots of people have had the opportunity to handle one or two million bob in cash, but haven’t had the need to visualise how much the intrinsic and monetary value of this here kinda loot. I took the liberty to make some calculations to illustrate in simplified (and simplistic?) terms what you can do with Ten Billion bob. Maybe you’ll feel something after reading this, my young padawan. Maybe you won’t.

1. Ten billion is 10 followed by nine zeros - 10,000,000,000/-

2. Assuming that you can buy a used Corolla from Dubz at 500k, and that the standard length of that set of wheels is 3.5 metres; you can but 20,000 Corollas which shall translate to 70 kilometres of cars (when parked bumper to bumper). That’s halfway from Nairobi to Nakuru.

3. A thao bob note is 18cm x 10cm (get a ruler and confirm this). Convert the 10B into thao bob notes and that comes to 10,000,000 notes – translating to 1,800 kilometres of one thao bob notes stuck end-to-end on the long end. That’s like from Nairobi to Brazzaville (I think). How long would it take you to drive alongside that cash (from end-to-end) at 90 Kph? 20 hours without a pit-stop.

4. Let’s calculate that loot into square metres of thao bob notes - cash. That’s 180,000 square metres of one thao bob notes. Feeling poorer already?

5. How much does ten billion bob weigh? I ain't no expert in this, but assuming that a thao bob note is printed on paper the same weight as photocopy paper (80 grams per square metre), then we’re looking at 14.4 tonnes of loot. Try hauling that with your used Toyota Corolla from Dubz.

6. If you dumped that loot in the middle of lake Nakuru, M7 would say that island belongs to UG.

7. Anyone in the security printing business out there who can tell us how long it would take to print that money?

8. Let’s look at how long it would take a kawaida mwananchi (one who doesn’t have bulk cash handling experience) to count those thao bob notes. Let’s assume this kurutu counts at the rate of two notes per second. That’s 5,000,000,000 seconds / 83,333,333.3 minutes / 1,388,888.8 hours, 57,870.37 days. It would take Wanjiku 158.54 years to count that money 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wanjiku wouldn’t live long enough to finish counting that money.

9. Some of us are mlevis (considering EABL was the best performing company before Safcom came into the mix). Some jamaaz (and chileez!) can only quantify monetary value in terms of beer. So let’s assume I’m buying pints at my ka-local - Nerkwo - for 10 billion bob. A white Cap costs a sock. That’s 100,000,000 pints / 50,000,000 litres / 4,000,000 crates. Hey Victor, how long will it take to brew that kind of swallow?

10. So now we want to pay Wanjiku for counting that money. We want to be generous (despite her limited qualifications) and pay her 15k per month for her efforts. We’ll be able to pay her for 55,555.5 years.

11. Ever wonder how long it would take to burn 10 billion bob? – I mean just set it on fire and watch it burn to the last ember. Wangari Maathai wouldn't be happy either.

Guys, I ain’t sayin’ nuthin' – just illustrating how much ten billion looks like.

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