Beauty & Culture
Every trip that I’ve taken to Haiti always has what you could call a “poverty tour”. Some organizations go out of their way to highlight the “plight” of the people of Haiti. But each time I visit, I come to admire the natural beauty of Haiti more and more. I’ve noticed that foreigners aren’t drawn to revisit Haiti because it’s “poor”. I think they’re drawn to a different kind of wealth that this country has to offer, despite the “plight” of its people (which is much more complex than a lack of material resources, as I’ve come to learn).
One of the most mysterious and intriguing things about Haiti is the bold contrast between the beautiful and the “not-so-beautiful” (speaking from an American mindset). No one wants to see kids running around without clothes or shoes, but so many do. No one wants to see miles of trash-strewn land, but it’s there. Yet while the raw and “sad” is in your face, so is everything else that is so hard to describe. I guess you could call it the natural richness of culture. Dance, music, food, history, community, language—together, people here living on a small Caribbean island.
I really appreciated experiencing an Impact Trip led by HI during my stay here as an intern. I liked that there was no showcasing the “poor people” of Haiti. I liked that it wasn’t a service trip where the visitors took work away from people without really adding anything. Instead, I felt like it was an excellent time to see all kinds of things in Haiti—equal parts Cite Soleil soccer fields, the beach, mountainside, history museum, downtown Port-au-Prince traffic, and more. The team members got to take Haiti for what it was: a nation with its own culture—problems and beauty alike.
In my own free time during my internship, I was able to explore more about Haitian culture than I ever have before. It has made for an amazing experience that I hope to share with good people I know, as I plan to bring friends and family on an Impact Trip with HI, if possible. I have met the most amazing people during my stay, and have even become good friends with a lot of them. I hope to come back soon.