“We have seen that the world of informal finance is accessed through networks based on kin, community, and workplace. That is not always good news… Informal deals are rarely private, and exposure to the public gaze can cause much social discomfort, a nonfinancial cost of informality.” – Portfolios of the Poor

Waking up this morning I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. If we didn´t draw a high number from the hat we wouldn´t have enough money to buy food at the market. In the past four days we picked dismally small numbers, bringing in an income that just barely allowed us to buy the firewood we needed to keep our cooking fire going. Even with the money we had saved from the last market trip, we still wouldn´t have enough to buy the bare minimum of rice and beans to sustain us for the next three days. If we didn´t bring in some money then we would have had to look to last resort options to tied us over until we could get more funds.

Our only real alternative would be to borrow food or money from the few friends we have in the community of Peña Blanca. I´m sure they would have gladly given us what we needed but even thinking about asking for money left me feeling embarrassed. This experience made me appreciate what it must feel like to lean on family members in times of need. This is exactly what The Portfolios of the Poor authors explained through the stories of the families they followed. While interest free loans from family and friends may seem like an easy alternative, the nonfinancial costs and social discomfort often makes it not worth it.

Luckily, Sean pulled a high number from the hat and we were saved from having to face the embarrassing task of asking for help from our friends.
Ann Borwick
7/6/2010 05:38:30 am

Zach - thanks for your email - I loved the most recent video - those kids are incredible, and so are you guys! keep eating...... hugs, Ann

2/21/2012 11:45:31 pm

I love thoughtful blogs on this subject that don't dramatize the matter. Although i do think a dollar a day is too little, in general I think we have lost the values of thriftiness that made nations great during war time rationing. I just wrote my first book and would like to see what you think of it

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7/15/2012 11:29:57 pm

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