As part of our guest blog series, we hope to show you Haiti’s diversity by providing an assortment of perspectives from within Haiti. This guest blog post was written by 17 year old Atalide Beaulieu, who was born and raised in Haiti. She attends a Catholic school in Port-au-Prince where she her classes are all in French. She feels strongly that Haiti should be portrayed more positively in the media, and that its unique culture be exposed to the world. She told us, “I never let people say bad thing about Haiti because that’s the only place where I feel at home. And also I don’t believe that my country is ” poor ” because we don’t have beautiful buildings and a lot of kids are hanging in the streets begging for money “. Problems are a part of life. We may not have all the luxury in the world but we have the most important and the essential.”
Often, not to say always, the international media sources project a negative image of Haiti. Yes, most of us live in poor conditions; yes, most of the children don’t have the chance to go to school. Yes, we’re still living with the memories of January 12, when the earth trembled. But what the media does not show the world is the good side of our country!
Haiti is a country where the majority is poor and a minority is wealthy, but no matter what we are going through, we are really strong and always have a joy for living.
Living in Haiti is NOT easy. Sometimes it is unbearable because of the weather and the mosquitoes, we also have some problems like electricity and the quality of some roads. The EDH (Haiti’s Electricity) used to barely provide us with electricity but right now they’ve improved the quality of the service that they are providing. Some neighborhoods have electricity about 20/24 hours, a major improvement! But if you want electricity 24/24 you can buy an inverter, or solar panels.
Some roads have a lot of holes in them, and in places like Route de Frères, Delmas, and Petion-ville the traffic is ridiculous! So you’ll have to leave your house at least 1hour in advance if you don’t want to be late! And after the rain, trash often ends up in the streets so it’s almost impossible to go through it! And the tradeswoman refuse to stay in the markets so they invade the streets, which are really annoying and slows down the traffic.
However, Haiti is a culture rich with tradition…If you want to have diner, lunch or breakfast in Haiti IT’S POSSIBLE! We have a lot of restaurants serving international dishes (Italian, Arabic, Chinese, French cuisine). If you want to have some finger licking sushi I would recommend Lunch Box (which is a more casual restaurant located in a mall—you can stop there and eat something while shopping). Or if you’re looking for something more sophisticated, check out View Restaurant. The first Jamaican restaurant in Haiti, Kingston18, launched last December serving good Jamaican dishes at affordable prices. And an Irish pub also launched a couple of months ago, serving good Irish dishes and classic dishes like hamburger & fries! So we have various restaurants if you want to have a good dining experience in Haiti.
The Haitian version of a slush is called Fresco, and it is produced with syrup made from natural fruits! I wouldn’t recommend the ones in the streets, but I know a place called Lily’s Fresco, which serves very good fresco made in front of you, and you have so many flavors to choose from. By far one of the best pastry experiences you will ever encounter, Patisserie Marie Belliard, is located in Pétion-Ville. It is one of the many examples of Haitian culinary mastery. This bakery uses everything in the right proportion to create light, airy and fresh creations that will literally make you feel as if you’re in heaven with every bite.
Night life in Haiti is exciting!! Some entertainment companies like to bring international DJs & singers, we have some festivals & gastronomic events, we have a Jazz festival every year, beach parties, happy hours at some bars & restaurants , stand-up comedy shows; you won’t get bored easily . We have very comfy hotels and a 5 Star hotel: the Royal Oasis. We have an underground museum, and lots more.
Family is really important to us, we like to have dinner on Sundays, enjoy homemade meals and laughter. We have nice spots to hang with friends like Pizza Garden (the service is slow sometimes but it’s worth it), and Fior Di latte, where they serve the best ice cream in Port au Prince.
Despite the fact that we have a lot of people who can’t read or write, we have great schools, congregational schools, we have American schools too & some schools owned by a specific family. We call these schools private courses.
When it comes to shopping, Haiti we have plenty nice stores with nice items but the prices are very high compared to other countries. However, if you’re looking for artisanal fashion items made exclusively in Haiti I would suggest “veve bags” by Phelicia Dell, “T-mel “bags by Melissa Etienne or “Collection doree “a line with various fashion pieces for women.
Haiti may have a lot of problems but nothing is all white or black! Everything in this world have his positive and negative aspect so we need to make the best of it and enjoy, because Haiti is a wonderful country despite all! To try it, is to love it!
What is your perspective on Haiti? If you’re interested in blogging for us, email [email protected] . All pictures for this post were submitted by Atalide.