Is LGH dead?

As some of you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been making any posts on the blog nor have I really mentioned anything pertaining to Haiti on my other social media platforms (Facebook or Instagram). By the way, I really want to thank the few people who have come up and asked me “what”s going on with your blog? I really like your idea”. I really appreciate YOU! LGH will always be my baby but … sometimes in life, we have intentions and genuine desires and sometimes in life, they get crushed and the path is not always straight, this detour in my life is absolutely necessary and maybe I will come back to this. I hope I will, but also, I may not. And that’s okay too.

IMG_9977_(2)[1]When I graduated from college in the US and decided to move back to Haiti, I really had no clue what I was going to do there. In fact I was so undecided that I missed 2 of my flights back and kept pushing my departure date. I even did a 7 day water fast because I felt so lost and was begging the universe for signs. All my life, all I knew was school and now that that chapter of my life was over, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted for myself. Up until that point, I had been doing what my parents told me to do. I did everything by their book: I was a good girl, I did well in school, I controlled my appearance (no tattoos, no extra piercings, no hair coloring), I even kept my virginity (TMI?). I was that “perfect child” and I was so lost and purposeless.

So when I got to Haiti, the same pattern continued. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow in my father’s footstep (Agriculture) or my mother’s (Education), both of those things were near and dear to my heart but to be honest with you I wasn’t passionate about either one. I just knew I wanted to help Haiti and both of these were excellent ways to start. In the end, my mom, being the most assertive and coercive one lol, convinced me to not only manage her kindergarten but to get a certificate in Childhood Education, which I did joyfully because these children are just precious. But deep down, I felt that this was me postponing yet again what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. But the gag is, I had no idea WHAT I wanted to do with my life. I just felt that this wasn’t IT. But the fear of venturing out into the unknown just kept me stuck in this routine I had gotten myself into.

IMG_9992[1]Fast forward to three years later and literally everything in my life comes to a crumble.

  • Remember when they would ask us as kids what we wanted to be when we grew up? Well, my answer at 4 years old was that I wanted to have my own kindergarten because I thought mine sucked. So fast forward 20 years later and I’ve manifested this experience for myself and I have high hopes but I’m coming to the realization that it’s all a big sham. My experiences with the Department of Education in Haiti is just buffoonery (I would have to write a whole other post about that). The certificate I’m supposedly obtaining from this school which is supposedly the best school for Childhood Education in Haiti is a joke. These future preschool teachers I’m “graduating” alongside are mediocre at best. I loved them as people and I applaud them for their aspiration but this was not even high school level education. Not to mention that I felt cheated out of not being a valedictorian (that’s also a whole ‘nother story”. I mean all my idealistic hopes of a better future just all came crashing down. It was just TOO much that needed to be fixed about the Education system. It’s one thing to hear it, it’s another to live it on all levels. So here I was with the single life goal I could remember ever having, completely demolished. I was crushed and bitter.
  • Just a few months before my graduation, my dad died from a cancer that they found a little too late. Then a few months after that, my 18-year old cousin died in a car accident. And the thing about death, though it is something I had been mentally preparing myself for since I was a child, living in the unsteady political climate of this island, it raised the question I had in my head for years: WHO AM I? and WHAT AM I DOING IN THIS BODY AND THIS PLANET??? and this time I couldn’t keep postponing finding the answer. I was always fascinated by mysticism as a child. Honestly, mysticism came looking for me as much as I sought it. I just always felt that there was more to this life but it’s as if everyone was just pretending to keep going on and playing this game of play-pretend when what really mattered was “over there”. It was the elephant in the room that no one really gave too much importance to. They would talk about it, I’d hear stories but then it was like “Ok! story time is over! back to “real life” you go! back to school and work and marriage and children and all that basic survival shit”.

