Haiti is a nation of markets. In almost every village and town there are markets that offer a variety of products and farm produce. Markets convene weekly. They may be small, just a few vendors, or large such as the central market in Hinche shown above. Markets are a vital source of income to many and an incentive to produce or invest in saleable products.
Although the Gourde is the national currency, prices are usually expressed in Haitian Dollars which is a paperless currency. Each Haitian Dollar equals five Gourdes. Initially it takes a bit of mental gymnastics to negotiate prices in Haitian Dollars and then settle the transactions in Gourdes. But eventually, one gets into the habit of dealing with these two currencies.
The market economy may be especially sensitive to inflation. For the past nine years, Haiti has been enduring elevated inflation. Although the price increase in any one year does not seem extreme, over nine years successive price level increases have built up to an eye popping 68%.
Consequently, efforts to improve education in Haitian schools are challenged by the increasing costs of working within the Haitian economy. Even though to some extent these costs are amerliorated by a strong dollar, the ever present necessity is to find additional funds that cover the cost increases. The Haitian Education Support Team depends on your donations to sustain our work in Haiti. For more information contact us.