Pauline Kimari is a pharmacist in Ndaragwa, Kenya, a small town several hours’ drive north of Nairobi. She moved there from rural Muranga, several hours away, to open a small shop, Ndaragwa Joy Chemist. It is white with blue and green doors and a blue bench inside. She sells medicine and cosmetics.
She is 43, devoted to God and her family. Her parents in Muranga still farm coffee, tea, corn, beans and other vegetables. Kimari’s success allows her to send them money regularly. “I’ve been a great help to them,” she said.
She used to have two ways to send money, neither satisfactory. She could buy a money transfer at a bank. Her parents would travel to the nearest town to retrieve it. And transfers were not instant. “There was so much delay,” she said. “It took three days to get the money there.”
The other way was to find someone going to Muranga, perhaps a bus driver, and give him an envelope of cash. “This was not efficient for me, and it was not safe at all,” she said. “Maybe that person was not trustworthy. Maybe the money didn’t reach the person you wanted it to, or it was less than the amount you gave.”
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