La Saladita & High Finance

Last week I took my staff over to La Saladita. They had never been there before and there was some cool stuff that resulted from the day. My good friend Marbella, who worked at CDS for ten years as a housekeeper, joined Maria and Albert and Kleber and me for a little afternoon break...
From all the summer rains the Los Llanos river had created a terrific dry mountainous sand bar at the south end of Saladitas connected to the beach by an isthmus at low tide, making for a great swimming area without surf where Maria and Kleber enjoyed a swim.
As an aside, it is worthy of note how much all the sand carried down by the rivers from these rains should enhance conditions for good surf –as an excellent smooth bottom and sand bars at many breaks may improve the shape and quality of the waves this fall. Count on it. However this story’s focus is on high finance…
So there we were, sitting at Divinas Ramada restaurant watching the sunset and having refreshments. The conversation came around to a subject I knew about but didn’t understand well— the Mexican Tanda.
Basically a “Tanda” is a cooperative scheme that trusted friends enter into in order to save and have access to a larger amount of cash for a given week that otherwise they would have difficulty accumulating on their own.
Then Marbella pulled out a piece of paper and began to explain the concept of the Tanda she operates in detail. It was a fascinating glimpse into their lives and culture. I then received an education from Maria and Marbella on this unique feature of Mexican life.
‘So what is it?’ The tanda is simply a way by which a small group (hers was eleven people) in a community hold money communally for a short time. This money is then used individually at prearranged times via lottery for projects or emergencies. It is an agreement lasting a few months and is often renewed every couple of months as the previous Tanda expires and is paid out.
This cooperative agreement or rotating credit association of Marbellas collects 1,500 pesos per week from each individual for eleven weeks. Each individual has access to all the cash—16,500 pesos—for the given week that they drew in a lottery. Weeks can be exchanged. No interests or dues are earned and no fees and no bank is used. To see a more complete description check out :
The site gives an incredible amount of historical and anthropological information about these cooperatives which although common throughout Mexico are almost unknown and unseen to the tourists visiting...

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