I know before we went to Haiti for the first time, I had NO CLUE what to expect. All I knew was that it was hot there…REALLY hot. So if you are a little curious at all about what life will be like for us, living in Haiti, keep reading! There is so much to tell that I will be breaking this up in 2-3 blog posts.
WARNING: This is based off of our limited knowledge and times there, so of course things may look differently once we are there for some of the things I talk about.
When you first walk off the airplane and step into the city of Port-Au-Prince, you immediately feel the heat and most of all the humidity. As you drive the 5(ish) hour drive that it takes to get to where we will live, you will travel through the capital city of PAP (Port-Au-Prince). You will see traffic like you’ve NEVER SEEN BEFORE. People piled together on one motorbike, Tap Tap’s (their taxi, which is usually a bus or truck filled with 15-20 people crammed into it), people walking right beside your vehicle carrying baskets on their heads with goods that they want you to buy. Tents, little shops and people on both sides of the road setting up their goods for people to buy. There are not really that many stop lights/signs at all. Traffic consists of a crazy flow that has cars/trucks/buses crammed on all sides of each other, with many motorbikes in between all of that. Vehicles just go with the flow and if someone is too slow, they go around them. They will honk sometimes to let the other vehicle know they are passing them or to warn motorbikes. It’s fast pace, it’s chaotic and yet somehow I love it. I find it so fascinating riding in Haiti and I cannot wait until I get to drive for the first time there.
Once you get to Les Cayes, where we will be living, it’s more countryside, more rural. We will actually be living in the village there, not specifically in downtown Les Cayes. You will see valleys of green with mountains in the backdrop. As you get off the main road that you traveled on from PAP to where we live, you will realize the rest of the roads are nothing like that road. The rest of the roads, you will realize, make all bumpy roads in the states feel like smooth riding. 😉 They even recommend not wearing seat belts on these roads, until you hit the main road, because they are SO bumpy that it rubs the seat belt against you uncomfortably. Plus since you are going so slow, because it’s so bumpy, it’s not as big of a concern to wear a seat belt. The roads may have huge craters and chunks taken out, or they may have a stream of water or big rocks you have to go around or through. You will pass donkeys & horses on the side of the road carrying goods on their back and being led by their owners. You will see goats and stray dogs (not like dogs here) everywhere. You will see oxen plowing and doing farm work. It feels like everything has jumped back in time a few hundred years when it comes to certain aspects, which is something I find comforting.
People will have make-shift little tents or wooden structures set up along the sides of each road. Some are just under an umbrella and some don’t have any sort of structure or protection and are just sitting out in the open with their goods to sale. They also have big markets where you buy all the fresh fruits & vegetables. We will have someone we know who is Haitian, go and buy our things from the market because they would charge us 4-10 times the amount because we are not Haitian. They have a grocery store about 10 minutes from where we live, in some ways it’s similar to ours and in others it’s completely opposite. Most of the foods are brands you can’t read or pronounce and they are all labeled in Haitian Gourdes (money). There are many foods there we can still eat that we eat here, but they will just cost a lot more to have there. There are many foods we no longer will be able to eat BUT there are foods THERE that we don’t have in the states that we have enjoyed too. One of my favorite fruits of all time is found in Haiti, it’s called Abricot (not apricot). They make some of the most delicious food there. From fried Akra (not okra), banan peze, Griot, to rice & beans and so much more!
Well, I think that’s enough for now so this doesn’t get too long! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to think a little bit about what it would look like for you to come visit us and how it will be for us living there. Even with all the explanation, it doesn’t do it justice compared to actually coming and experiencing it. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for Part 2!
SIDE NOTE: 6 days left in our T-Shirt fundraiser we are doing to help knock off a little bit from our one-time moving costs. 6 different styles, over 10 different colors and they are super soft! Range between $15-$24.
For short sleeve, women’s fit & kids sizes go to this link: https://www.bonfire.com/starkeys-one-time-moving-costs-to-haiti/
For 3/4 sleeve baseball T-shirt, long sleeve and tank tops go to this link: https://www.bonfire.com/starkeys-one-time-moving-costs-to-haiti-1/
Thanks so much everyone!