Tag Archives: Currency

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.

Lempiras_front

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.

Lempiras_back

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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