Haiti Travel Stories, Page 11

Luggage Tag Magic Marker Travel Tip

I have stopped using luggage tags and replaced them with a Black Permanent Magic Marker.

I realized one day… hmm, luggage tags are removable, next I decided to make one that was installed into the side of the bag with a plastic window. Oops, I then realized, what a mistake, all I have to do is write on my bag with permanent ink.

Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Thursday, November 12, 2009
Travel Gear

The only problem is that people will walk by and say,
“Hello Andy.”

Note, black luggage, black backpacks, or black duffle bags is a horrible color for luggage, it becomes almost impossible to know your bag, and when someone accidentally picks up your bag at the airport carousal and takes it home, you will surely agree.

Are you really going to sell your bag?

Luggage Tag Magic Marker Travel Tip

Haiti Orphan Photos

I met Jasmine Martinson in the Fort Lauderdale airport as we boarded a plane to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Jasmine and her husband Greg operate an orphanage in Leogane, Haiti about 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince. She is from French speaking Quebec, Canada and Greg is from California.

This is Rodnashka, my new friend from Haiti, she is two and a half years old and cannot walk, she scoots around on her butt, reaching out with her hands and pulling her body forward. She answers better to the nickname Roadie, however generally she is in her own world.

There are children in Haiti who fail to thrive for many reasons, lack of food, sanitation, nutrition, love, violence, drugs and all the normal problems of the world. Jasmine and Greg find children like Roadie and nurture and love them back to good health, saving them from death.

The dilemma I have is this, if we save these children, and then there will be more children, with more babies and a never-ending cycle of poverty. Greg and Jasmine when they arrived in Haiti was not able to look the other way and forget, they decided to save one child,
“Because it mattered to that child.”

If you could save, the life of one child would you?

What is needed is hope, Greg and Jasmine raise their 35 children as if they were their own; the children live in an Americanize family. This family teaches Christian values, right and wrong, with the hope to raise young men and women that will change Haiti. Maybe you could say Greg and Jasmine are raising children of hope, these children will not just survive, their eyes will be filled with hope, and when people believe that life is good, then life is good.

I often say, “Life is Good,” not because life is always good, but because I know if I can say these words, then it is possible that life is indeed good. Can you say these words?
“Life is Good.”

Jasmine and Greg I believe are raising children in Haiti with eyes of hope that will be able to say, “Life is Good,” and when you can say, “Life is Good,” the world does change for the better.

Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Travel Gear

I met Jasmine in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport, she was worried about me and said when I talk with my husband Greg, maybe you can come stay at the orphanage until you get on your feet in Haiti.

The car broke down on the way to the Orphanage, a mechanic came, towed it to the shop, and drove us to Leogane, and there is a never-ending list of problems to be solved in chaotic Haiti.

Port-au-Prince slums, there is trash everywhere in Port-au-Prince; in homes like the ones along river is where many of the children in the group home are found.

The country of Haiti is occupied and policed by a United Nations military force.

UN Soldiers in an armored vehicle sitting at a strategic corner between Port-au-Prince and Leogane.

Cute is everywhere in this orphanage, the children are all smiling

Greg spends his whole day repairing and fixing things, in this photo he is fixing the stove. It takes a lot of time to buy, cook and feed 35-40 children. The house has a generator back up and many car batteries, the electricity goes off daily.

Roadie sitting in her high chair in the upper level of the house, when a baby or child has exceptional problems Greg and Jasmine bring the baby up into their immediate family area. There are large dorm rooms below with about five adult women to care for them.

Roadie eating a Peanut Butter sandwich, sort of a special mix for malnutrition babies.

In the morning, there is the ritual of preparing breakfast, tearing up loaves of bread into 35-40 pieces, cutting up fruit, and trying to keep the children patient.

The children waiting patiently for the Morning Prayer and to eat breakfast.

Disabled child eating breakfast, this type of wheelchair cost money; it is expensive to raise a family of children with problems.

Roadie is my friend.

I am not sure I like the look in her eyes; I just cannot put my finger on it.

I want this child to walk.

Manaz a girl who works at the orphanage went to the market on a motorcycle taxis, she is returning. Notice the barbwire, we are inside a compound, it is not safe outside at night, we are in a safe haven.

