Poor vs Rich

May 29, 2006
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Hig?ey has a vibrant emerging economy, first as a distribution hub and second as a workforce for the Punta Cana resorts. Given that the vast majority of adults grew up under tin or even thatched roofs, they've come a long way. Around here, anyone with glass windows is middle class, and anyone with an SUV is *rich*. Those folks living in the shanty send their two kids off to school everyday. Meanwhile, I know of plenty of families who live in shoebox apts for 2000-3000/month who can't afford to send their kids to school. Life is full of choices.
 
May 29, 2006
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The most common new construction in our sector is small ranches with gated garages. Cistern in the garage then a tinaco on the roof. They convert the shanties bit by bit and eventually they can finance an income apt above the home. It's a goal that's attainable by most dual income families, even if takes ten years. There are six crews working within a few blocks of our place: three apt builds and three ranch upgrades. Another dozen projects are on hold until financing comes along. Our apt was just finished a few months ago. This is a typical project:

14925247_10210328901236407_8456947975345816802_n.jpg
 

bob saunders

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Hig?ey has a vibrant emerging economy, first as a distribution hub and second as a workforce for the Punta Cana resorts. Given that the vast majority of adults grew up under tin or even thatched roofs, they've come a long way. Around here, anyone with glass windows is middle class, and anyone with an SUV is *rich*. Those folks living in the shanty send their two kids off to school everyday. Meanwhile, I know of plenty of families who live in shoebox apts for 2000-3000/month who can't afford to send their kids to school. Life is full of choices.

yes, wealth is relative to the country that you live in.
 

bob saunders

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The most common new construction in our sector is small ranches with gated garages. Cistern in the garage then a tinaco on the roof. They convert the shanties bit by bit and eventually they can finance an income apt above the home. It's a goal that's attainable by most dual income families, even if takes ten years. There are six crews working within a few blocks of our place: three apt builds and three ranch upgrades. Another dozen projects are on hold until financing comes along. Our apt was just finished a few months ago. This is a typical project:

14925247_10210328901236407_8456947975345816802_n.jpg

Absolutely that is the way it is done throughout Latin America, not just the DR.
 
May 29, 2006
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Newer construction has room for a car, older construction room for a moto. Dog on the roof is extra.
 

rfp

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The question remains ... if you had a few million pesos, why would you construct a house in the ghetto ?

Its charming and all but GringoRubio wont be there for more than a year. If someone has been marginally successful why stay in the hood long term. I can understand the go-native phase for a few months but actually spending real money to stay there blows my mind
 
May 29, 2006
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This is what I see within a few blocks of our place. I'd say the second rung is the most common. Asterisks are a glitch.

Five levels of poverty here. No idea of the percentages of the population, though I'd guess these apply to more than half the country's population.

The bottom:*
Squatters in homes made from foraged materials though some may rent shanties for a few hundred pesos. Cook over either open fires or charcoal(when they can afford it). Meals cooked for extended family to save on fuel. Kids forage for food whenever they can, no school. Chamber pots are dumped into gutters or streams.* Monthly income: under 2000, mostly from day labor. Household water in one or two five gallon buckets.

First rung:
Living in rented shanties under 200 sq ft.* Charcoal main cooking fuel.* They may have a gas stove when they can afford fuel.* Chamber pots dumped into communal toilet shared by one or more apts. Water in buckets and 55 gallon barrel. Monthly income: under 5000. As with the bottom, plantain, yucca and pumpkin are staples. Sparce meat, mostly used for flavor. Unsecured financing from richer relatives who charge interest.

Second rung:
Living in shanties/casitas on their own property or in shoebox apts.* Cooking* done by gas.* Rice is the main staple with pasta once or twice a week.* TV and blender in every home, washer shared by extended family. Water stored in 55 drum or small tinaco. Higher paying work can be offset by motorcycle or transportation costs.* First level where owning a working fridge is common. Meat most days, though it may be under an ounce per person. Financing often done by pawning or *street loans*. Monthly income: 8,000-12,000.

Third rung.*
Mother and father both working, small child care often done by extended family.* Cinder block home with poured roof.* Glass windows, fans.* Tinaco and cistern.* Laptops and computers. Food shopping at big grocery stores is routine, in part because the wife has little time to cook.* Possible car, mostly for weekend trips.* Kids have their own TVs.* Backup electric system in some homes. Up to half of all food bought from food stands. Bank accounts and financing capital purchases common. Monthly income up to 20,000.

Forth rung:
Income apt added to home.* Family is mostly debt free or has clear path to it.* Middle class by Dominican standards on par with working poor in the US but Dominicans have less debt and property ownership. Monthly income 20-25,000 plus rental income up to 6,000. The Dominican dream for many.
 