So here I was.
Life goal, gone.
Life purpose, demanding to be known and not taking “wait” for an answer.
I booked a one way flight back to the US and drove myself straight into a depression
Every day I contemplated ending my life
Why wait for it to end if I could just end it now?
This purposeless routine of day and night
At first it was easy to put on a happy mask for people around me. So no one knew.
I’d stay locked up in the room and just think and cry
Until I was so deeply immersed in it that I became physically weak
My friend took me to go see this shaman and I remember telling him that I was so tired, I felt like I’d lived a thousand lives and there was no meaning to me still being here to which he replied that I had to create a new me
Whatever the fuck that meant
That sounded like way too much work
For many days I stayed like that
Days turned into weeks and into months
All the while I kept searching for answers and came across the possibility that maybe suicide wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be
What if I committed suicide only to realize that I was still in the same predicament and had to come back on earth to fix the issue
And for a while that feeling of feeling stuck in the rigged mocking game of life felt doubly devastating
So one day, don’t ask me where the strength came, I decided I was going to give this life one last shot. I convinced myself after watching a video of Sadhguru (I still remember which video) that I needed to go to India. I just needed to get there.
The funny thing about desires is that… I’ve been wanting to go to India since High School but I never actually believed I could get there. But the moment, I decided that going to India was life or death and nothing else mattered, at the snap of a finger everything came together and less than a month later I was boarding a plane to India.

IMG_9996_(2)[1]Did going to India save me? laughs
If anything I came back and lost parts of my self. I was lost, but in a different way. Perspective just humbled me and made me different. I wasn’t clinging on as hard to aspects of me that I used to. I didn’t take any pictures of my own while I was there and I don’t really like talking about my trip to India to people because it was such an intimate moment for me. I just came back different. I still had no life goals except to know who I was. That thirst was undeniable even when I tried to run away from it by trying to yoke myself into relationships that I knew would never fulfill me. And ironically, not surprisingly…..

  • My relationship with my lover and another potential lover at the time both crumbled in the worst ways. Life was not leaving me any other chance to avoid answering the questions WHO AM I & WHY AM I HERE??

So, to wrap this up… Upon returning from India, I was entertaining thoughts of living on our farm in Mirebalais and just growing food there, away from crowded “civilized” capital of Port-au-Prince… but the passion, the pull just wasn’t there. Everything that had happened in my third year: my bitter experience with the school system, my dad’s transition, my bad breakups, the predictability of messed up political climate, frankly, just left a stench about Haiti in my thoughts. And so again, I left. As of right now, I have no desire to go back. Honestly I like where I am now. I like the life lessons I’ve faced and have been facing since. It hasn’t been easy at all. But I’m in a space where there is at least some level of stability where I can focus on my spiritual practices, my only priorities. It took me a while to get to this mental space but I’m grateful to have finally gotten here.

Thank you for supporting me on this journey. Death doesn’t mean the end of it all. It just means the beginning of something new.

So keep greening loves, wherever you are ❤

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10 things I do for fun in Haiti

Haiti is a pretty amazing island with much to explore. You get the best of both worlds: the cool  breezy mountains and the sunny clear beaches. Whether you are looking to spend money or to save some, you can find a good mix of adventurous, cultural, touristic, gastronomic and local activities on this list.

1. Explore the nearest gem

No need to go too far, your new favorite spot might be just a few steps away. A lot of the places I’ve discovered in Haiti have been by sheer curiosity. I wanted to experience something new so I just used the ManmanPemba app, looked at ‘places nearby’  and I just went. It’s cool if you find someone else to explore with but doing it alone is just as exciting.

Haiti Messager, Bois Verna

ManmanPemba is the best local guide to Port-au-Prince and Haiti. You can find great local businesses and natural attractions with people’s reviews. And the best part is discovering events, parties, expo, happy hours, concerts happening that day or later.

2. Food. Food. FOOD. Did I say food? 

I love trying different restaurants in Haiti and let me tell ya, I’ve tried numerous. My top 5 places to eat in PAP are: Bon Nan Bouch (traditional), La Coquille (traditional buffet style), Aztec (Mexican), Big Star Cafe (Traditional and Arab) and Chicken Fiesta (Chinese or close enough). You can be sure to get great service at these places and a relatively decent price for the quantity of food you get. 

