Abdul Hadi, a 30-year-old Lombok native, is a real entrepreneur — a man with sharp eyes for business. Holding a megaphone, Hadi shouts loudly calling for traders at Badung traditional market to change their “dirty money”. “Dollars…. dollars… dirty money, come here, change your money with me,” Hadi shouts, while showing a chain of dirty money around his neck. Hadi’s profession is quite prestigious: he is a money changer. But he does not work in a smart, clean office waiting for clients to change their foreign bank notes or travelers checks.
Instead, he travels from one traditional market to another to offer his unique service — receiving dirty and damaged bank notes — both Indonesian rupiah and American dollars. Traders at these traditional markets do not have to worry about going to Bank Indonesia to change their damaged bank notes. Abdul Hadi is ready to help them change their money quickly and efficiently. He receives damaged Indonesian bank notes, expired money and American dollar bank notes. It is a quite risky business, and one no official money changer would choose to do.
“When a client exchanges his damaged Rp 10,000 [US$1.03] bank note, he may have to pay me Rp 5,000 as my fee,” said Hadi, explaining his work scheme. Hadi has been working as a money changer for the last three years. He not only works in Bali, but also travels extensively to other islands, like Java, Sulawesi and, of course, his home island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara. “Bali is the most lucrative place for me,” Hadi grinned. He earns at least Rp 400,000 per day and in one week he could earn Rp 4 million, higher than a civil servant’s monthly salary.
His initial working capital was only Rp 200,000, which he borrowed from a friend. Previously, he worked as a meatball seller. He later changed his profession to become a construction worker. “Now I feel happy and more confident working as a money changer — it’s hard work with a good, stable income,” he said. Every day, he starts working at 6 a.m. not finishing until late at night. He roams every market in Denpasar, Kuta and Jimbaran to reach out to the needy and busy clientele. “I have saved enough money to go home to see my beloved wife and children,” he said proudly.
“I am hoping that my kids will follow my path as a money changer, but I will not force them to do so,” Hadi said. For Hadi, there will always be a way to improve living conditions for those people who want to work hard. And he has already proved it.
source : bali daily