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GringoRubio

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This is what I see within a few blocks of our place. I'd say the second rung is the most common. Asterisks are a glitch.

Five levels of poverty here. No idea of the percentages of the population, though I'd guess these apply to more than half the country's population.

The bottom:*
Squatters in homes made from foraged materials though some may rent shanties for a few hundred pesos. Cook over either open fires or charcoal(when they can afford it). Meals cooked for extended family to save on fuel. Kids forage for food whenever they can, no school. Chamber pots are dumped into gutters or streams.* Monthly income: under 2000, mostly from day labor. Household water in one or two five gallon buckets.

First rung:
Living in rented shanties under 200 sq ft.* Charcoal main cooking fuel.* They may have a gas stove when they can afford fuel.* Chamber pots dumped into communal toilet shared by one or more apts. Water in buckets and 55 gallon barrel. Monthly income: under 5000. As with the bottom, plantain, yucca and pumpkin are staples. Sparce meat, mostly used for flavor. Unsecured financing from richer relatives who charge interest.

Second rung:
Living in shanties/casitas on their own property or in shoebox apts.* Cooking* done by gas.* Rice is the main staple with pasta once or twice a week.* TV and blender in every home, washer shared by extended family. Water stored in 55 drum or small tinaco. Higher paying work can be offset by motorcycle or transportation costs.* First level where owning a working fridge is common. Meat most days, though it may be under an ounce per person. Financing often done by pawning or *street loans*. Monthly income: 8,000-12,000.

Third rung.*
Mother and father both working, small child care often done by extended family.* Cinder block home with poured roof.* Glass windows, fans.* Tinaco and cistern.* Laptops and computers. Food shopping at big grocery stores is routine, in part because the wife has little time to cook.* Possible car, mostly for weekend trips.* Kids have their own TVs.* Backup electric system in some homes. Up to half of all food bought from food stands. Bank accounts and financing capital purchases common. Monthly income up to 20,000.

Forth rung:
Income apt added to home.* Family is mostly debt free or has clear path to it.* Middle class by Dominican standards on par with working poor in the US but Dominicans have less debt and property ownership. Monthly income 20-25,000 plus rental income up to 6,000. The Dominican dream for many.

Fairly good. I see many people in the 1st rung that have a household income of 10,000 pesos. I've even seen single people living at that level with the same income. I suspect they are paying past debts from previous unemployment and/or medical issues.

I was really surprised by how much financing and credit play in the economy. I would think it would be a cash and carry economy, but it's not. I knew the colmados offer credit, but it seems everybody lives one or two paychecks (or 3-4 weeks) behind. They'll come in promptly at the 15th or 30th to pay what they owe only to incur new debt. It's just a way of life.

It seems to be a basic principle that all resources are consumed to exhaustion as fast as possible. If I buy a ten pound bag of rice, it's consumed within a few days. If I buy a second ten pound bag of rice, everyone groans because they are tired of rice. If I explain that rice (if kept dry) will not spoil, and they don't need to consume all the rice before buying something else, they scratch their heads and stare like cavemen contemplating multiplication. It's a very foreign concept. (Wait! Run this by me again. We don't need to eat the 10 lbs of rice before we buy plaintains?)

I had to take my stash of Te de Jamaica into hiding because it was discovered and being consumed as fast as possible and would have been depleted in days.

It's been a major clashing point between myself and my girlfriend as she'll blow all the household cash on the 15th only to run up credit during the month. I go apoplectic at even the thought of this, but I've come to the conclusion that it's just very Dominican.

And, a work in progress to change these habits. How do you accumulate wealth if you blow all your cash on the 15th? She badly wants a pasola, but I'm forcing her to save for it. It's almost comical watching her try to grasp the concept much less execute on it. When she started to get the hang of it and money accumulated in the bank account, a call came in that her mother needed an operation and she sent all the saved money for that. The strategy didn't bear fruit, so now she's reluctant to start again as yet another family member will need assistance, so what's the point? Sigh.

However, I think the credit based economy might be at the heart of the issue of poverty. Well, that and the basic lack of opportunity. However, even if they get some decent cash flow, they still have basic issues to overcome.
 
