Some call it the land of Fidel…some of the Castro’s….let’s not forget the giant of a man Che Guevera….a music lover might immediately think of Ibrahim Ferrer and the ‘Buena Vista Social Club’. or a dancer – the Cuban Interpretation of ‘Salsa’….but, that would seem to not acknowledge the immense history, even expressed in its contemporary, of another jewel sitting right off the coast of the United States….

Most of my posts tend to deal with destinations a bit distant; however, digging around much closer to home and in the same vein as an appropriate follow up to my last post on Haiti – Welcome to the Malecon!!  🙂

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If you decide to go to Cuba, I critically recommend you connect with a ‘Cubano’.  If all you want is the tourist experience, then…well….you won’t really see Cuba.  Connect with the right person, and get down into the richness of this environment.  Arriving on the Malecon and walking up the steps to the Bungalow,

Walking into the room, and feeling the surroundings….if you did not know the definition of the word ‘vintage’, that’s okay – because you can feel it now.  As you can see, the doors open right up to the Ocean….that fresh completely stimulating breeze comes through the doors from the ocean…and with the feeling of vintage….I know – this is my place.  Looking outside from the porch, directly on the Malecon….the combined contribution to the atmosphere of the historical fort, old, and new Havana feels appropriate…

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Heading out onto the street, you can immediately feel that this strip is also a major social hub…and not just for visitors and tourists…but, for cubanos as well!!

Continuing to stroll and connecting with the feeling,

So much could be said, but sometimes – we talk too much…when we should be feeling,

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I find a great degree of fulfillment and satisfaction to study a place thoroughly, and then go sit and absorb….looking for an understanding I can use in my own life…and always, a baby of life pops up 🙂

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After half a day of strolling, absorbing, reflecting, learning, and simultaneously being in my head and getting out of it….it’s getting later in the day…

Retiring to the view from my bungalow….

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I reflect on being grateful that my understanding is not singularly shaped by those things that have no depth.  Admittedly, focusing on so much depth all the time poses mental health challenges, not to mention the social ones.  Never-the-less, I am excited….I am about to embark on another journey…some of which will be mentioned here…but, like most things…the internal residue will resonate more powerfully as time goes along….

I am grateful!!  I am in Cuba…on the Malecon…. ❤

 

 

If you’ve flipped through this blog, you know that I have been around to at least a few places.  These last few years, I focused more on Argentina….and then have now begun to roam about a bit more.  It is always wonderful to experience a place, not just in tourist mode…but, to be in a position to engage in cultural absorption.

For many reasons, which comes as no surprise….being in Haiti reminds me of a few places in Africa.

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I was told by a Panamanian friend once, that they were the only ones in the word with this type of transportation….well, seems as though the Haitians have their own flavor as well….

Like many places…it has its clean…and it has its..well, not so clean….

But, there is this thing that people do…where they are clean on the outside, and focus on presentation…yet have hidden their trash on the inside….

Yet sometimes, we have to accept appearances as we know we all have our own trash on the inside as well….personally, I enjoyed walking by the trash heaps in down-town Port-Au-Prince just as much as I did being amazed in the depth and beauty of Jacmel….

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The central park area where many a person gathers….

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Maybe with that…we can find more acceptance with each other….maybe not…we all have our own path and eventually we will look back on our own lives and have to be accountable to ourselves for it….let’s hope that we are the only ones who will hold us accountable….

Port-Au-Prince is a place where you can see the children at night sitting on the side-walk doing their homework under the street lights….all understanding that this life isn’t going to come easy….that should be a sign to some of our own judgements soaked in privilege …..

As I mentioned, this post was less about me….and more of a recognition….that I had help in learning to see the world….and maybe through these experiences I share….we can see each other a bit more humanely….

Grateful for the,

Pierre-Pierre Family

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Peace!!!!

 

Having traveled the way I have traveled, I realize that I am very fortunate.  Yet, like many people…sometimes I get stuck in my own head and forget the blessings….So in showing you a few of these visits…maybe I can remind myself….of how life does have its lar-gesse of soul touching experiences….

Haiti has its history and reputation obviously; but, like most things it is much bigger than that….this is Jacmel, Haiti…

For some really, familiar reason, Haiti is not generally considered the Caribbean!!!  Now, here is some evidence to the contrary 🙂  This was/is as blue and beautiful as it gets….fresh air coming off of the hills, mixing in with the ocean breeze…with very little population….

There are a few locations that are smaller resorts – but, not jam packed with people….provide a wonderful back drop for the contemplative….

And, even the natives are friendly 🙂  One thing I will add in…..Haiti has some excellent cuisine.  It is amazing how some of the poorest countries have some of the best food….not, only that….the company was absolutely excellent as well…. 🙂

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Haiti is what it is….no doubt, but, considering the history….and all the civilizations and countries that attempted to make it a sole source of labor and commodities in the global chain of production….these were some BAD ASS Mo’fo’s…sitting here…’with all due respect’….recommended reading….

