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Haiti Visit: 2002-5
2010-03-12 - Hispaniola [I] - one island two countries
A-08 (6th July, 2002)

"Just four passports need to apply visa to visit our country!" said the chief officer of the Haiti consulate in Kingston, "They are Columbia - Panama - Dominican Republic, because of the drug-trafficking. The other one is China, because nnn..." The flooding of illegal Chinese immigrants causes our trip 'big-big trouble', more descriptions on part II of 'Hispaniola'.

Before we arrived Haiti, a warning issued from the US secretary of transportation "It determined that Port-au-Prince international airport, Haiti does not maintain and carry not effective airport security measures." Finally, we landed without any problems in this airport.

Hispaniola is Caribbean's second largest island. Haiti occupying roughly one-third of her, another two-thirds is owned by the Republica Dominicana.

Haiti was the second independent state in the Americas after USA. She was the only country to have successfully carried out a slave rebellion. Before 1804, Haiti was a colony of France. There is about 6.6 million inhabitants in Haiti, almost all people are charcoal-black.

Because of the political turmoil, estimated 1.5 million Haitian residing abroad. Many of them are from rich class and elite. Haiti is among the 30 poorest countries in the world, her standard of livings is the lowest in the Americas.

Shortage of electricity supply exists everywhere in this country, making the black country darker! There is 16 hours blackout in Port-au-Prince(capital) per day. It was quite funny when we saw hundreds of mouth opened with shinning white teeth, talking on the streets under the dim light!

Travelling in Haiti is not easy. Not only the lack of commodities or unstable electricity. Language is one added barrier, most Haitian speak only Creole. Hygiene(dirty) is another problem. We always suffered from the bad smell of sewage and garbage on the streets and markets.

Uncovered manholes on streets were big dangers for tourists. Once I stepped on a wooden cover in one local market. My foot suddenly sinked to a ditch of one feet deep which was full of 'petrol-like' sewage!

Public transportation is lacking. Most roads are bad. Even the main highways are cracked and potholed. Just toss one cent to each pothole, any millionaire will be bankrupted.

Tap-taps are the popular transport means in Haiti. They are a kind of lorry like mini-buses, with colourful paintings on the bodies like the chicken buses in Central America. We would say the tap-tap should be called 'human-sardine tap-tap'. Why? Think about 25 passengers sitting inside a bed size car-compartment(3'x6'x4'), simultaneously, another 25 passengers sitting on the top. Including the driver and the two passengers in the front seats, 53 persons in a small car!!! (the tap-tap we took from Cap Haitian to the border)

Most of the Haitian we met were friendly and enthusiastic. One of the good example was the first day we were in Haiti. We didn't have local change to buy drinking water, the street hawker just gave us water and told us to pay them later.

Though over half of the working population jobless, and there is not many policemen on the streets. Haiti has much less crime then most Caribbean countries.

June is the 'World-Cup month'. The government of Haiti has provided huge TVs in some parks and public buildings. We saw thousands of residents watching the football games in the early mornings. People here can share the joy of world-cup football games like any other places in the world. FIFA football games unify the world in ONE!


22nd May to 2nd June, 2002 - 11 days in HAITI:
Port-au-Prince (Petrionville) - Jacmel - Port-au-Prince - Cap Haitien (Ouanaminthe) - Port-au-Prince


written by Man-Keung and So-Chun in Gros Islet, St. Lucia (West Indies)
6th July, 2002


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