It may take a while to forget about the negative image of Haiti, but as soon as you do, you will be open to see the Haitians as they actually are. You realize that Haitian people are mostly very friendly, funny, honest, proud, and also hard working people, trying to stay afloat in a difficult environment. Apart from that, they are physically strong and beautiful. In the capital, we found the atmosphere a little tense, and perhaps after all the foreign interference with the country which never worked out well for Haitians, they eye foreigners with some suspicion. But in other parts of the country, we were amazed at how open and curious Haitians really are. Most foreigners nowadays are here for work, and travelers are not common at all, which seems to make Haitians very curious about those few they see.
We had many encounters with Haitians in which they proved genuine and honest, with a rare combination of modesty, pride and humour. Genuine because they would just speak out their mind, say anything they felt like saying; honest because they rarely try to rip off the traveler - and if they do, it is often in such an outrageous manner that it is easy to spot. Haitians share a unique history, and are deservedly and visibly proud of being descendants of the heroes who established the first Black Republic in 1804. Unlike other poor countries, we found very few Haitians begging for money - they would rather do something about their poverty themselves instead of depending on someone's good heart.
Haitians seem to have a love-hate relationship with cameras: sometimes we were approached aggressively just upon seeing a camera, sometimes people would put a chair outside their house and ask anyone passing by on the road to take a seat and have their picture taken, in an endless photoshoot with lots of giggles and stout stares. But probably the best experience we had was when a boat man who would take us to Labadie asked us an exaggerated price, after which we left his boat - to find that all other passengers followed us in solidarity, and we were off in another boat in matter of minutes. A great show of solidarity!
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Haitian people (Haiti). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Haitian people.
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