Sunday, September 15, 2013

City vs. rural life in Haiti

The first four years that I came to Haiti I stayed in a tiny rural community in the Central Plateau, and that shaped my view of Haiti.  Electricity was solar that charged batteries for night use, so we were super careful about not using up the electricity.  Water was filtered through clay pots (which took a while so you had to be vigilant about keeping them full).  The couple I stayed with was still establishing their home and didn’t have many amenities.  Thus I thought that’s how missionaries live, without much stuff.  The closest real grocery store was 3 hrs away over super rough road (which has since been paved).  And no one ever asked me for anything, children never begged for money, men never asked for my phone number or to get them a visa for the US.

Now that I am in my second fall of living in a coastal city of about 80,000 in the city with lots more in the surrounding area, I am still surprised by how different it is.  An ATM!  Restaurants!  Grocery stores!  Loud music.  Trash burning right next door. :(  

Hence, my top 10 list of how city living has been different than country living in Haiti.

In the city:
1.      People sit around and watch TV – just like in the US!
2.      I can buy ginger ale and Gatorade!
3.      There are many restaurants, including Chinese and pizza.
4.      People are out socializing along the streets until very late at night.
5.      People play loud music until very late at night.
6.      Strangers (men) ask for my phone number, hand in marriage, and visas to the US.
7.      People have ‘foundations’ they want me to help with ($$).
8.      Children beg for money – ‘Gimme one dolla.’
9.      Men and women wear shorts (though shorts on women isn't as common and a bit riske).
10.  I can wear pants in public!  (Much easier for getting on and off motos)

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