(This is a Guest Post by mi amigo at Finanzas Personales Para Todos, a Peruvian personal finance blog. We met up for lunch one day while he was visiting the States, and we had some good conversations about blogging, families, and cultures. But when he started talking about these “Polladas” I kept wanting to learn more. I hadn’t ever heard of them before, but I really liked the spirit behind it. So I asked my Latin friend if he’d write up a little somethin’ somethin’ for us, and here’s what he sent over. If you’re looking for a PF blog in Peruvian now you have one! :))
Pollo is spanish for chicken. Pollada is peruvian for chicken party. But before explaining what a Pollada is, let’s start by saying Peru is a developing country that has experienced great economic growth in the past years. This economic growth has caused several things: lower poverty levels (official numbers indicate 31.3% of the population live in poverty today – much better than the 54.8% of 2001), increased access to services – financial and otherwise, and better living conditions, amongst many others.
A large part of the population, those who have limited access to financial products, financial education and disposable income (to pay for non basic needs such as insurance), have developed alternative mechanisms to fund their unexpected needs. One of the most emblematic methods is called Pollada. Whenever someone gets sick and the family just can’t afford the medical bills; when a loved one dies and needs to be buried; when debt has gone out of control and there’s no money to pay; or any other time an emergency arises, many Peruvians rely on organizing Polladas to cope with these unexpected expenses.
How do they work? When the financial emergency knocks on one’s door, it becomes time to organize a fund-raising activity, where the community is expected to participate and chip in. The organizer first has to define the nature of the fund-raiser, though. Even though Pollada is one of the classic ways to go, there are many variations to it in terms of the food that is prepared and how the event will develop.
The organizer sells tickets to the Pollada, which usually takes place on Saturdays, among his or her contacts (they basically rely on family members, friends and neighbors, since they would be more likely to give their support and since people try to avoid strangers at this kind of event). This ticket, priced at about $3.00 a piece, offers different things, depending on the nature of the event. Sometimes, it only pays for the chicken serving (usually ¼ of a fried chicken per ticket) which could be picked up at the organizer’s home or delivered. In other times, the event becomes a social gathering at the organizer’s home. It might even turn into a party, if the organizer has considered so, at which other products, such as beer, are sold (with profits contributing further to the fundraising objective). In this case, music and dancing become a central part of the event and the beer that isn’t sold can be returned, reducing the exposure to losses.
This Peruvian tradition is based on the social dynamic of Latin cultures, where family and friends are always there for us. Coping mechanisms such as insurance may be out of the question for many, due to lack of money or simply accessibility, so everyone becomes a part of the solution and knows that, when it’s their time to look out for the support of others, people will come together.
Guest Post by Finanzas Personales Para Todos – a peruvian personal finance blog committed to spreading financial literacy among Spanish speaking communities arund the world. Peru and many countries in Latin America have experienced important economic developments in the recent years, but knowledge about financial products is still low and needs lots of support. This blog aims to help people understand financial concepts and have the tools to take control of their personal finances.
(Photo by miss.libertine)