Is Haiti safe for a single woman in her 20's?
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 5:46 PM Last Post By: parryander
Nov 1, 2012 10:15 PM
Is Haiti safe for a single woman in her 20's?My daughter is leaving with a group but will return to the airport alone. Is this safe? I am so confused between the postings of "how beautiful a country it is" and then reading the State Dept warnings on Haiti's kidnappings etc, I do not know which to believe!
Edited by: terrygortz
Nov 2, 2012 6:58 AM
1I'm not sure that anything I write will make you feel better about your daughter traveling to Haiti after you have read the State Department warnings. Their job is to make any American aware of any and all threats, not to make you feel good.
Since it is you, and not your daughter writing, and she is the one traveling - I will say that Haiti is occasionally a beautiful country; it has been trashed by poverty and bad leadership inflicted on it by other nations and corruption within, but the mountains are still there, and the beaches are fine and soft.
Haiti is poor. That alone can be frightening to someone from the US - we are to blame, of course, for much of the poverty, but Haitians on the whole don't go out of their way to point that out (yes - they are aware of it). Poverty is not beautiful and I do get upset with those glowing comments that contrast so horribly with the brutal conditions.
She is traveling with a charity I assume, so she will be touring poverty stricken areas, she will have people try to ask her for things, money (even if she doesn't know that) and they will stare at her and the group. But Haitians are not dangerous. They are poor and don't speak the same language as we do.
Poverty does not equal violence or a lack of humanity. Haitians are human and behave much the same way humans do all over the planet.
Your daughter - if you allow her to make this trip - will have a glorious experience and will come home a 'changed' person, no doubt. I am sure she can get help on the trip to the airport.
Nov 2, 2012 12:52 PM
2Thank you for your reply. She is going. I'll pray for her safety. That is all I can do at this time. Why are you so familiar with Haiti (if I may ask?).
Nov 2, 2012 2:41 PM
Nov 2, 2012 7:48 PM
Nov 4, 2012 5:10 AM
5"That alone can be frightening to someone from the US - we are to blame, of course, for much of the poverty"
Parryander, just curious as to why you feel that way (that we are to blame for much of the poverty), other than perhaps our role in propping up some of the dictatorships? Not sure they would have fared any better though if totally devoid of any outside influences. They seem to have been plagued with horrible governments and leadership, like so many third world countries. I know you know the country and its history very well so I value your opinion.
Nov 4, 2012 1:47 PM
6Good question -
There are many books that cover the history, but essentially from the get go, the US has been the major player in Haiti's economic stability. We (I will us 'we' here, although I understand many readers are not from the US) elected not to recognize the country for decades after independence which greatly reduced their ability to trade and develop a post-colonial economy.
We ran the country through about 2 decades and not only wrote the constitution, but ran the customs houses.
We slaughtered all the Haitian pigs - a very real and important source of income for the rural population.
We imposed crippling trade embargoes (one of the causes of deforestation was the embargo of cooking fuel forcing a shift to charcoal).
We crippled the agricultural sector through the importation of highly subsidized rice and relief foods.
We backed and funded the push toward low-wage sweatshop jobs (and still are - see the opening of the Korean owned complex in the north last week) in lieu of sustainable and local industries and education.
Haiti used to be able to feed itself. Poor, yes. But able to feed itself. It can't any longer. Yes, there were/are extremely corrupt leaders, and an elite that controls nearly all resources. But the US has played an enormous role in keeping that power structure in place.
does that help?
Nov 5, 2012 4:49 PM
Nov 5, 2012 5:46 PM
8There are many sides to the story - I am only telling one side, of course. I always suggest folks get several books to read - never take one source. It's very complicated, often deeply conflicted. It's a tough place to love in many ways, but once you get that red dirt under your nails, once you earn a belly laugh from a merchant or ride a moto through the mountains, hear kompa till the wee hours, well...you know - tough place not to love.
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