May 29, 2006
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Many are held down by supporting extended families. Any surplus is spread thin. My first lesson on this was about a year ago when La Sirena had a Christmas sale on toilet paper, a pack of four, half price. Three days later, we only have about a half roll. One went to her dad and the other two to her sister, because she has a bigger family. So we paid double for the one roll we had. Now I buy at the colmado and hide a backup roll.
 

bob saunders

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Many are held down by supporting extended families. Any surplus is spread thin. My first lesson on this was about a year ago when La Sirena had a Christmas sale on toilet paper, a pack of four, half price. Three days later, we only have about a half roll. One went to her dad and the other two to her sister, because she has a bigger family. So we paid double for the one roll we had. Now I buy at the colmado and hide a backup roll.

Funny how you mention toilet paper, my MIL who pays no rent, or any other bills and gets about 10,000 a month of us to buy whatever she wants, will not buy toilet paper. She will wait until she has none left and then tell me, same for coffee.
We have close to a storehouse of goods in one of our bedrooms that we dole out as required.
 

GringoRubio

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Oct 15, 2015
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Many are held down by supporting extended families. Any surplus is spread thin. My first lesson on this was about a year ago when La Sirena had a Christmas sale on toilet paper, a pack of four, half price. Three days later, we only have about a half roll. One went to her dad and the other two to her sister, because she has a bigger family. So we paid double for the one roll we had. Now I buy at the colmado and hide a backup roll.

Classic. I love it. Every resource must be depleted ASAP.
 
May 29, 2006
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Before I got into the habit of buying a backup, I usually found out we were out of TP on Sunday mornings with no menudo in the house and a couple thousand peso notes in cash. Good luck trying to break one of those on a Sunday morning! Water, coffee, sugar, TP and canned milk are the main things I take care of. I also keep stashes of a half dozen essentials that tend to be *borrowed*. Who borrows salt? Who borrows laundry detergent? Perfectly normal here.

I have in-laws on all but the lowest level.* An aunt and uncle get occasional work and food money from mi esposa and on the other side and an aunt and uncle who rent a home near the basilica who have just moved to Nueva York.* The first uncle helps with the business and has been doing day labor prepping our solar for construction.

One of mi esposa's sister has a home business; her husband works and they have a boarder who pays nominal rent.* They just upgraded the front half of their home to finish over the cinder block, but the back half still has tin roofs and the kids sleep under nets.* We recently financed a back up power system for them and we have more projects lined up.* Basically everything the sister makes goes into upgrading their home.

The other sister rents her casita from us, which pays a third of the rent of our apt.* The brother lives in a shoebox apt in town, but does well as a resort musician.*

The father lives just above the bottom and lives almost entirely on support from his kids.* He rents half his casita to a Haitian family for 2000/month which gives him some pocket money.* The plan is to eventually tear his place down and build a duplex that would include an apt for him.
 

GringoRubio

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Before I got into the habit of buying a backup, I usually found out we were out of TP on Sunday mornings with no menudo in the house and a couple thousand peso notes in cash. Good luck trying to break one of those on a Sunday morning!

My local is Colmado is nearly cashless, so I couldn't even break a 500 peso note. I finally opened an account which I try to keep as close to zero as possible, but I can hand over a mil note without worrying if he can break it.

Before I got into the habit of buying a backup, I usually found out we were out of TP on Sunday mornings with no menudo in the house and a couple thousand peso notes in cash. Good luck trying to break one of those on a Sunday morning! Water, coffee, sugar, TP and canned milk are the main things I take care of. I also keep stashes of a half dozen essentials that tend to be *borrowed*. Who borrows salt? Who borrows laundry detergent? Perfectly normal here.

I've learned never to keep a surplus of anything unless it is hidden. It just disappears. Of course, the neighbors often provide meals, etc., so maybe it evens out. I have no idea.
 

JD Jones

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It's pretty common to see homes here with locks on the Pantry and closets.
 

bob saunders

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yes , we have keyed drawers in our closets and my MIL keeps her closet locked at all times, as well as the door to her bedroom.
 

AlterEgo

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It's pretty common to see homes here with locks on the Pantry and closets.



I thought it was awful the first times I saw that, but when we put in our new kitchen we had locks put on half the cabinets. All bedrooms have locks too. *When we're there we don't lock anything , but we do when we leave for US. Self preservation after losing so much stuff
 
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USA DOC

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Something I learned the hard way, years ago in the DR., You can take the Girl out of the barrio, You cant take the barrio out of the Girl.............Doc...........
 

AlterEgo

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Something I learned the hard way, years ago in the DR., You can take the Girl out of the barrio, You cant take the barrio out of the Girl.............Doc...........



Applies to the guys too. *There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. *
 
May 29, 2006
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It's pretty common to see homes here with locks on the Pantry and closets.

That's also to keep the kids from eating between meals. I can buy a box of 20 crackers for 80 pesos or get them at the colmados for five pesos each. No lock and ten will be gone the first time I leave the house.