All in Life in Haiti

YAMEN Reflection: From Cambodia to Haiti

I have been in Haiti for a month and so far it’s been all about adjustment, learning new things, cultural observation, eating new foods, and learning new languages. I’m starting to adapt to a lot of things, like speaking two second languages all day, waking up to the sound of Kreyol all around the house, traveling with new public transportation, saying hello to people along the way.

Good Friday on Mon Kalve

About an hour east of Port-au-Prince, just off the the road that leads to Santo Domingo, sits Mòn Kalvè (Calvary Mountain), a pilgrimage site during Holy Week here in Haiti. Starting just after dawn on Good Friday, a friend and I hopped on motos and made our way to the base of the mountain. We joined the faithful making their slow pilgrimage to the top (...)

Celebrate Haiti's Independence with Soup Joumou, Haitian Squash Soup

Haiti's history is truly remarkable. After hundreds of years of brutal slavery as part of the French colonial empire, the slaves on the French-controlled part of the island of Hispaniola (present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) rebelled and overthrew the French, creating the world's first black republic in 1804. On January 1st, Haiti celebrates that independence, and a central part of that celebration is soup joumou.

Bonbon Siwo, Haitian Gingerbread

This holiday season, add the flavors of Haiti to your holiday table with bonbon siwo, Haitian gingerbread. Bonbon siwo is a warmly spiced, tropical gingerbread from Haiti, made over charcoal fires along busy market streets. This Haitian gingerbread cake is dark and dense with coconut milk and blackstrap molasses, and boldly flavored with fresh ginger, cloves and cinnamon.

Serving Through the Generations

In their role as MCC Representatives in Haiti, Paul and Rebecca Shetler Fast visit projects, individuals, and community groups. Recently Paul was talking with the head of Haiti’s largest health care system and asked where he got his start in medicine. The man credited an MCC clinic in Grande-Rivière-du-Nord…the very clinic that Paul’s grandfather, Dr. John Bender, founded 57 years ago.

Spring Reading Recommendations

No matter where you live, the cooler months are a great time to curl up with a memorable book. Even in Haiti, the temperature drops, and you can enjoy a refreshing breeze while lounging in your yard and sipping tea! Here are our "picks" for some great Haiti reading!


One year ago this Thanksgiving, I had never stepped foot in Haiti or walked its mountains. I had never believed such a small place could be so beautiful. I had never seen houses flattened by a storm, or seen a place I love put forward as a definition of hopelessness. Never imagined we would be so welcomed. Never been so impressed by resilience and hope in the face of long odds.

Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou

Dieujuste Saint-Surain stands in his field in Senk-Pòt, Haiti, holding up two freshly harvested joumou (Haitian Creole for calabaza squash). He hands one over with a smile. It is cool, smooth and surprisingly heavy for its size. Haiti has seen two years of drought, and this culturally and nutritionally important food is becoming harder to find in local markets.