African Diaspora Forum | Graduate Students
|African Diaspora Forum|
|Topic: Alternative Banking/credit in West Indies?|
|June 9, 2003
Could someone out there supply the names of some of the other alternate informal banking networks that working-class west Indians utilize as an alternative to official banks. I'm most familiar with the Jamaican "partner" system, but the names of the Trinidadian and Barbadian systems, for example, are escaping me for the moment.
"Han'" (hand) and "sou-sou," but I forget which is which. I think"sou-sou" is Trinidadian.Christian
In The Bahamas it name 'asue.'
"L. Rosanne M. Adderley"
The nature, derivation and usage of various terms for various systems should definitely be researched in the ever emerging bodies of dictionaries in Caribbean creole languages . . "sou sou" mentioned in a previous post is a clear cognate with "asue" which may be of Yoruba derivation . . . Holm & Shlling cite "esusu" . . . as related Yoruba term for example. (Please note that I cannot render Yoruba orthography correctly in this email program.) The challenge with researching in such dictionaries may be that many of them may be locally produced/locally published volumes, and therefore not necessarily easy to track down via conventional library searches, electronic or otherwise.
'Sousou' is the Trinidad form for the system, 'sousou han' for the sum paid to the person whose turn it is to receive money.
"Sou-sou" or susu is the name of the informal African-based banking system in Trinidad. "Han" is the designated sum of money that each member receives. This (Han) is based on several factors: 1. the number of members in the susu, 2. the amount of their weekly/monthly deposit, which remains stable, and the duration of the susu. These factors are determined and agreed upon by the participating members at the beginning of a susu.
The name of the T&T system is "susu" or sometimes written as "su su" or "sou sou" -- there may even be other spellings. The Barbadian system is called "meeting turn", commonly shortened in oral communication as "turn."
I believe "Han'" is really the money a participant "banks" -- or lodges with the "banker" each it is his/her turn to contribute. In Jamaica, for example, a participant "throws" a "Han'" in[to] the "Partner". I don't think the word is normally used as the name of the system. But then again, there are so many variations in the way the systems operate, I could be wrong.
I also remember a colleague once saying that a similar system exists in Nova Scotia, Canada, but I haven't been able to find out more about it.
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