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

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 😉

The Artisan’s Place: KAY ATIZAN

Location: 43 Rue Magny, Petion-Ville, West Department


If you’re like me and you really like accessories and crafts, walking into Kay Atizan feels like finding a piece of heaven. The small store is intelligently decorated with its many artisanal items to make great use of the space. When you walk in you will probably find Simone, the owner, seated at her desk with a huge welcoming smile on her face. She is super nice.

Coralie and I met her coincidentally one random night. We were seating inside the shopping complex that KAY ATIZAN shares with a gardening store called Serenity Cove and a restaurant, which we later found was the KAY ATIZAN restaurant . A live band was playing and near the bar were a group of my mom’s coworkers. The whole reason we were there was because our mother had insisted on stopping by “for a few minutes” to say goodbye to her departing colleague. Her minutes were dragging to hours, as they typically do, so I decided to take a tour of the place instead of just sitting in a dark corner staring at my phone.

That is how I stumbled upon the store, which seemed to be already closed because there was no one inside but one of the doors was open. So of course I ventured in.
I was in awe. Every item was well crafted.  I quickly went back out and called on Coralie to share my amazement.

What makes KAY ATIZAN special is that it exposes the best of the best. If you head down to Champs-de-Mars, downtown Port-au-Prince, where they expose similar items, the price will be a lot less but the finishing touch, the precision of the cuts, the aesthetic sometimes lack. Not to mention that the area is not the safest. KAY ATIZAN not only supports local artisans by buying from them but it challenges them to better their craft and be more original.

If you ever want to buy the best handmade Haitian accessories or decorations, keep KAY ATIZAN in mind as you would also be helping hardworking artisans 😉

With that said, Keep Greening !

 

Artisanal Expo: Femmes en Creation et Production

 Location: Hotel Montana, Bourdon, West Department


Women are often said to be the backbone of the Haitian economy.
 Haitian women are strong, loving, hardworking, creative, resilient and this is not to take away from other women around the world but I am a witness of the power that women in Haiti possess and it inspires me to be better, do more, and give more. Especially after attending this event.

I applaud organizations like Femmes en Democratie Women in Democracy for creating platforms where women can come together and do events like these. Articles exposed ranged from edibles to accessories to home improvement items. I’ve put the contact information of the various vendors at the bottom of each picture for your convenience. Let’s support each other!

Edibles

The pitas and the dips were heaven. I recommend highly, they would be perfect as appetizers at a get together or open-house event. If you’ve ever had Stacy’s Pita Chips, they are very similar in taste to that but thinner.

Hair products

I was expecting to see more hair products made out of natural ingredients, sadly there was only one. Coralie found the smell of some JHASS-K’s products repulsive. If that’s something you mind, then this may not be the right line of products for you.

Accessories

Clothes

Home Improvements

Art

Highlight of the Event?

Meeting History professor Bayyinah Bello !!!
This woman is the epitome of fierceness
She is so humble and poised. Gaaahh!
Her Foundation Marie Claire Heureuse Felicite Bonheur Dessalines (FF)
has monthly meetings open to the public during which they discuss a topic
that will be useful to our advancement as a people
They are located at Village Theodate, Tabarre Rue A #4
Number: (509) 2248-2238

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Fairs are always a good time to browse, shop, eat and support talented entrepreneurs. Entrance fees are fairly cheap but in contrast items can be overly expensive. Ridiculously expensive at times. A good tip I want to leave you with is to never EVER leave your belongings out of sight. Events like these sometimes attract stealers just waiting for you to drop your guards. Nothing to be alarmed about but just be vigilant.

With that said, Keep Greening!

Anse à Veau: You Give Me Life

Location: Anse- à-Veau, Department of Nippes

At the edge of a mountain
Overlooking the sea of Anse- à-Veau

My skin refreshed by the cool breeze’s
Smell of coconut water

This IS the good life..

Every creation is a reminder of the creator
And my being is giving thanks
For this. For now. Forever and beyond.

P.S.: The beach was great! The black sand was beau-ti-ful.
The crazy waves would have been perfect for surfing. They were so strong, we were being propelled to the shore only to be dragged backwards moments later. We were having so much fun ducking the huge ones. In the words of my uncle Jojo “great massage!”
I slept like a baby last night 😉

P.P.S.: Oh and yeah of course I bought some Dous Makos on our way back from Petit Goave. Yum! Hands down my favorite dessert after chocolate cake.

Trivia question: Do you know the exact location of where the Dous Makos recipe originated in Petit Goave?

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Caiman’s Hole…and the Cat

Location: Trou Caiman, West Department

So what’s so special about Trou Caiman? you might ask

Answer: No clue. Besides being pretty to look at and being right next to Lake Azuei (a big lake shared by both Haiti and the Dominican Republic)… Trou Caiman is just a lake. With crocodiles I hear.

Buuut like I said: very pretty to look at. We saw it  on our way to Saut d’Eau and quickly decided to take some pictures. And we found a CAT! shocker (and so random)

Hope the pics keep you GREENing! 😀

No worries it’s Palais Sans Souci

Location: Palais Sans Souci, North Department

In case you didn’t catch on: Sans Souci means Without Worries 😀

This place though! My gosh. I would give up ten years of my life (okay maybe five..) to go back in time just to see what this place looked like in the 19th century. Back when Henri Christophe’s royal family and all the mighty soldiers lived in it. With it’s immense botanical gardens, artificial springs, huge horse stable…Wow

Despite being mostly destroyed by the quake of 1842, the palace, now an empty ruin, is still grandiose. The architecture strategically envisioned is spectacular.

Our tour guide did a great job showing us around while giving us a history of the place. It’s sad that we have to look in the past to see how strong, powerful, ingenious, brave Haitian people are. It was therapeutic to learn about my past and essentially myself.

They also had an artisanal store so of course we bought a few goodies. Enjoy the pics and stay greening!

Péligre’s Hydroelectric Dam

Location: Péligre, Central Department

The view from the bridge of Péligre is amazing for sure, but I’d have to say my favorite thing about that spot is the rusted concrete mixer we drove past at the entrance. It was used during the construction of the dam. It just stands there almost as if it wants to be ignored but it is such an intriguing beauty..

Our stop to Péligre was very short. We walked along the bridge, inhaled the salty air, pondered on Peligre’s beauty and took a whole lot of family pictures… ❤

See you on the next adventure
Stay greening 😉