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Bon Nan Bouch Restaurant

3. Go to free cultural events

The French Institute in Haiti publishes a calendar of activities they’ve got going on every month. On Thursdays they welcome a band or solo artist, sometimes local, sometimes international. They project movies and have forums. The majority of the time it’s totally free. You get to meet locals, it’s generally a great atmosphere. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their updates.

FOKAL is an institution that does similar cultural events both to educate and entertain. They have a book club. You can go play checkers and scrabbles on Saturdays. They even have a children corner. 

Pen Haiti was founded by a writer for writers. They sometimes welcome famous Haitian authors and have seminars for writers. A musician comes to play every weekend. They also have a small library you can rent books from. It’s a magical little spot in Thomassin 32 that very few know of. 

4. Go to the beach

Need I say more? Actually I do. I don’t know if I should be sharing this secret. But I love you so much that I will.  My current go-to beach is Ocean View because it’s often empty. It’s like having a private beach all to myself and it is the cheapest and one of the first beaches on the way to Montrouis. Their food is average in my opinion but I’m a vegetarian so I have different standards. You are welcome.

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Ocean View Beach

5. Go to a concert at Yanvalou

Every Thursday night. On the clock. Don’t bring your sock. It will rock. #Bars 

6. Visit Museums

MUPANAH is always a go-to. Aside from the great Haitian historical artifacts, they have different art shows throughout the year.

Museum Ogier-Fombrun in Montrouis/ Moulin Sur Mer is another great one.

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MUPANAH

7. Art, Thou art Bae

I love human expression; the way an individual can make something their own through painting, sculpture, music, poetry, digital art you name it. So even if someone drew Chewbaca in the worst way I will admire it. That’s just me. Talent abounds in Haiti and it’s great to support it. 

Kay Atizan

Art expos and fests are happening all the time. Check the local newspaper or your trusty trusty MamanPemba app to know where the next one is at. 

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Ama Makeda Art Expo

Artisanat en Fête is a big expo with all sorts of artisanal work that happens yearly. Places like Mupanah, Villa Kalewès, Cafe 36 or that gallery on top of Kay Atizan are always showcasing goodies from pretty amazing artists and artisans. 

8. Reconnect with Mama Nature

Thomassin, Kenscoff, Furcy, Obleon… Take me anywhere near the mountains and I’m gooood. For days. The energy up there is just so recharging.  

If you have a car good enough to make it up the mountains to Pasteur Wallace or Jane Wynne Farm or to Ozone (formely called Rustik), it is so worth it. 

If not, there’s a park in Martissan. The only park I know of in PaP. It’s open to everyone,  go check it out. 

Jane Wynne Farm

9. Go to the only movie theater in Haiti 

Upgrade date night by going to Rev Cinema’s movie theater. Grab your popcorn. Grab you hot dog. Grab your blanket. And enjoy your movie while you sit comfortably in an air conditioned room. You won’t even know you’re not in the States. 

RevCinema only has one theater room and thus the movie showings for the day are pretty limited. The movies are either in French or English.  Couples and children get a discount. 

RevCinema

10. Play pool at a lounge

Sometimes I just want to spend time with friends and we are not necessarily hungry. La Reserve in petionville or Bamboo Lounge in Turgeau are cool places to do that. You may have to at least buy a drink but still. 

The Marriott hotel is another spot to just hang out and even use the free WiFi if need be but you won’t find a pool or baby foot table there, the nice decor shall have to do. 

Marriott Haiti

There are so many other fun things I’ve yet to do here… like take Scuba diving lessons with Marina Blue Haiti or go salsa dancing on friday nights with TempoPlus. The list could go on!

