AFTER THE STORM
Tracing the history of Haiti, we want to reach out to you and show you that beauty can exist after destruction
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Viktor Ene
26 November 2019
There is a saying that goes like this - flowers grow stronger the more you 'water' them with your words. This applies to many things in life and it is a beautiful metaphor. It is something that came to mind when thinking about Haiti and what it has survived. It is a reminder that things can evolve to be stronger, more positive and there is a lot to be learned from that. Haiti is a country with a lot of potential. We have written about it before, exploring what makes it so unique - from its rebellious past, to the nation's bravery and their modern creativity that sculptures the outlook of the Caribbean pearl.
But beneath the surface, there is a lot more to be seen.
As much as mother nature has given to the land, it has also taken a lot. The natural disasters that have occurred marked the territory of the land and Haiti cannot quite recover yet. The earthquake from 2010 is still a fresh portray of how tender things can be. The monstrous catastrophe had traumatic consequences. With 7.0 Mw, the calamity affected 3 million people and the earthquake left a mark that can still be traced. The tsunami, one of the biggest ones happened in 2004, and other natural cataclysms have changed the demographically scene majorly. Humanity and nature co-exist, although not always in harmony and Haiti is sadly an example of this.
Beyond doubt, beautiful Haiti suits its name's origin a lot. In translation from Taíno language, 'Haiti' literally means 'mountainous country'. It is an aboriginal word that seems to collect all that the country is. The landscapes are as much breath taking as they are challenging. Some views are worth climbing for, but there are areas that cannot be reached by vehicles, some places can only be reached on foot. And although buses are the best way of transport and we can guarantee that it is the best way to see a lot in shorter amount of time, there is rawness to the land that seems to be very Caribbean. Even the nature disasters contribute to this. But when we put the beaches and sacred temples aside, not much else seems to attract people's interest.
NOMADSofORIGIN inspires travellers to explore places through the charm of them as a homeland. Our philosophy is to turn the perceptions of travelling and make all our nomads be culturally aware and curious about places. This article, however, is different, because as much as we want to make you see Haiti for what it really represents, we also want to invite you to participate in something that can have a positive global impact. This time, we speak to you in a sense of tempting you to be tourists in the purest way possible.
Because of the difficulties that the Caribbean has faced and how heavily involved Haiti was in all of it, the country can use all the help it can get. Tourism can benefit the land majorly and although there have been a lot of concerns raised about the safety of it, many experienced travellers and writers document through their journeys that Haiti is not what it seems at first and safety is not a big issue. Poverty, on the other hand, is.
About 58.6% of the people are living in poverty. Haiti is estimated to be the third largest Caribbean country, yet the complex of the current economic situation hides in the simple things. Poverty can be helped and eventually prevented, but the government struggles to supply enough resources. Attracting people, who are interested in the landscape and the impressive history of the land can build the future of the country.
There is a lot wonder that can be explored. The beached are an obvious choice, but it has not been called the 'land of mountains' without a reason. The raw conditions are perfect for adventurers, who are eager to explore. Hiking in Haiti can be an unforgettable experience, but make sure to stay safe if you do it as a lot of the paths have not been traced before. We recommend visiting Saut-d'Eau, one of the most famous waterfalls. If you want to experience the best of it, plan going there in July as it is the best month to see this nature phenomenon. The pools of Bassins Bleu are for the water lovers. Peaceful and very visually pleasing, they have a piece of Haiti that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. The caves of Grotte Marie-Jeanne are magnificent and a must-see destination.
Visitors can make traditional kasav flatbread or paint papier-mâché with kids, who are at risk and are being taken care for by the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which currently works with about a hundred children to provide creative education for them. Those activities are included in some of the city-tours and the money that the tourist spend are being directly invested into supporting and strengthening the local economies.
Haitians are the largest creole-speaking community and are known for their kindness. They are welcoming visitors with open arms and are proud to share their history, the same way they were proud to create it and free themselves from the French control. Their colourful culture traces each sidewalk, each street. Outside of the Cap-Haïtien city there are barrels full of sugar syrup sat by the side of the road, reflecting the traditions, kept through generations. Rum is still made and distilled the same way that people have done it for centuries. It is a land of cultural development and warmth that can't be easily compared to anything else. It is a country so strong; it survives every storm and people manage to stand back on their feet. Just like flowers, they keep developing and growing. The more the nature tries to teach them complicated lessons, the more they learn from them and try to exist with it in more harmony than before.
You can read more about what makes Haiti unique from our previous articles, or you can simply see it for yourself. Pack your bags, plan your next adventure and hopefully it will take you the peak of the Caribbean mountain treasure - Haiti is waiting for you.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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