SALT Reflection: Everyday Adventures in Haiti
“So, what is your life like in Haiti?”
There are a multitude of ways I could answer this question! I could share about the beauty of Haiti’s mountains, the bright colors of flowers, the hospitable warmth of people, the musical sound of Haitian Creole being spoken, or the smell that fills the kitchen when you make fresh passion fruit juice. There is so much to learn and see, and I love the adventures that are woven into the daily experiences of life in Haiti.
I am serving in a SALT placement in Port-au-Prince as a PME (Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluations) and Program Assistant. I only have 3 months left in Haiti, but I am so thankful for the experiences in Haiti that have shaped me as a person and will continue to impact me even when I return home to the United States.
This photo was taken during a recent trip to the North to visit Palace Sans Souci, built in 1813 by King Henri Christophe. Haiti is never lacking in adventures!
As part of my SALT assignment, I am staying with a host family for the year. I live with a total of 8 people including extended family members, which is common in Haiti. This photo is with my host parents and my host cousin during a trip to see several beautiful waterfalls. The Pierre Paul family has exhibited a great deal of patience as I learned Creole, and one of the most rewarding parts of learning the language was being able to communicate with them! From dance parties in the kitchen to singing hymns in the living room, they have been a source of joy and laughter in my life!
This is my morning commute! I take a moto taxi to the MCC office every morning since taking the tap-taps (pickup trucks) can often take a long time in Port-au-Prince traffic. This is Ermilie, a sweet moto driver from my area who often picks me up for work in the morning! He always greets me with a warm "Bonjou! Kouman ou ye?" (Good morning! How are you?) Adjusting to the traffic of Port-au-Prince took some time, but I now look forward to my daily moto rides!
In my assignment, I am creating a communications plans for MCC's 60th anniversary in Haiti as well as assisting with planning, monitoring and evaluations for some of our local partners. I work from MCC's main office in Port-au-Prince, and I have loved being a part of the MCC team. We share meals together every Monday and Wednesday and begin every Wednesday with staff devotions and meeting. During our devotion time, we sing from the Haitian hymnal "Chants D'Esperance," and it is my favorite way to start the day!
Two months ago, we had an all staff meeting, "kombit," which includes applicable trainings for the entire staff. We focused on crisis response and learned basic response tactics from local paramedics—knowledge that is particularly important for MCC workers in the rural areas of Haiti because of the difficult nature of receiving medical care in remote areas. I was also able to present some of my projects for the 60th anniversary as well as plan a staff activity for one of the breaks—all in Creole! It's the small victories, right?
While it is not the typical tourist destination in the Caribbean, Haiti has so much natural beauty! I recently had the opportunity to go on an adventure with some new friends to Cap Haitian to see Palace San Souci and Citadel Henri. While the urban city of Port-au-Prince is full of culture and life, sometimes it's nice to remind myself I live in the Caribbean and visit the beach as well! I never get sick of looking at mountains and sparkling blue water.
I am looking forward to the experiences my last 3 months in Haiti will hold, and I know that my time here will have a lasting impact on how I live, work, and serve others.