For more information on any of the places mentioned on this post, look them up on the ManmanPemba app or on social media (Facebook or Instagram)

What do YOU do for fun in Haiti  ?! Let us know in the comments below ⬇️

 

Farm to Table: Inspiring Initiative

Location: Ranch Le Montcel, West Department


Before I can get to the good part of this event, there are some positive critiques I’d like to share so that the next event may be even more successful.

  • Have the actual location listed on the Facebook invite. It just said Kenscoff, Dourette and I had no idea where to go. I tried calling the individuals who were hosting the event and could not reach anyone.Thankfully someone heard my cry for help and responded to my post just in time.Thank you kind stranger 🙂
  • Consider having car meetups. Ranch Le Montcel is VERY far from downtown Port-au-Prince which I understand was done on purpose. Away from the hectic ambiance to enjoy the quietude of the mountains. But for 1st timers the way there can be quite a challenge. Thank goodness for ‘Human GPS’ AKA the kind people of Kenscoff who kept telling us to ‘kontinye tou dwat’ (go straight) on a sinuous road. One even offered to take us there with his motorcycle. How loving are Haitian people!It would have been helpful to be able to meet other drivers at a chosen spot and follow the road together in our separate cars. I did see a bus full of people so I’m assuming carpooling was available, which was a GREAT alternative. And a far better option.
  • Have food tags for each dish. Definitely helpful for those with dietary restrictions and a great educative visual for all.

I fell in love with the idea of Farm to Table when I saw an article about it on http://www.lenational.ht . I knew I had to be there. My curiosity had been awakened and I had to find out more about how far, how deep the concept could go. I had a thousand questions but zero expectations. My plan was to go, soak up the atmosphere and in the future perpetuate that energy by having a similar event on our own farm at Mirebalais.

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The drive up the mountains is always a rewarding experience in itself. The view is amazing, the air is so pure and the silence is …everything. I needed that silence so badly! I don’t know what’s going on these days but the roosters don’t wait for dawn to crow anymore. They do it ALL throughout the night. It’s quite creepy… O_O

But I digress, at last we found the Ranch and entered the promised land where animals strike a pose as you take their pictures. Just hilarious.

Ranch Le Montcel is a modest farm with crops like cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes (first time hearing of those), wild berries, red cabbage, cauliflower and others. They have cool attractions for the children like slides, swings, trampoline and horseback riding. It’s a great place for a family outdoor-sy day.

We were greeted with such warmth by Annie Melissa Etienne, one of the hosts, and before we knew it a cup of cranberry juice magically appeared in our hands and she was gently urging us to indulge. The appetizers were quite flavorsome. My favorites were the Chef’s interpretation of the soup joumou paired with celery sticks and the olive bruschetta. It was a true pleasure meeting Chef Destinoble,  very humble and down-to-earth guy.

After a nice walk around the ranch and a short meditation with Ama Makeda, dinner was served and approximately 120 persons joined the table. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many vegetarian options: plantain and chick pea thingy, eggplant thingy, red cabbage thingy, corn thingy, breadfruit gratinée, arugula mix, watercress mix, tomato mix, carrot thingy, cucumber thingy and djondjon (mushroom) rice, pasta thingy, curried unknown root vegetable thingy and pikliz.

Not featured on my plate: white rice, lalo, fish, porc, chiken, sausages and the likes.

The food was … different. And… interesting. I sincerely applaud the Chefs’ desire to bring improved versions of what Haitians commonly eat at parties. I liked that I could taste the liveliness of each vegetables, they were kept closer to their raw state rather than being overly cooked.

I left shortly after eating dinner; full and yet empty. That was it? … Had I driven almost 2 hours for an average meal? Was it worth fifty five American dollars? Why is eating locally so expensive? How is this supposed to convince people to do so? What message did they want me, as a guest, to take away from this event? What new knowledge did I gain from this? Was this just another excuse to get the bourgeoisie of Haiti to have a new event to rave about? Am I being too harsh? I seriously ponder on all these questions.

