Timothy Schwartz

Timothy Schwartz
March 27
Author of "Travesty in Haiti: A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking" AND "Fewer Men, More Babies: Sex, Family, and Fertility in Haiti" (Timotuck@yahoo.com)

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FEBRUARY 19, 2012 11:41PM

EMMA Maps for Post Earthquake Agricultural Labor in Jacmel

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Here I share two EMMA (Emergency Marketing Map Analyses). The reason I am putting them here is because they don't exist anywhere else. My employers for the job for which they were produced didn't appreciate them. Apparently they didn't approve of the use of color gradients and the incorporation of multiple ethnographic dimensions (gender, degree of remuneration, kinship, rural vs urban), and so they did not publish our version of the agricultural labor map. But I and my colleague P. Moliere, from Jacmel--who helped me develop the map--don't agree.  We think what we've done is pretty slick. We are  not aware of anyone else doing this. We think that we have creatively elaborated on what is already a very useful ethnographic tool (Lili Mohiddin and Mike Albu's EMMA developed for Oxfam: see http://fex.ennonline.net/35/emergency.aspx).  And we hope that publishing it here will encourage other researchers to explore and elaborate further on the EMMA.  We also think that the maps we share here are useful to people interested in understanding labor in rural Haiti. So lest they go to waste, here they are.  I put the maps first and then the explanations. (I apologize if they are difficult to read. Anyone interested in a better copy can contact me: Timotuck@yahoo.com).



map 2 

In diagramming the labor market we have conceptually divided the market into the following four categories,


a)      Labor supply: who are the people who work/provide the labor

b)      Labor demand: who are the people who employ the labor

c)      Payment and organization: how the labor is organized

d)     Tasks carried out: what tasks the laborers perform


These categories are conditioned by the four dimensions that characterize labor in rural Haiti: remuneration, urban to rural continuum, gender, and household to public continuum.  In the Map we illustrate the two most salient in understanding the agricultural labor market: “remuneration” and “gender.” [i]


1)      Remuneration


a.       farmers may get labor for free from family and friends (when the labor is performed in a work party of family, neighbors and friends it is called a korvé or a konbit); in both cases it is understood that the beneficiary will provide food; in the case of korvé and konbit he or she must also provide rum,


b.      farmers trade labor through participation in reciprocal labor groups (called squads, eskwad and the actual turn at using labor being referred to as a round, won ); again the beneficiary may be required to provide food and rum in exchange for the work; also note that when a member has incurred the debt of the group through his own labor contributions, he has the right to sell that debt (won) to a third party,


c.       buy labor; this can occur in three forms


o   contract (kontra): the farmer makes an agreement with a single individual for a specific task or sequence of tasks to be accomplished for a specific price; the contracted individual may resort to any of the labor organization and remuneration tactics described above but usually does it himself or with the help of an eskwad.


o   achté moun: the farmer employs people by the day; the price is consistent throughout but varies according to length and whether food and rum is provided


§  jounen  (literally, “a piece of day”) = half day (6 -7 am to 11 am or 12 pm), the price is 50 goud,; coffee and bread must be provided early in the morning, and rum later,


§  de kabes  (this term comes from dominoes, designates a domino piece that has identical numbers on either side—in other words, two half days, something that emphasizes the greater importance of the half day) = full day (6 -7 am to 3 or  4 pm); the price is 100 goud; coffee bread must be provided in the morning, rum as well later on, and at noon the beneficiary must provide a lunch of rice and beans and sauce, and rum (kleren)


§  there is also a jounen that takes the form of 2/3rd of a day (6 -7 am to 1 pm or 2 pm); the price is 75 goud; rum and food must be provided as well


§  the preceding can all be modified to exclude the provision of food and rum, in which case the cost increases 50 goud (total of 150 goud for a full day)


2)      Gender[ii]

 a.       Male -  Men usually, but not exclusively, perform heavy work, such as digging holes and weeding

b.      Female – Women usually, but not exclusively, perform lighter work, such planting and harvesting. Note that there is another factor influencing female participation. Men plant gardens on behalf of women and often in the name of the children that he has sired with the woman. This means that the woman owns the produce. Congruently, women take a keen interest in planting and an even keener interest in harvesting, something that is thought of as a woman’s right. The women then separate the harvest, part for consumption and part to be processed and sold in the market or to madam Sara. The woman will then use the proceeds to finance other .market activities and to support the home and nourish the family,


Illustrating the dimensions with color

The problem with putting the four categories defined above into a diagram while simultaneously illustrating the two dimensions that condition them is that there is significant overlap:  people who fall into the category of labor supply can also be those who demand labor. Moreover, neither dimension is mutually exclusive. Family members may work in a korvé, in a eskwad, or they may work for money; women perform certain tasks while men perform others but sometimes women perform male tasks and, more rarely, vice versa; tasks are often carried out by household members, but sometimes, they are paid or non-household members may render a service.

In order to resolve these problems and conceptually capture them in the EMMA map, we used ranges and introduced color to represent the dimensions of labor participation, reciprocity/remuneration and gender. The color codes are shown below on the left and on the right is and example of labor reciprocity/remuneration as illustrated in the EMMA map. Groups that fall in the bright red areas are more likely to be paid; groups that fall in the yellow areas are less likely to be paid (neither rural to urban nor household dimension was incorporated into the map).[iii]



[i] Household (this is not represented in the EMMA map but could be along the continuum of,


a.       Household domain

b.       Public domain


[ii] Children and age could readily be included as another dimension but for the sake of expediency has not been (see Schwartz 2004, 2007, 2009).


[iii] As the offspring of farmer progress in school and become increasingly familiar with the urban environs and urban ways, they distance themselves from the status of being a farmer.  Boys grow their pinky fingernails long to show they do not perform manual labor and they disdain and denigrate their farming parents and cousins as “mangled feet” (pye pete),  “hillbilly” (neg monn),  “hick” (abitan),  “extreme hick” (kongo),  “ignorant” (inoran),  “uncivilized” (pa sivilize), “animal” (bet), “red teeth” (dan wouj) . But they are not alone in looking down on rural livelihoods and arriving at these conclusions.  Their farming kin help. As children get older and reach achieve higher school rank, their farming parents increasingly forbid them from performing farm work and household labor tasks. When visiting down on the farm, school children in their late teens and early twenties often find themselves with nothing to do and bored  I believe that there is material explanation for this. What farmers value most is free labor but as children become adults they increasingly demand pay or a cut of the harvest or livestock sales; and  most onerous of all, if they stay, they demand part of the family land, an increasingly rare commodity. The way that farmers are able to avoid giving adult children land is by educating them, telling them they are above farm work, and encouraging them to look for  jobs in the city or, better still, emigrate abroad. Doing so has the added advantage of increasing potential remittances.



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