The Haiti Experience came about as a result of the death of my brother’s grandmother in Gonaïve located in the Northern Region of Haiti which is also the capital of Artibonite Department. My first priority was to show my support to him and his family, but I also wanted to take the opportunity to document my experience and dispel some misconceptions many people have about this beautiful island. My hopes are to showcase this wonderful island, it’s amazing culture, food and beautiful people.
Our Journey started off in the Sunshine state of Florida, in the city of Fort Lauderdale where we boarded our flight aboard Spirit Airlines headed to Port Au Prince Haiti. The 703 mile flight took approximately an hour and forty five, but my excitement helped the time pass by rather quickly. Port Au Prince airport was beautiful; I had to make a quick stop at the Natcom Communication booth for a sim card for Internet access and then it was off into the local traffic for food and journey to my temporary home in Pelerin 11, way up high in the mountains. The photo below shows the view from our home just a few steps outside my door step. First stop was Berger Restaurant in Tabarre, the four of us ate for about $17.00 US which included four Prestige (the widely consumed beer of Haiti), fried chicken with fries. I had an opportunity during this trip see and use some of Haiti’s public transportation. I often saw pick up trucks with their beds covered lined with seats on both sides with commuters inside. These are called tap-taps, it’s basically local, public transportation on four wheels; it can be a former US school bus, but you can also see loads of commuters riding motos (motorcycles). The moto is one of the quickest forms of transportation because of it’s ability to slip in and out of traffic. After lunch, I spotted a merchant selling sugarcane across the street from the restaurant; I couldn’t resist buying, so I did. I purchased five very large canes for $2.00 US dollars. We were off again in route home; the streets were lined with merchants, but one common theme were tons of billboards displaying candidates running for office. We happen to be in Haiti during a Primary Election for Deputies similar to the elections we have here in the states for Senators every two years.
Back to journey, now a trip wouldn’t be a trip unless it was packed with adventure. Our first adventure came in the form of car problems, a flat tire to be exact. What do you do when you have car problems in Haiti? You change the tire and put on a spare if you have one, but in the event you don’t have a spare; well, this is were it gets interesting. You call a moto to go pick up the owner of the Tire Repair Shop and the bring him to your rescue. And that’s exactly what transpired; two hours later we were back on the road. That was an amazing experience to me, because it was so convenient. We then took a trip to a local mart where you see the photos of the guinep fruit to pick up some avocados. We finally made it home, so I snapped a few selfies and then it was off for more food. It appears as if I ate a lot, but that wasn’t the case. Traffic in Haiti is TERRIBLE, a 10 minute commute can easily turn into an hour trip, plus the heat factor will make you want to consume everything. When hunger strikes, we have to move quickly, therefore we hoped on a tap-tap and moto to our next destination in Thomassin. This local take out restaurant was rooftop with a view, Poulet Barbecue Bar-b-q Chicken. The photos display the coal used to grill the chicken. The meal was delicious; I washed it down with a cold Coca-Cola (made with real sugar). My belly was full, time to take a break on the hammock and watch the stars before calling it a night.
Please stay tuned, more blogs coming about the Haiti Experience. Next Blog is, “The Commute to Gonaive”.