The room filled up with people. I felt on the spot, with 500 dollars in my pocket and a contract held up to my face. This is how things work here. The systems that we us for security and financial choices at home are insurance and credit cards. Here, with no official intermediaries, people do it for themselves. If I want 500 dollars of bronze sculptures made for me, this is how it works. I ask a friend. The friend asks a friend who knows somebody. People choose to do it this way, even if they have a direct contact themselves. That way me and the bronze maker each have somebody representing us in the deal. Officially the artist cant run off with my money, and I cant go back on the deal afterwards, as we are held responsible by the other people. I actually hate this system, as everyone speaks in Mossi, and I don’t really get whats going on, and usually feel people are making deals behind my back. I prefer to work directly with the person I am paying, but the logic for this system is sound, in a world where people can dissapear with the loot so easily, and there are no police to go chasing them down. Just takes a bit of getting used to for me.
A home made solution to finances that I love a lot more is with women in the villages. In the village, people run on the barter system still in many situations. But there are certain things that require money- flip flops, fabric, plastic water jugs- basically just the things people don’t grow themselves. The women would never have the money they need to buy these important provisions if they were just saving up on their own. So they put equal amounts of money together and give it all to one woman each month. If 6 women each put in 5 dollers, one woman will have thirty dollers, and the next month the next woman will. With this, she can buy the things her family needs.
Both of these are example of the trust people have in their social networks. It is so different from the things we put our trust in, in our country!