To the Mountains….

Heading on to the next destination….there was a welcome party….and as I mentioned it is always wonderful to see the kids….or the adults in touch with their inner child….

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The little homies pointing at us, bet you they are bad as ever…. 🙂 and of course right around the corner….here we go…up the mountain….

That truck is loaded down…but, what was so intriguing for me is what was tied to the back….one of my favorite dishes….. reminded me soooooo of being in Liberia/West Africa.  When I saw it, I said to myself ‘Oh, the meat is sweat oh’!!  In my Liberian Accent 🙂 🙂

But, moving along through the mountains….just sharing pictures here…so you can see and get a good feel….feel it…..

 

 

 

Sometimes, it is better to not share the words so that we each can acquire and feel our own interpretation….I hope that you found something for yourself……

 

When I first began to travel as an adult, I would take ridiculous amounts of pictures.  Often times, these pictures reflected the disparate life conditions that people face.  As a general practice, I don’t do that anymore.  It, too often, reflects the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, providing commentary, and judgement of life dynamics we/they know absolutely nothing about….so often, we don’t even know we don’t know!!

Never-the-less, because the general absence of knowledge regarding Haiti…and the intense disparate treatment many of us of privilege create…either directly or indirectly….I am going to show you some of the ‘Bidonville’s’….

While this is someone’s home I can across downtown, it is only a start:

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The ‘bidonville’ for Haiti means – ‘thrown together’!!  A person/family basically finds whatever materials they can find…and throws them together to create a home.  Sometimes they are separate standing, but often times they are all built together – on top of each other – no basic utilities:

 

The pictures do not provide the complete justice needed to understand these circumstances, but if that is what you seek…then, you will know!!

 

But, let us not get this twisted….Haiti has immensity of ‘Bidonville’….but, like most places the socio-economic absence of equity can be intense.  Up in those hills, above the ‘Bidonville’, is what we call ‘Petionville’.  Generally, called a suburb of Port-Au-Prince, but also considered separate….

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Again, it would be easy to turn this post into an expose on structural violence, and the disparate life dynamics faced by many.  But, I want to keep it more focused on the attempt to see something beautiful….

A walk around the shopping areas will give you clear indications of the SEPARATION.  However, it also provides intriguing access to a portion of Haitian culture, for this is where I actually purchased this amazing painting…

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Rolled up and packed in a warehouse…took hours to find something like this….for me, it is the Haitian version of the famous statue by Auguste Rodin: ‘The Thinker’…. and, I am constantly striving to demonstrate improved thinking and reflecting….although, I will admit….sometimes I am successful with that…and well….sometimes not….

 

Remembering Haiti

May 12, 2020

This experience happened a few years ago, but it is one I have been meaning to post for quite some time.  The thought was transformed to action by the recent passing of the dear family friend who created this opportunity.  The person was Canadian/Haitian, but also a student of Haiti – specifically, the U.S. Refugee Act and the Haitian Interdiction Agreement.  We could talk about the classes or immigrants with privilege.  We could talk about the political dynamics, the housing issues, or the intense poverty for a country right off the coast.

Most have no direct experience with Haiti.  Many travelers will bypass Haiti to frequent the resorts or hot-spots in the Dominican Republic.  Much can be said about the history of Haiti, the relationship with the DR, and US policy towards the Haitians; however, those who are interested in such can easily find those discussions.  This post is more about a tribute to my friend, and to show you a little bit of Haiti.  Although rife with poverty, the Island is full of riches as well…

Landing in Port-au-Prince making the first stop at the castle….

The feeling you get is the majestic nature of the palace, with the mountains as the background, and if you do not know the history of Toussaint L’Ouverture, then that is recommended reading.  The ‘General’, in a historical and contemporary sense, seems to have left the remains for blessings and cursings…..yet, riding around Haiti….there is a sense of curiosity that shows the chains of hope…

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Whenever, I travel somewhere….I always look for the children.  I wonder what their story is…. In fact, some adults have a well developed inner child.  Thus, I wonder about that story as well.  Many of these youngsters are constantly seen being children.  Although the outsider would see the suffering, many of them are so happy they do not even know they are suffering.  But, I wonder; however, can you see the suffering inside of other people??

Just, going through downtown Port-Au-Prince, it is really quite fascinating….practically any view might pop up….and it made me wonder constantly….what stream of life is this?

In the city, of course there is the dust….but, also the views of the mountains (although some have been made bare because of the over-production of charcoal, the rivers…their inhabitants…..and of course the sights ….

The business owners and occasional amazing view… but, personally…I love my guy here:

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🙂 🙂  well, we all have our things we are fascinated by 🙂  But, moving right along….The next post, goes into what we call the …. ‘bidonville’…..

Ciao!!