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If You Visit Haiti

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog -



If You Visit Haiti

By Michael Deibert

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must ride up to the majestic Citadelle Laferrière, completed on the orders of Henri Christophe outside of Cap-Haïtien in 1820, to see a place, as much as any other, where slavery was defeated in the Western Hemisphere.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must wander through the streets of Cap-Haïtien itself, gaze upon the beautiful colonial architecture, sample the rhum at one of its fine hotels and enjoy a meal along the Boulevard du Carenage.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must travel over the rough roads to Môle-Saint-Nicolas to see the ruined forts of the French, Spanish and British, all defeated by Haiti's liberators, there.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must take a boat across the churning channel that separates Port-de-Paix from Île de la Tortue to experience the wonder that is Point Ouest, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Caribbean.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must go to la ville de l'indépendance, Gonaïves, to visit its great vodou lakous: Souvenance, Badjo and Soukri.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must turn off Route Nationale 1 just beyond Saint-Marc to drive deep into the Artibonite Valley and witness the skill and endurance of the peasants who coax bounty from the unforgiving earth.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must spend a night at one of the glittering resorts along the Côte des Arcadins, sipping rhum and watching the sun set carnally into the Caribbean there.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must drive into the Plateau Central, to hear about the long history of peasant organizing there and to visit the gorgeous Bassin Zim waterfall.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must visit the beautiful waterfall at Saut-d'Eau, an important place of pilgrimage and restoration for vodou adherents.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must go to Port-au-Prince to see the exuberant, difficult life of the people there, listen to the the konpa pumping out of ebulliently-coloured tap-taps, and sample the delicious Creole food and rollicking nightlife of Pétionville.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must visit the green and restful world of the Parc de Martissant, in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of the same name.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must meet with groups like the Konbit Soley Leve and Lakou Lapè to see how Haitians are working hard to bridge the issues that have historically divided them and create a brighter future for themselves.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must see first-hand the great work that groups like the Centre de Œcuménique des Droits Humains (CEDH), La Fondation Heritage pour Haiti (LFHH), Réseau National des Droits Humains (RNDDH), Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (FOKAL) and the Fondasyon Kole Zepòl (FONZOKE) are doing to help uplift the country.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must ascend to the heights of Kenscoff and Furcy above the capital, to enjoy a strong cup of superior Haitian coffee in the bracing cool of the mountain air.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must visit Croix-des-Bouquets to see the extraordinary iron work and vodou flags created by the artisans there.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must sample the douce marcosse in Petit-Goâve and go to visit the stone sculptors in Léogâne.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must wind your way across the mountains down to Jacmel, to see one of the Caribbean's most radiant colonial towns, which sheltered Simón Bolívar during a key time in his struggle.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must visit the Grand'Anse to walk in the footsteps of great Haitians such as John James Audubon and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas.

If you visit Haiti, and you should, you must come up with your own list of wonders to let me know what I have missed.

Haiti will not perish.

Kenbe fem.

MD

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