Money, money, money

26 Jun

“Money speaks sense in a language all nations understand.”

~ Aphra Behn

The Honduran unit of currency is called the Lempira (HNL). Twenty lempiras is roughly the equivalent of one US or Aussie dollar.


Compared to Australia, everything here is cheap. After a few weeks of mentally converting prices from lempiras to dollars, I gave up the habit as I never found a price tag that was cost-prohibitive.

It’s funny how quickly you get used to the new ‘normal’. In my first month here I decided a second pair of jeans would be a useful addition to my wardrobe so went shopping.

I wandered around the local equivalent of Myer* until I found a pair of jeans that not only fit, but were on special for HNL$525.

*A department store called ‘Carrion’, which always makes me imagine vultures feasting on dead animals.

Five hundred and twenty five. That seems like a fairly large amount. Especially when you write it out in words and not numbers.

I ummed and ahhed for about 20 minutes. Did I really need that second pair of jeans? Was it worth spending so much money? Were there other more important purchases I should direct my budget towards?

My indecisiveness was quickly eliminated when it occurred to me HNL$525 was only AUD$27.50. Not a huge expense and certainly not worth the 20 minutes of dithering.

But when you consider the family I met with TECHO had an income of $4750 lempiras per month, HNL$525 suddenly looks like a huge amount of money again.

And the Zara jeans I saw for HNL$1190? Exorbitant.

I guess it’s all relative. Five hundred and twenty five. A pittance for some, a huge amount for others.

Which leads me to the best $25 I’ve spent while here in Honduras.

No, it’s wasn’t spent on my pair of new jeans, or on chilenas de leche, or on my hammock. (Although I am pretty damn excited about the hammock.)

It was a $25 Kiva loan to Don José so he could buy raw ingredients for his business, selling breakfasts and lunches in San Pedro Sula.

If you haven’t heard of Kiva I strongly encourage you to check out their website and consider making a loan.

$25 probably isn’t much for you, but it can make a huge and lasting difference to a Kiva loan recipient.


Note: I have no affiliation with Kiva, apart from having made several loans; I just think they’re a super organisation and well worth supporting.

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