In Haiti, If Someone Gets Your Goat, That’s a Good Thing
Friday, December 23, 2005
“Live Goat: $60; Live Chicken: $7; Live Turkey $28; Live Pig: $180.”
The barnyard animals aren’t actually out back foraging — they’re in Haiti fattening up. But for Haitian expatriates with money earned in the U.S., animals make great gifts — much warmer than cash — for the folks back home. Soca says it sells about 10 goats a week. “Haitian people eat goats during every festivity,” says William Regis, a Soca store manager. “We arrange for the goat to be delivered. It’s a Christmas tradition.”
Yolette Predestin, a Haitian nursing-home worker in nearby Randolph, Mass., spent $65 at CAM to ship a goat to her sister in Port-au-Prince. “I buy here every month,” Ms. Predestin, 50 years old, says. “If I send her money, she’ll just spend it on something else, and then no one will eat.”
Manuel Orozco, an economist with the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, estimates that goods and services remittance could easily account for 10% of the total value of migrants’ earnings going back to their countries. Just in Latin America, that adds up to sales of about $6 billion a year, including Christmas shipments of $1 billion.
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