Last week, a blogger named Tynan wrote about his experiences couch-surfing in Haiti. He was initially nervous about visiting Haiti due to the images of burning tires and protests one sees so often on the television and news-paper. Couch surfing allowed him to see some of the most positive aspects of Haitian culture such as the warmth, hospitality, and humor. His trip to Haiti went without incident. Ironically enough, he was mugged durng the next leg of his trip in the Dominican Republic. The blog entry is copied below.
Today is the second Sunday into Carnival season and all the antics are already in full swing and from now on they will build and build each Sunday up until Mardi Gras. Bourik (BOS) had a chance to get up close and personal with an original karnaval troupe in Cayes Jacmel.
Goats, chickens, cows, and bulls, are very much the sacrificial animals (not Bourik BOS) of Haiti and voodooists. Like turkeys in the United States near Thanksgiving these animals in Haiti get the shakes sometime near July 16th, when Festival Saut d’Eau takes place. Sodo, in Kreyòl, is the site of one of Haiti’s largest religious pilgrimages. Lore has it that the Virgin Mary appeared here long before the death of many the sacrificial fauna.
For Peace Corps Volunteers living on the Central Plateau, Cap Haitian was a nice city to spend a long weekend in. Sure, the road was unbelievably rough, but there are nice hotels, restaurants, and beaches. Of those beaches, Labadee is one of the nicest and is basically set aside for Royal Carribean. According to the Miami Herald, Royal Carribean and the Haitian Government recently inked a deal to expand the cruise line's operations in Haiti significantly.
I don’t fully realize why I put myself through it until days afterwards when the tightness subsides, the soreness in the muscles evaporates and the numbness of my body dissolves making movements like standing, sitting and walking possible without grunting or wincing. It is only after all this that I begin to recall and can share the stories of the many amazing people and encounters had along the road. And it is only after this that I have the mind to really appreciate the beauty of the experience. And equally be astonished by the absurd contrasts of unequivocal spirits against relentlessly hard living. The French poet and philosopher Andre Malraux after visiting Haiti for the first time decades ago said of it, “Surrealism finally has a country.”
Websites do more than give information. They tell stories. Unfortunately, the website of the Haitian Embassy in Washington DC is not doing a good job of conveying, what is one of the most interesting histories in the Western Hemisphere.
We all know that Haiti once had a tourism industry...before the HIV/AIDS scare, several coup d'etats, and the kidnapping crisis. The much more difficult questions concern whether Haiti could/will have one again and whether time spent in this sector would be better spent on infrastructure, education, etc.