Sunday, March 13, 2011

Haiti - The Country

IMG_3613I'd never been to a third world country for anything but a vacation. Sure, I'd driven through the nasty parts of countries, like the Bahamas, on my way to the resort. I'd seen the touristy areas off of the cruise ship ports, but never really been in a third world country.

For those of you who don't know (and I didn't know much about the place), Haiti is an island connected to the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, south of the Bahamas, near Turks and Caicos. Things are in bad shape there.

Basically, the place is dirt poor and the government incredibly corrupt. They speak Creole and the population is black (is that politically correct to say that people are black?). I was told that they break it down into 25 different shades of black as part of their unofficial caste system, the darker, the better and the higher up in the caste system you are. They broke away from the French a couple hundred year ago, but they still speak french and creole and almost no english, unfortunately.

This 4 minute video does a great job in describing why Haiti is the way it is, though it leaves out some of how Voodoo fits into their plight:

As you know, there was a huge earthquake last year in Haiti that killed over 300,000 people and displaced millions people from the capital city of Port Au Prince out to the surrounding areas. There was also a big outbreak of Cholera, a disease that kills you quickly through dehydration. On the political front, past president Duvalier (aka Baby Doc) returned to Haiti January after being thrown out in 1986. He was a bad man, and it's bad news that he's back.

All that being said, things are ugly there, but I figured that before reading about my experience in Haiti, you should at least know more than I did going into the country.

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