I'm sure all my food blogging friends out there would like to hear a little bit about what the food is like in Haiti. To be honest, it's not much to write home about if you're a vegetarian -- beans and rice or peas, plain white rice, white bread, iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes, peanut butter sandwiches, etc. There were a few amazing things about Hatian food: fried plantains, milletant (a local squash, kind of like zucchini,) young coconuts, coffee, and fresh mangoes! Look how beautiful the mangoes were (and I ate piles of them for breakfast every single day):
Here is a picture of the guesthouse where we stayed for the week (there is also a pool, which is blocked by the wall in the front part of the picture):
And here is a picture of the entrance, with the gate rolled back, to give you an idea of how secure most middle- and upper-class homes are in Haiti:
Despite Haiti being a pretty dirty country in general, I was surprised at the conservation efforts I saw here and there. Gas and power are expensive and inconsistent, so folks conserve as much as possible. Most people drive diesel vehicles, which are more fuel efficient, and since most people get city power on average 4 hours a day (in fits and spurts,) lots of things are still done by hand, like laundry. Water is also scarse and expensive -- clean drinking water even more so. Some environmental messages from Haiti:
A sign in the bathroom reminding us to conserve water, and also to not clog up the plumbing:
Signs at Frere school, reminding children to respect their environment by putting trash in trash cans, by using toilets (instead of going in the woods,) by protecting plants and animals, and by not disrupting classes in session:
Solar panels on the roof of the guesthouse. Although these panels don't contribute much energy to the overall supply, they do help charge the batteries a little bit.
We did drive through downtown our first full day in town, before the manifestations started. Rene Preval's house (i.e., the Presidential Palace):
A neighboring park/monument (forgive me, I forget to whom):
We realized one of the best scenic views in Haiti is to be found at the airport:
And, yes, we're all boarding the plane Jackie-O Style!