About Patricia Borns

Boston Globe correspondent. Miami Herald report. Videographer documenting Haiti's informal economy. Multimedia journalism MA candidate at University of Miami.


A woman walks a mountain road above Ka-Blain selling carrots from her farm. The women who buy, transport and resell the produce are called madam saras. This is how the produce of 700,000 Haitian farms reaches urban markets. Two days after Hurricane Sandy, madam saras vie to buy the scant crops at an informal roadside […]

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The Border

While Dominican soldiers forbid the sale of Haitian products at the binational market, the Haitian government threatens to restrict the border trade so it can collect more import duties. Both policies make it all but impossible for the women of Ansapit to earn a living.

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Madame Gerard

Madam Gerard is a madam sara living in Ka-Blain. “Madam sara? You want me to tell you what it means? You buy, you resell, that’s madam sara,” Gerard explains. Millions of Haitian women do this work, financing small farmers by buying their crops and distributing them to urban markets. The cash market system you see […]

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Life After Retail

“I remember very well the day they came in,” says Beverly, a volunteer at Suncoast Pinellas in St. Petersburg, FL, who declined to give her last name. From a dump in Pedernales, DR, piled high with pepe (used clothes), I tracked a shirt to Suncoast Pinellas, a St. Petersburg, FL hospice outlet that collects used […]

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“We know we have neglected them.” In the Haitian suburb of Petionville  the sidewalks are stacked with paintings of markets and market women wearing head scarves and turbans.  Behind the scenes are hundreds of real markets and millions of women who run them, called madam sara, ti machann, and other names. Together they run a […]

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