Below is an article by the Evening Standard's Claire Dodd about her experience visiting Haiti - not as an aid worker, missionary, or Haitian visiting family - but as a tourist. Getting around Haiti may not be easy, but for those with a sense of adventure, it is well worth it. Haiit's history of resistance, rich culture, and artistic traditions make it a unique and rewarding country to visit. People often ask how to help Haiti - but as Jean Cyril Pressoir puts it, “...if you want to help...come as a tourist. Help us break from away from this pre-conceived idea, this prejudice that has us defined as a place where you come to help. Don’t come to help us. Come to enjoy yourself.”
Lee Rainboth, editor of the always insightful and often humorous Green Mango Blog, has completed a book about living in rural Haiti after the earthquake. While the quake is the defining event of the book, it is more about how a community come together after a loss and moves forward together. You can purchase it directly at either Create Space or Amazon. A portion of all proceeds will be devoted to community projects in Mizak. Please consider purchasing the book at either site and then post your thoughts about it in the comments section below.
Below is a guest blog from Nina Persi, an art student who visited Haiti to document the lives of orphans living in Saint Joseph facilities in/around Port au Prince and Jacmel. Having returned to Pennsylvania, she is using her photos to raise awareness about vulnerable children in Haiti (of which there are many) and to raise funds for the Saint Joseph Family, an organization doing exceptional work caring for them. More information on her trip, the Saint Joseph Family, and how you can get involved follows.
Trade is more important to Haiti’s future than aid. This includes agricultural revitalization, industrial development, and perhaps growth in the tourism sector. Jacmel, Haiti’s city of art, has always been one of its most appealing cities. While the city took serious damage during the earthquake, the Capponi Group and the Jacmel Advisory Council are collaborating in the development of Jacmel's downtown, including the construction of a hotel. At the same time, Yele has committed to developing Jacmel’s first tourism training school. Concept art and video can be found on the Capponi Group website. Additional information follows.
Art is the medium through which some first come to know Haiti, and for others, to know Haiti better. Haitian art is too expansive to be confined to shops and galleries – it is found on public transport, on the walls, in churches and Vodoun peristyles alike. Art is Haiti's only inexhaustible resource. When others use the tired phrase "Haiti - the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere", let us counter that Haiti is the culturally richest country in the Western Hemisphere instead.