Haiti 2013

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The past three days in Haiti have been a serious eye opener, but hardly in the way that most would expect. In the States, the media only shows the ugly side of Haiti. Going strictly by their account, you’d think the majority of the people here are impoverished, uneducated, unskilled, and have little hope of being anything else. Don’t believe the hype!!! Yes, I’ve seen plenty of poverty here, but very few people who are “beat”. What I primarily see are hustlers (and I mean that in a good way). People here are always on the go, making the best life for themselves with what they have. There is industry here. There are modern stores and services. Garbage men collect garbage from the street. Yesterday I went to the beach at a resort that was as nice as any other you’d find in the Caribbean. The night before that I went to a club that was as clean and modern as any in Chicago…laser lights, flat screen TVs, strictly enforced dress code, and very well staffed. This morning I woke up to the sound of people playing tennis at the courts behind the house. Today I visited a couple of building fixture shops that sold nothing but high end materials (more about that later). My point is that the media is doing a huge disservice to this country by shoveling all of Haiti’s misery down your throats without also allowing you to sample any of many good things this country has to offer.

Of course you see signs of the earthquake…damaged buildings, piles of ruble that once were buildings, etc. The large majority of the structures are standing and in use though. The biggest problem seems to be lack of new construction to replace the infrastructure that was destroyed more so than there being a lack of infrastructure to begin with. I mentioned shops that sold materials for construction earlier. We are staying with a friend of the family who’s an entrepreneur. He owns several restaurants as well as real estate that he rents out to locals and tourists alike. He’s currently constructing a 5 level apartment building with a large terrace for events on the roof. Anyway, it seems that its only people like him rebuilding Haiti. Individuals who do so with only the resources available to them. The billions that many of us have donated are still sitting in banks of the various countries that pledged those funds, collecting millions of dollars of interest for who know who.

A conspiracy theorists would probably say that the media is being coerced into only showing the ugly side of Haiti in order to prevent people from visiting. That way they can justify the retention of those funds by saying that the government of Haiti isn’t capable of maintaining its present state, let alone capable of managing a multi-billion dollar rebuilding project. In doing so, who knows who can continue collecting who knows how much in interest on those funds.

I’m not really into conspiracies though. I think it’s simply a case of too many chiefs and one indian. There seems to be a power struggle over who will ultimately be in control of those funds (the heads of the various organizations involved, the heads of the various governments who’ve pledged funds, and of course the Haitian government itself).

Only time will tell which is fact and which is fiction. In either case, you should visit Haiti and experience all it has to offer for yourself! Until them, here are a few more random pictures and videos…
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  1. The entire time I’ve been in Haiti I haven’t seen a single bicycle! Not even laying on the side of the road!
  2. Haitian mosquitoes appear to only bite visitors. I’m being eaten alive, but no one that I with who lives here has a single bite!
  3. These are the only two stop signs I’ve seen the entire time I’ve been in Port-au-Prince! I’ve seen about 5 stop lights (which many people seem to ignore). That said, I’ve seen exactly zero accidents, so I guess it works!
    IMG_0002 (2)

    IMG_0378

  4. Gas is cheaper in Port-au-Prince than it is in Chicago, by almost 30 cents a gallon!!!
    IMG_0223

  5. You can buy Holy Water by the gallon here…
    IMG_0068

  6. We drove over a lot of bridges, but none of them had any running water underneath them. Not sure why all of the waterways were dry, I’m guessing they’re to divert water coming down from the mountains during the rainy season, similar to what they do in LA. I couldn’t get any good photos from the ground, but you can definitely tell from the air as well…
    2013-05-05 13.19.40

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Author: Jabari Hunt

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