I left puzzled by the motives of an event with so much potential but not enough reach. Maybe I lied to myself by saying I had no expectations. Honestly, I was hoping to learn a little about personal farming and how I could, as an individual, help this country become more sustainable, or even meet the farmers who made this event possible , learn more about the farming process and perhaps even walk away with a few seeds and plants that I could grow in my own backyard. I mean, aside from eating this meal, that I could have gotten at a buffet at Le Plaza in downtown Port-au-Prince for half the price, what makes the concept of FARM TO TABLE valuable to me?

I will say however, that a seed WAS planted in me that Sunday evening: the fervent desire to start taking more practical steps towards food sustainability. I do believe that there are many paths to the same goal and I will continue to applaud Farm to Table for the awesome concept that it promotes to those who are fortunate enough in this country to invest in that endeavor. I can only hope that those who attended will find it in their hearts to carry that idea so that eventually everyone on this island may benefit from an affordable ‘farm to table’ meal.

With love.

Family trip to Port-Salut’s Beach

Location: Port-Salut, South Department

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I get excited when I’m going to a place I’ve always heard about but never had the chance to go. I used to be obssessed with this song by Reginal Cange and and the trumpetist, Mamina when I was ten : “Port-Salut se la ki gen bel fanm, se la ki gen bel gason…nanananaaa” and evidently I wanted to go find the place in Haiti where all the pretty people were hiding! Were they right?…. hmmm. I don’t know. But I got to taste a bit of salty heaven at Port-Salut.

If you’re seeking tranquility and a beautiful beach to  relax while enjoying some really tasty seafood, maybe you ought to check this place out. They also have a variety of handmade products by artisans for a super low price, from hats to kitchen items to jewelry. You name it.

A few tips:

  • Bring money for the entrance fee
  • Order food way before you get hungry, preparation takes a while
  • If you don’t enjoy feeling moss under your toes while in the water, bring beach shoes
  • Be mentally prepared for a beach that isn’t sparkly clean
  • Be mentally prepared for dogs and goats at the beach (that’s Haiti in general)
  • Be mentally prepared for a clogged washroom experience and lack of running water in the bathroom

I had a great time overall. Sure there are a few maintenance issues to fix , that’s the reoccurring theme in Haiti. But the experience especially if shared with loved ones, is priceless.

Below are raw, unedited pictures I took along the trip. Enjoy 🙂

 

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Art expo: Yaël Talleyrand @ Fondation Théard

Location: Fondation Théard, Fermathe, Route de Kenscoff


“L’homme cherche la lumière là où frissonnent les couleurs”

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I can see why the artist chose to have her event there. Far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Port-au-Prince. Making it past that grid already left me in a relaxed and appeased mood.

Because… the smell and cool breeze of the mountains, the blue-green fluorescent lights dancing in a seemingly abandoned room with leaves creeping in on the sides, soothed by house music all added another dimension to the paintings and the observer’s experience.

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I was left in a trance.

Meditating upon every work of art, allowing myself to be fully present with the emotions they evoked in me. Feminine power, sisterly bond, sensuality, letting go of my rationale, enjoying the feeling of confusion and mystery when all seems upside down, calmness, poise, feeling lost in my own being, deep sadness and then hope that opening my third eye will be a reality for me in this present life.

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I noticed that one of the reccurring motifs in Yaël Tayllerand’s art are rooms and the longer i stare at them, the more i feel myself entering another room in my being. I’m exploring a new facet of me. Reminiscing of those I’ve allowed to see that side of me and the ones to come in the future..

I admire her talent immensely, i loved that there was always something new i hadn’t noticed everytime i came back to a piece, her attention to details, her play with colors, how she makes geometry and life-forms blend beautifully.

It was a very inspiring experience. And for that i am thankful.

