To say that not so long ago, Haiti was nicknamed the Pearl of the West Indies. And then dictatorships, corruption, anarchy, repeated hurricanes and finally the terrible earthquake of 2010 brought the country to its knees. So yes, Haiti has problems, but this should not prevent people from coming to visit an island that is still largely preserved, an authentic Caribbean island.
To say that not so long ago, Haiti was nicknamed the Pearl of the West Indies. There were countless people staying there. Bill Clinton, who was not yet president, invited Hillary to their honeymoon in 1975. She thought it was so romantic. And then dictatorships, corruption, anarchy, repeated hurricanes and finally the terrible earthquake of 2010 brought the country to its knees.
Since then, every time we talk about Haiti, it has been to say that it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is hard for Haitians who are proud to live in the first black republic in history to emerge from the only successful slave revolution. So, yes, Haiti has problems, but this should not prevent people from coming to visit an island that is still largely preserved, an authentic Caribbean island.
1- TASTE THE ATMOSPHERE OF COCKFIGHTING
A huge mango tree shades the old gag where cockfights will be fought. In the stands, the atmosphere is boiling. The master of ceremonies collects the bettors’ bottles. Do not misunderstand. He doesn’t care about portable containers that can hold a drink, he’s more interested in Haitian bills denominated in gourds. Two breeders are preparing their champions. Sharpening the dewclaws with shards of Prestige beer, plucking the neck and then anointing it with lemon juice to desensitize the skin. The two gladiators can now hit each other. It’s going to bleed. Another game very popular with Haitians is the lottery or borlette. Banks (counters) in borlette line the streets of cities and countryside.
2- SURVEY THE CHAOTIC DISTRICTS OF PORT-AU-PRINCE
Chaos and Port-au-Prince are two words that go well together. It’s hard to get around. Near the iron market, it is necessary to avoid the frenetic flow of portefaixes, itinerant merchants, and onlookers, escape the tap-tap, these colorful collective taxis with bright colors and enjoying the maxims such as “Thank you Jesus” or “Trust in God”. Chaos, but not K-O. In the evening, the capital is swaying at the Hotel Oloffson, the temple of voodoo rock dear to Richard A. Morse and his group RAM or at the Quartier Latin (Pétionville), a pretty lair for a snack, a drink and good music… By order of President Michel Martelly, the slum has been repainted in a pastel shade. Poverty is probably less painful in color. “Papisela, please.” To understand Creole, it is said that it must be read aloud.
3- DISCOVER THE ARTISTIC VILLAGE OF NOAILLES
In Croix-des-Bouquets, the artistic village of Noailles is undoubtedly the Haitian capital of cut iron craftsmen. There are hundreds of them cutting and hammering sheet metal. Which part will you bring back?
4- VISIT THE WYNNE ECOLOGICAL FARM IN KENSCOFF
Kenscoff, a commune perched at an altitude of 1500 m above Port-au-Prince A magnificent lookout point to contemplate the neighboring mountains with their closely razed slopes, gulped by rain. As elsewhere on the island, the forest has been ratified to provide firewood. In 1956, Victor Wynne, an American civil engineer, bought parcels of land to start a farm. Its objective: to develop and promote sustainable soil management methods to combat erosion. He set up terraced cultivation, introduced South American plants and preserved local species threatened with extinction. His farm quickly transformed into a sanctuary of nature whose exuberance contrasts with the surrounding scenery. When she died, Jane Wynn, her daughter took over the torch. The very seventy-year-old fisherman only left her mountain for a short time to study sociology and a hint of plant biology. Everything else she learned from her father. “The young people come to tell us: we don’t understand the environment, explain to us. “At Jane’s, they knocked at the right door.
5- CROSS THE SAINT-MARC CANAL ON THE CÔTE DES ARCADINS
Go to the island of Gonâve. The cobalt blue sea, the sun, the turquoise blue sea, the sun…, delicate fringes of white foam and an enchanting shoreline. A boat under construction supported by a malignant scaffolding. Workers armed with patience and some DIY tools, including hooks, struggle on the wooden frame. That’s not the children’s problem.