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07/05/2012

Counting money in Haiti

It is unique how they count money in Haiti. The official currency is Haitian Gourde, however there is Haitian Dollar as the unofficial and imaginary currency.

Haitian Dollar is neither American Dollar nor bills and coins of Haitian dollar would exit.

1Haitian Dollar is worth 5 Haitian Gourdes. Usually the only currency on the market is Haitian Gourde though (photo), prices are often called in Haitian Dollar. For example, Coke costs 25 Gourdes then you hear "It's 5 Haitian Dollars".

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In the beginning, it is thought there was a trace of previous currency: Haitian Dollar because just as seen in other countries in the past, inflation have decreased the value of money sharply, then later new currency was introduced.
But Haitian Dollar has never existed. However it seems that fixed exchange rate in 1980's, 1 U.S. Dollar= 5 Haitian Gourdes, still remains today. Even though it still does, I wonder how it would be possible for people to use it over 20years.

When I brought this to Haitians, they said they don't have to use more zeroes with Haitian Dollar. 1000 Gourdes are big numbers, but when it comes to Haitian Dollar, it is easy to count because it can be done with 200.

Still they have to pay in Haitian Gourde so they need to do division or multiplication in the end which seems more complicated after all. Then their "Haitian" logic comes in, it is more complicated for them to count with big numbers.

July 5, 2012 in Haiti |