My musings, thoughts revelations and humorous observations on my life and life in general
I'm going to tell you a secret, it doesn't exist, but we use it all the time. Confusing, I know, but let me give you a mini Haitian Currency history lesson.
In 1813 the Haitian Gourde (Named for gourds used for currency before the island was colonized) was officially introduced. Before this time, Haiti had been using the Haitian Livre, basically a version of the French Livre. When the gourde was introduced, its initial exchange rate was 1 gourde to 8 French livres and 5 sous. Fast forwarding to 1881, and the gourde has now been pegged (associated with) the French Franc, and the exchange rate was re-evaluated to be 1 gourde to 5 francs. (Keep this bit of info tucked away.... it will come in handy in a bit.) Alas the gourde's association with the franc came to an end 21 years later when it became associated with the US dollar, as it still is today.
So what does all this have to do with the Haitian Dollar? Be ready to do some math...
Let's start with the US dollar that we all know and love.
Fortunately, many stores in Haiti accept US money, and the exchange rate is most often 40 gourdes to one US dollar, got that?
Lets keep going...
So remember when I told you that it used to be 5 gourdes to 1 franc? Here in Haiti, they still this conversion, but with a slight difference. Instead of using francs, they use this ratio with the non-existant Haitian Dollar, so 5 gourdes is equal to 1 Haitian dollar.
"How do they use it if it doesn't exist?" you may ask...
Most stores in Haiti use this form of currency. You will see price stickers on everything, and the prices are really low if you think you are looking at a price in gourdes. In reality though, you need to multiply these prices by 5 to get gourdes. So a bottle of olive oil has a price tag of 45 haitian dollars, is actually 225 gourdes and using our US exchange rate, is $5.63.
So if you were to put this whole thing into a ratio of some sort, it would look like this;
US : Gourdes : Haitian Dollar
1 : 40 : 8
So (To mix it up a bit) :
Anything you are curious about? Let me know! If I don't know something, I'll learn all about it and let you know!
In recent months the exchange has changed! It is now 45 Gourdes = 1 USD
200 Gourdes = $4.45 = 40 HTD