Keep greening loves 🙂

It’s Spring ! + May’s Expo @ Mikaline

Location: Mikaline, Bois Verna, Port-au-Prince


 

So it’s been 6 months since my last post
Time flies..
I’ve missed ‘this’
A lot has happened in my life since; A lot of adventures undocumented. A few hurdles here and there. Then the springtime came and reminded me that there’s a time for crying and a time for conquering.  So I’m back!  Y a y y y  😀

You didn’t think I would come back without bringing some goodies with me right ??! 😛 Of course not.
This month, Coralie and I were fortunate enough to model some of Haiti’s best designers: Michaelle Baussan Stines, Creations Dorees, Miko Guillaume, David Andre, Tresors de Gerry and many others who make me very proud to see such wonderful talents in Haiti.

 

 

Aside from clothing and accessories, my absolute favorite things are beauty products made with natural ingredients. Simple, well-scented, organic products. I love to say ‘if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body’. Our skin is our largest organ and it literally absorbs what you put on it, wouldn’t you love to feed your skin cucumber, oatmeal or  coconut ?? These ladies are young and they are changing the market for skin and hair products in Haiti, super inspirational.

It was a  joy-filled experience. Unfortunately, we didn’t capture any of the modeling moments as we were backstage during the entire process. I was so anxious in the beginning, trying to find a balance between my conceited walk and my humble walk. Not sure which one I stuck with in the end but the energy from the small crowd took away a lot of the pressure.

This a picture of me before the show started. ZouleMakeup had me looking like a porcelain doll, how girly!  >_< haha

So which adventures did you miss in the last few months?

  • I went to a Rebel Layonn and Kiko Tru Rasta concert @ Yanvalou (finally!)
  • Emeline Michel, Beethova Obas & James Germain took my heart with them @ Institut Francais at a concert for PEACE
  • I was left in awe by Ama Makeda’s art expo ‘Ether Lives’ @ Hotel Kinam
  • I went to my first poetry slam in Haiti and Collectif Feu Vers left me speechless! Just flawless.
  • Tambours Croises exposed me to Martinique, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Reunion & Guyana’s folk music. These songs are our strength. We must never neglect that.
  • Aztec’s 2nd Annual Block Party for ‘Cinco de Mayo’ exposed us to some cool new brands like Madame Sara and their tasty gourmet sauces

And I didn’t take a single picture because I was soaking it all in. Life is real my friends, let’s not get caught in the publicizing and let’s LIVE.

Love & Light to you all

Found paradise at Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve

Location: Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve, Obleon, Port-au-Prince.


Why look for paradise elsewhere when we have it here. Right here. Right this moment
Oh my, can I stay here forever and eva, eva?
The air is a lot thinner in high altitudes while panting and trying to catch my breath
Melissa is right: we have to help  preserve this, the future generation will hate us
Okay, I need to get back to working out. I’m about to faint.
Is that…Silence. Pure silence. Ah, that feels good

My thoughts. In that order.
Is how my day went down at Wynne Farm that foggy sun-day morning.
Such a beautiful, enlightening, powerful experience.
I missed being there as soon as we left.

Something about wandering on a 30-acre field, left in the company of untainted nature
That just makes you feel so whole and carefree
Dèyè mòn, gen mòn — “Beyond the mountain, is another mountain”
So why not enjoy the ride and the view while I’m at it?

I came out of that experience with a head filled and a heart full with
Appreciation for people like Mr. Wynne who founded this place for a very noble cause
A desire to grow my own food
A sweet tooth for more thé Citronelle (Lemon tea)
A duty to honor my pledge to contribute to nature’s survival
And an aching heart to share an urgent message with you all

Not to forget a super happy grin after meeting Rebel Layonn
One of my favorite Haitian reggae singers !!

(For more on the Wynne Farm’s history click here)

The greatest threat to our planet
is the belief that someone else will save it.
– Robert Swan

Haiti’s water supply is in critical condition

As most know, deforestation is a HUGE problem that has not been dealt with
In fact less than 2% of the land is forested !
So if we put this in simple math
No trees = no oxygen => no rain => no water to grow food and drink and therefore no life !
This seems a bit extreme but the problem is serious family
This is our planet and we can’t let it die
Think of ways you can help and actually do something. Anything is better nothing.

