Haiti is Captivating
The international press diffuses a single narrative of Haiti - one of political instability, malnutrition, disease and devastation. "The poorest country in the Western hemisphere" - this is how Haiti is too often described, ignoring the many layers that comprise Haitian culture and customs that make Haiti one of the most fascinating, yet least understood countries in the region.
In early November, a group of North Americans, including staff from MCC's North American offices, visited Haiti to engage with MCC Haiti partners and communities on a 1-week learning tour centered around the theme 'Soil to Table.' During this time, the group encountered Haiti as it is, not as the sensationalist press so often describes it. What follows are trip participants' reflections that challenge the stereotypes and offer a different perspective on Haiti.
I took the opportunity to participate in an MCC Learning Tour to Haiti this past November. I was looking for that rich personal experience, an experience where passion and intelligence could bond together. Haiti is considered to be one of the poorest countries where MCC serves, and while I read everything I could about MCC’s work in Haiti, I wanted to witness it for myself.
Haiti Is Captivating.
Captivating not just for the soulful heart, but also for the inquiring mind.
Haiti captivates with its’ natural beauty, scenic views of mountain ranges. Haiti is a country where pockets of paradise exist.
I found in Haitians a humble, calm kindness and countless smiling faces greeting us. The children we met were bubbly and inquisitive, and eager to learn.
Haitians are smart and use thoughtful techniques to protect and improve small agricultural gardens.
Haiti has a rich cultural history, where the past is not forgotten, and their resilience continues every day.
Haitians have hope, even where there is devastation. Great hope exists.
I came away from our Learning Tour to Haiti with more than what I was hoping for. I was inspired by the depth and richness of MCC’s work in Haiti, as well, a deep respect and awe for the country of Haiti, and its people. For me, Haiti is captivating.
Joan Brnjas works with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario in donor services, and is from Ontario, Canada.