Tuesday, August 3, 2010
SI OU PA JWE, OU PA KA GENYEN - If you don't Play, you can't win
Retired Ti Machan Makes and Sells Coconut Candy back in her Mountain Home
Madame Andrelon came back to our zone after the EQ and she does not plan to return to the city. Here’s what she does now: she makes coconut candy and shares a corner of the pate machan’s little hut down by the Episcopal Church and school.
Her expenses for her small – very small – candy business include;
2 gwo mamite sugar
(Each gwo mamite is the size of a 3 lb coffee can)
150 goudes each = 300 goudes ($7.50 US)
12 Kokoye (coconuts) 500 goudes or about $12.50 US
Spices (anise, essence) 100 goudes = $2.50 US
Total $22.50 US
With all this, she makes two HUGE kivets (basins) of candy.
Of course, someone has to fetch the wood for the fire to boil the coconut and then melt the sugar and coat the candy. She does not buy charcoal for this.
She has to boil the coconut and leave it overnight. The whole production can take about 5 hours, she says. We figure she has to sell 50 pieces of candy at 10 goudes each in order to cover her investment in coconuts. I quickly buy 20 goudes worth of the sticky sweet stuff and share it with everyone.
I discover: This very sweet coconut stuff goes great with Haitian coffee.
She says she will hike to the church at Beausejour, some 10 miles up and down hills, to sell this stuff. She plans to spend the night somewhere and will bring some cooked banana and sauce for herself to eat on the way. Or, she’ll make some sort of soup with old bread, old biskwit, “rasi” they tell me.
We sit outside, by the cookhouse, as the fire burns and the sugar melts.
And I try to do the math. There’s more than a hundred, maybe two hundred, “tablet” of candy in each basin. So, Madame Andrelon could make say 2000 goudes or more from each basin of tablet, or $50.00 US x 2 =
- Expenses 22.50
I realize: This is a small, a very small, business. She works many hours, hikes to hawk it. Somehow, it keeps, stays dry and hard and the ants don’t get it, nor the rats, mice, bugs.
A week later, she is still selling down at the Episcopal Church on Sunday. I want to buy some but I have no change, just a big ole’ 500 goudes note. She slips me two chunks of candy “kredi.”
It’s all I have gotten to eat that day. I devour it.