Trees equal Life
Trees equal Life

I share this post with lots of love
Hugs and kisses to all, near and far
Let’s take saving our planet into our own hands

Haitian Contemporary Art + The Crazies

Location: Musée du Pantheon National Haïtien (MUPANAH), Port-au-Prince, West Department


I want to go back in time
Make the seconds last hours
Just be still and feel the spirit of every artist in that room
Let my thoughts and feelings flow at their whims
Taste the uniqueness and richness of each piece
Nothing else to add
Hope we reunite
With love. 

Very creepy thing happened though when we were leaving the museum!
We were followed by a bunch of CRAZY KIDS and they basically STALKED us the whole time and would not let me to take a single picture without prancing around and chasing each other like wild monkeys. Lol. JK 

It was fun having my sister’s classmates join the fun. It’s kinda shocking how many young Haitians have yet to visit the most popular museum in the country. Which is a big shame. I am also part of that statistic. My very first visit to MUPANAH was this year, after 20 something years. When it was right here this whole time. The historical artifacts I saw in there blew my mind in so many ways. It made me really proud to see our heritage. It would have been much more interesting if my elementary school had taken us on a field trip to MUPANAH rather than having us regurgitate facts about Haitian history. 

Special thanks to Clifford Timothé for the photographs as cameras are not allowed in. He was more than courteous and patient. (I still managed to sneak in a few pictures though #bawss #lawless)

Very special thanks to Smith Sajous for inviting me to accompany him while he interviewed, Martine Bruno Beaucicault, the Communications lady of MUPANAH. You’re awesome!

Keep on greening loves, your next destination doesn’t have to be too far 😉

Renting a Car in Haiti

Q: I’ve heard that renting a car in Haiti is hard, is it true?
A: Well come on Amigos, Let’s find out! *Dora Explorer Voice*

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The Good

Say you pick a company like Avis to rent a car in Haiti: You can get a reservation online and have your car waiting for you as soon as your plane lands! Their office is right next to the Toussaint Louverture Airport (listed as Mais Gate Airport (PAP) on their site). Prices to rent a car range from $50 up to $150 a day depending on the type of car and availability. A car rental in the US that you could easily get for $25 a day, could cost you $72 in Haiti but this is still a good deal considering it used to be more expensive.

The Bad, The Crazy and The Plain Outrageous

So now that your reservation is done, you make the assumption that you can just walk into Avis’ office and get your keys and be on your merry way? No. No. No. To actually be able to receive your rental, you have the following ‘choices’:

Option #1: If you paid the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and the Additional Liability insurance (ALI) while putting your reservation online, you are asked to make a deposit that can be as high as $1500 to secure the car. Your deposit must be cleared by the bank before you receive your rental. Even if you have a car insurance that covers you Globally, the company in Haiti will take the money directly from your deposit and you will be left to deal with your insurance afterwards on your own.

Option #2: If you did NOT get the LDW and ALI coverage, you are asked to pay a deposit of $5000 that will of course need to be cleared by your bank before you receive the car. Just when you thought you could save that extra $31 a day right? pats shoulders, shakes head And if you decide to pay the $5000 in cash, you are asked to also entrust your passport to the company. Which means no traveling outside of Haiti for you, until you return the car that is.

Warning: The insurance offered only covers collision. It does not cover theft or anything else. A friend of mine had his lights stolen from his rental and had to pay out of pocket to get it fixed.

And might I also add that fuel costs a bit more here than it does in the United States: around $4 per gallon . Which doesn’t sound too bad but when you realize that most people who work here don’t get paid in US dollars or should I say don’t get paid even close to what a “lower class” person makes in the States; Then you can really comprehend how expensive it is to rent a car and/or drive a car in Haiti.

Nevertheless, if you can afford it, it  allows you great freedom to roam the streets at your own leisure and take traveling into your own hands. Of course there are other ways (cheaper ways) to get around Haiti, but that’s not what this post is about, is it? 😛

Catch you on the next one !
Keep Greening 😉