Byenvini ann Ayiti
My late grandfather, a prolific writer and documenter and traveler, once told me, “If you don’t know how to begin a project, find a yellow legal pad and start writing.” So here goes!
I’ve been in Haiti for 3 ½ months now. Reflecting back on my orientation period, it was a humbling, strange, and productive time for me.
Humbling, as I stumbled through a new language and accepted the hospitality of my gracious host families, who opened their homes and the rhythms of their everyday lives to me.
Strange, because as much as I’ve traveled, I’ve never had this kind of structured, scheduled orientation. I’m glad for the time and space to adjust, while the stubbornly independent part of me just wants to leap on the nearest tap-tap and go exploring.
Productive, because I’ve learned so much! I can have conversations in Kreyol; I can tell you something about how agroforestry techniques can mitigate the effects of climate change on small farmers; I know my way around parts of Port-au-Prince! I feel a little burst of joy every time I navigate a new patch of this sometimes-labyrinthine city, with its street side merchants and steep, densely populated hillsides and abundant bougainvillea.
Some first impressions in photos:
Flying over the Caribbean | Visiting Sokontre | Drawing with Nephta in my first host family | Walking through dry hills in the town of Kabay with MCC colleagues | Tarantula! | Green coffee, just before roasting | An especially colorful tap-tap in PaP | Studying Kreyol | Streets of Petionville with colorful Jalouzi in the background
Madeline Kreider Carlson discovered a passion for global craft traditions as a child, while tagging along on volunteer shifts at Ten Thousand Villages. Hailing from Minnesota, she has worked with artisans and fair trade businesses across four continents. Madeline works as a Designer & Product Developer with MCC partner Comite Artisanal Haitien. You can follow Madeline on her personal blog.