Working At A Salon In Haiti, Spending Money On 'Sexy Clothes'

Maria
Sebastien Narcisse

Maria Theresa Payano works at a salon in Petionville, a neighborhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince. She does waxing. She’s 24, and she moved to Haiti from the Dominican Republic with her mother 11 years ago.

We’ve been asking a wide range of people some basic questions about money. Here are the other entries in this series — including questions for Arianna Huffington, a public school assistant principal and a seventh grader.

We spoke to Maria recently at her salon, and she agreed to answer our questions.

Are you worried about money?

Yes. There are a lot of things going on, so customers don't come to the salon. We have a hard time getting money.

Is there something you bought recently that you regret?

Sexy clothes. (Laughs)

Is there something you saw recently that you really wanted but couldn't buy?

A plane ticket to Venezuela. I have a few personal matters to deal with.

Do you have family in Venezuela?

My husband.

Between you and husband, who spends more money?

I do.

Does your husband get mad and say you need to stop buying so many clothes?

All the time.

What do you say?

Money is there to spend.

Do you save money?

I have a child. I am saving to help him out and maybe move to the Dominican Republic. Every month, I send around $100 or $200 [U.S.].

Are you in debt?

I borrow money from the people I work with here. I do owe a lot of money to people — $200, more or less. It’s five or six months since I borrowed the money. They give me a lot of pressure to pay back.

Note: This is a condensed version of our conversation, and it's translated from Haitian Creole.

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