This Spring Break I went to Cap Haitian, a city in the North part of Haiti. I went with about 10 other students, some from OU, on a mission trip. We went to a Children’s Home and helped out with random things like teaching English Classes, replacing a roof, and playing soccer with the kids. While we were there we were able to see parts of Haiti and get a grasp on the culture. It seemed to me like it was what I pictured Africa to be like, but Carribean-style. There were people walking down the roads balancing things on their heads and the homes were impoverished with roofs of aluminum. There were goats and pigs just chillin in the trash heaps, which were ubiquitous. Even though there was alot of trash scattered everywhere, it didn’t smell bad at all. The roads were unpaved and the driving was quite thrilling becuase there were no road signs and even if there were nobody wouldv’e followed them. There were definately beautiful parts of the country too, mostly outside of the crowded town. We hiked along the coast and got some pretty nice views. We stumbled along some voodoo caves as well. Voodoo is still prevelant in the Haitian society. We found a couple of cloth dolls tied to trees and a basket of goat hooves hanging from a tree as well. Some of the caves still had candles lit in them! It was fascinating but a little unnerving.
The people of Haiti were very nice and it is customary to greet everyone with a Bon Jou or a Bon Swa. They speak Kreyol there, which is a sort of simplified spinoff of french. It was fun to learn, and I can now sing ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ in Kreyol. The climate was humid and pretty warm. We had to sleep with mosquito nets. most of the country does not have running water in their homes, but we were fortunate to have some in our compound. All the girls in our group had to wear past-knee length skirts, as it is more common for the Haitian women to wear skirts.
The trip was great! Haiti was definately the most different country I have been too. I made Haitian friends and will miss the kids at the Childrens Home. I really enjoyed how it wasn’t touristy at all- so you know you got the real idea of how things were there.