After committing myself to 4 stressful years of college, I thought it was only right to treat myself to a 3-week getaway to the Pearl of the Antilles: Haiti. As a first-gen Haitian-American, I’ve gotten pretty used to the stories of my home country from my parents. I grew up loving my country’s history and being proud to be Haitian. Unfortunately, the political corruption, socio-economic turmoil, and the poverty that continue to plague the island are all due to the underdevelopment process and the devastating 2010 earthquake. The problems occurring in Haiti continuously occupy headlines, completely overlooking the rich culture, traditions, history, people, and food. My country is more than the negative headlines on news outlets. And for the 25th time in my life, I chose to shut up & buy a $336 round-trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Here are some of the stunning views and beautiful people I’ve witnessed during my stay there:
The streets of Delmas 33, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This street is always bustling with people, street vendors, food, and Haitian cabyonets or tap-taps (Haitian public transportation that are either former pick-up trucks with attached seating in the back). School buses, vans, and motorcycles are also forms of public transportation in Haiti as well.
A Haitian father and daughter walking back home from school on a hill overlooking the city. Do ya’ll peep the American flag shirt he got on?
That’s my aunt and one of the children she usually brings home every day. It’s one of the many side hustles she commits to every day. She told me because Haiti’s unemployment rate is so high, it’s difficult to find a stable job. So she resorts to simple odd jobs to keep the lights on and put food on the table.
Fun fact: These magenta-like flowers are called, Bougainvillea, which is a very common flower in Haiti.
Haitian women vendors in Port-au-Prince. It’s a daily struggle selling on the street. If you walk amongst the streets, you’ll see that most women are vendors. They sell anything from clothes (as shown above), shoes, food, produce, medicine, etc.
Kenscoff is mainly mountainous, with each month overlapping each other and quaint houses resting on top. The views are absolutely breathtaking.
Bathing in the rivière in Kenscoff. This is where Haitians living in the mountains in the area get their fresh water. Since the water is clean and fresh, why not take a dip too?
A strong Haitian grandmother selling raspberries and peaches inside Baptist Mission Haiti. She had such a beautiful soul and knew how to use her words to make people buy her products. Clever granny.
Need a quick lift? Don’t worry, these moto’s got you covered. Motorcycles are a common form of public transportation all over Haiti.
After all, Haiti is the land of the mountains. Look how beautiful the mountains are – almost 3D. In this field, rice and sugarcane are mostly grown. This was taken in Mountrious, Saint-Marc, Haiti.
Before visiting Moulin Sur Mer Beach Resort, we walked through an old sugar cane plantation called Museum Ogier-Fombrun. Colonialism is real, ya’ll. Here is a sculpture of chained slaves attached to a wagon.
Haitian food at the beach. If you’re wondering what that big, round thing on the side is, it’s coconut. It’s huge, right? My aunt had a feast: she ate griot (pork) with a side of tomates (tomatoes) and bananes (plantains).
Haitian boys playing basketball in Kenscoff, Haiti. On this day, My cousin decided to bring a basketball outside to play – next thing you know, there’s a whole match going on. Just like soccer, basketball is very popular in Haiti.
The first time I’ve ever seen clear water like this was also in Haiti, back in 2013. Ever since then, I’ve never stepped foot in American ocean water again. It’s not comparable, at all. This is legit paradise.
An accomplished Raph after a looooooong hike through Kenscoff mountains. At this moment, I felt invincible and proud. Unstoppable because I conquered 3 mountains in one day and appreciative of my beautiful country.
Our perception of places around the world is tainted by headlines that depict what the world is “supposed” to be. As travelers, we must stick with our guts and follows our hearts to become more empathetic, rather than apathetic. This photo diary portrayed how I saw Haiti: un beau pays.