With Western Union and Suriname banking barely functional, I've resorted to accessing my funds via the inside of spice jars. The irony is not lost on me that I have crypto holdings on a decentralized blockchain, but to obtain the goods needed for daily life, fiat smuggled into the country via airfreight is the way I am surviving this crisis.
The Most Expensive Sambar Powder Ever?
I must say I wasn't terribly optimistic this plan was going to work, but already in need of some Indian spices and having found an affordable air-freight forwarder, I decided to have my Mom put $200 USD in the sambar powder as a test run.
Well, "the proof is in the pudding" as they say, or in this case, sambar powder. Inflation is rampant here in Suriname, and EUROS and USD have become almost non-existent, with nobody wanting to hold any significant amount of the SRD (Suriname Dollar), leaving the whole country in a bit of a pickle.
Rumor has it there's a guy in Suriname that will buy crypto for SRD, but from my understanding his cut makes the rate comparable to receiving money from Western Union and exchanging it for SRD on the street, so for now, hiding money in much-needed Indian spice shipments seems to be the most sustainable option to keep the family fed.
The crisis here in Suriname seems to get worse and worse by the day, and I'm not too optimistic about the near future. With such a small economic footprint, Suriname will have a tough time reversing this economic stagnation any time soon.
There are things to be happy about on this day, especially $200 cash, a bottomless bag of cashews, yeast flakes, mustard seeds, and more. I've got to now make some tough choices and decide whether or not I want to up the stakes and send a little more cash next time.
One thing is for sure, uncovering cash from cling-wrap made me feel like a pirate, and comparing that feeling to standing in endless lines at various Western Unions for hours on end, usually only to be told there's no more money left, I'll choose secret pirate shipments every time.
Stay tuned for some new delicious recipes making use of this shipment too...