Haiti has a complicated relationship with its own official languages. On one hand, it has French: imposed by colonists, spoken by the educated elite, and the language of instruction in most Haitian schools. On the other hand, it has Kreyòl: born out of slavery, understood by every Haitian, but rarely printed or read. And they … More Haitian Creole: Mark of shame, or symbol of pride?
There’s more than one way to speak kreyòl. But then, you knew that already, didn’t you? There’s more than one way to speak any language. Think of all the different ways people speak English — with accents, with local slang, with different levels of vocabulary. After hearing someone speak for the first time, you can … More Why are you speaking that “kreyòl rek?”
“You talk too much.” I’ve heard it all my life. How then did I come to make such a significant error of silence? Let’s ask my 88-year old mother. On a recent trip to Winnipeg, Canada to visit Mom, I flounced up the stairs and held it out to her…the holy grail, the crown jewel…my … More What my (European) Mom taught me about learning Creole
BOOK REVIEWS by Sylvia Elias, British Columbia, Canada I’ve come to believe that Haiti provokes passion like no other place on earth. To support this, I give you two stunning novels by highly diverse authors: Claire of the Sea Light, from the brilliant mind of the venerable Haitian-born writer Edwidge Danticat; and Hold Tight, Don’t … More Haiti Through Literature: A Book Review
For those looking for a refresher, you can find our previous article on Haiti’s 2016 Presidential Election available here. With this post, we’re picking up with the most recent events, and then going back to Haiti’s foundations to explore the tumultuous path towards Haiti’s current democracy. Haiti Presidential Election Update: After Haiti’s Congress failed to … More Haiti’s History With Democracy : An Update on the Presidential Election
If you follow the news, or run in circles where Haiti is at the forefront of people’s minds, you’ve likely already heard that the United States has a significant peanut surplus; and we’re trying to send 500 tons of it to Haiti. (That’s something like 160 million peanuts.) While sending these peanuts to Haiti is … More U.S. Peanuts Don’t Belong in Haiti
I once had a professor tell me that Americans in particular are really good at getting a job done (referring specifically to projects overseas.) While a hard-work ethic can be a great thing, the single-mindedness of the “getting the job done” mentality can easily take over our experiences in Haiti (Which is exactly the point … More A new look at Haiti: When a Volunteer turns into a Visitor
After political dissonance and weak infrastructure led to the dissolution of Haiti’s Parliament in early 2015, focus turned towards the nation’s upcoming Presidential Elections to see if the government could right itself. The first round of voting went off peacefully in October, but was plagued by numerous outcries of fraud and corruption from activists … More How we got here: Haiti’s Presidential Elections
It has been said: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But sometimes all the planning and preparation in the world is not enough. All plans need a framework within which to run, not just a game plan, but an established norm. There are occurrences and reactions, infrastructure and nuances of daily life … More Working in a Developing Nation: Lessons in Flexibility and Disappointment
Disclaimer: We’ve talked about gift giving on the HaitiHub blog before because it’s a wonderfully generous impulse that can have unintended (read: negative) consequences. Unfortunately, with gifts there is a lot more to navigate in Haiti than a simple “Here ya go, I hope you like it!” So, before you load down your suitcases, please take … More What gifts should I bring with me to Haiti?