When I planned my mission trip to Haiti, all the travel books show the "tourists" spots of the island. This is not the true Haiti. Haiti is a very poor, depressed nation. Yes, there are highlights, but the low points sometimes hide the highs.
In Port Au Prince, there is contrast of poor among the rich. There is no middle class. Concrete huts without doors are right next to mansions.
In Cap Haitian, I found a disaster. Living among the population wer goats, pig, cows, and chickens. The garbage is dumped outside the front door. When it piles up, they burn it before the pigs get to it. The smell of sewage, urine, and charcoal process was overwhelming. I felt very sorry about how humans are forced to live. At night, the nights noises of dogs, chickens, and voodoo chants are disturbing.
Homes consisted mostly of concrete, some with doors, others with a towel or sheet covering the inside area. Most cook over charcoal, and eat what they can grow, purchases or trade. Most meals consist of rice and beans.
But as I stated, there is beauty. It is in the people, especially the children. They smile when you greet them. They live their lives day to day, one day at a time. Wake up, send the children to get water, and figure out today's meals. Most seem happy to be alive. They deal with this type of life because they do not know better, or have just figured it can only get better.
I do plan on going again. I was there to help the Haitians and spread the Word of God.
If you get to Haiti, stay at the Kinam Hotel in Petion Ville. It is a very nice hotel. Nice pool, good food. There is a contrast of economic level in the area. Nice homes as well as the poor. A beautiful Baptist Church is located acrros from a park.
In Cap Haitian, the only place I know is the Hotel Beck, an old hotel in the hills. It could use some updating and a good cleaning, but the food was excellent and a great place to relax. It overlooks the ocean. Take a couple sets of ear plugs to muffle the night noises of dogs, chickens, and voodoo chants.
Overall, this was an experience I will not forget. It definitely allowed me to count my blessings as an American. What we take for granted, like drinking water, clean air, and a semi-clean atmosphere, are non-existent.