We got a ride to Port-au-Prince to pick up the car that was repaired, there is a pig walking around in the market.

A child on a porch swing, this is truly a luxury to play on a porch swing in Haiti.

Playing in courtyard area of the house.

Three of the babies that are upstairs so Greg and Jasmine can watch, care and love them under their watchful eyes.

A small child being bathed in a plastic washbasin.

Barbwire is needed in Haiti, this row of barbwire surround the compound house.

Class is being held, many older children go to public school, however lessons are also given here in the house, more or less a head start for the children. I would say there is always a Christian overlay to these classes, although Greg and Jasmine are not missionaries, they are for sure religious and raise their 35 children to understand God.

One of the 5-8 adult girls around holding a child, in a way, believe they could use volunteers to just sit and hold children, this alone is a full time job in a family of 35-40. I constantly had children on my lap, hugging and holding.

Roadie pulled herself up the balcony bars, she wanted to see what the other children were looking at, I almost cried, it was too much.

Roadie looking and wondering.

They are looking at Tap Taps or Machines passing with many people sitting on top of them, they want me to take a photo.

Notice Roadies twisted legs, this just ain’t right.

First we crawl, then we teeter, then we walk, strangely and in heartbreaking way, road drags her butt around on the floor.

Watch Video of Roadie


If you do not see a video here it is because you are reading by email, click here to see video.

The family raises a goat, and a couple of Turkeys, Greg tells me the males keep dying, in Haiti is always a struggle.

Greg and Jasmines Haiti Family, a photo taken right after Sunday Church service, this truly reminds me of my childhood.

This is the smile I want to see on Roadie face, it takes a lot of love and money to put that smile on a face here in Haiti.

It suppose I have avoided writing this report, I need a couple of days to think about what I saw in the home of Greg and Jasmine. I hate to call this an orphanage, it is not just a place for homeless children, it is a place where a child like Roadie could learn to smile and walk.

Jasmine explained that it cost about 2.35 U.S. Dollars per day per child to feed the children, this is 2467.5 per month. While I was there, the transmission on the car broke, the septic system overloaded and needed pumped, and there is a never-ending list of needs for this family in Haiti.

What is needed is money, please go to Greg and Jasmines internet site and click on the donate button, you can give with your credit card or paypal.com account.


The money here is not buying food, it is enabling Greg and Jasmine to love the children of Haiti without worry, like my parents, the children came first. I want to see Roadie walk, she is two and half years old, this just ain’t right.

Haiti Orphans

Mosquito Net Window Treatment Travel Tip

You can stop mosquitoes entering a Hotel room by covering the windows with mosquito netting. Mosquito nets are not the best solution for protection from mosquitoes; mosquito nets are an annoyance that need to be used when the hotel is extremely cheap. When I see boutique Hotels advertisements showing mosquito nets draped over a bed, I think to myself,
“I surely hope they do not need them, and this is just an exotic marketing scheme where they want to give you a cliché view of jungle experience.”

Mosquito nets are hot, rip easy, and are difficult to enter and leave without damaging them, normally the ones supplied by hotels have holes. Putting screens on windows and doors is the answer to Malaria, not mosquito nets, 10 times more comfortable and people do not need to be convinced to use them.

Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Travel Gear

I covered the window with a piece of mosquito net, the bag hanging on the window is my shower bag.

I carry a piece of mosquito netting about five feet by five feet, it will cover most windows in hotel rooms. I stuff it into the windows and often I use packing tape to cover the joints. Note, if possible do not use tape, and for sure do not use duct tape as this will adhere too well and cause problems for the paint in the room.

Note, I always carry a proper mosquito net, because I do stay in super cheap hotels or I am sleeping on the roof, or just under a roof with no walls, mine is made to be used with a hammock.

Mosquito Net Window Treatment Travel Tip

Haiti Food Bon Bon Sirop

I went on my morning walk here in Les Cayes, Haiti and found some delicious bread like Haiti food called “Bon Bon Sirop.”

Bon Bon Sirop, I believe is made with molasses, but I am not sure, they Hotel staff explained something to me about Sugar Cane, but not important, it taste good.

Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Travel Gear

I believe the cook sliced off a small piece of raw sugar cane and adorned the top, I thought it was a piece of onion at first, sugar cane is everywhere, the locals it like an apple.

I am sure there is a reader that can explain this Haiti food better than I can; please do so in the comments area below, thank you.

This boy was tailing me as he carried water back to his house, his flip flops were noisy, so I paused, allowed him to pass, and tailed him. If you look real close you will see he has music playing in his ears and there are wires going down towards his pants.

See the square storm gutters here, this is good, it appears that many good infrastructure are started, however few are completed.

The boy in front was shiny with sweat and bulging with muscles, maybe a view in my imagination of slavery here in Haiti. I am sorry Robin and other women; I failed to get the complete photo.

This was my morning in Les Cayes, Haiti, a nice walk around and trying to take photos without causing a commotion, they do not like photos.

Haiti Food Bon Bon Sirop

Computer Problem Using Verizon HTC Touch Pro 2

I got the blue screen,I turned off. then it did the constant flicker. I removed battery,removed hard drive, removed RAM, cleaned and reset trying to seat more positively.

The computer would not boot. waited while it processed,then after a couple of forced shut offs it started and said,
"Startup Repair."

"Do you want to restore?"
I said yes.

I am scared, three new variables of possible problems.

1. Generator and low voltage.
2. Played a DVD movie from Philipines last night.
3. Shaking in Tap Tap public transport.

I am on the Verizon HTC Touch Pro 2 with Global Data Plan. I can post reports over this if my computer is dead. Thd HTC has a qwerty keyboard and camera.

On a hope and a prayer here in Haiti,the good Gods always finds a path for a Hobo like me.

Les Cayes.Haiti Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Traveled to Les Cayes Haiti

I took a Moto from Port Salut to Les Cayes for 250 gourde, about 6 U.S. Dollars a distance of between 25 and 30 kilometers. Motorcycle Taxis are an enjoyable way to see a country however; you must be brave, maybe crazy.

I am now moving back towards Port-au-Prince, I plan on stopping and staying a day or two in each city that is big enough for a Hotel. Hmm, I must be careful with words, I do not search for Hotels, I ask for Auberges, Pensiones or Chambres, if I said “L’Hotel,” for sure they would take me to the most expensive Hotel in town, I just keep saying
“Pas Cher.”
“Chambre Pas Cher.”

“Pas Cher” = Not Expensive

Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Travel Gear

Now I am in a rather nice room here in Les Cayes, it has a toilet, shower, fan, television that shows local stations in French and two small tables for 500 gourde, about 13 U.S. dollars. I think the television is French, it could be Creole, I am sure it is not English.

Map to Les Cayes, Haiti from Port Salut, Haiti - 25-30 Kilometers, paid 250 gourde.

Traveled to Les Cayes Haiti

Port Salut Haiti by Tap Tap

I walked out the Orphanage this morning, flagged down a Moto or Motorcycle Taxi that took me on a tour of the city of Leogane, Haiti. Not really, a tour, but I said,
“I go to Les Cayes”

Haiti Moto or Motorcycle Taxi

I showed him a piece of paper Les Cayes written on it, and the Moto took me to three bus stop areas. First one appeared to be only for Port-au-Prince, the second was confused, and the third one he said,
“Wait here.”
He truly did not know which bus or Tap Tap went to Les Cayes, so I just allowed him to search for the proper bus area, I let the Moto Taxi person guide me. These conversations were not in English, a mix of French, sign language and intuitively knowing if a person says, “Les Cayes,” he is probably going to bus stop.

Port Salut - Les Cayes, Haiti - Monday, November 9, 2009
Travel Gear

Tap Tap or Machine, one form of public transportation in Haiti. See my bag in the front grill of this “Machine” or maybe a “Tap Tap,” I have believe they are called both, it is called a Tap Tap because you must Tap Tap to tell the drive to stop to let you off.

Map to Port Salut, I took a big Tap Tap to Miragoane, then change into a Toyota truck Tap Tap that took me to Les Cayes. I felt lazy, I found a Moto that took me the last 25 Kilometers to Port Salut where I am now located in the Port Salut Beach House for 10 Dollars per night.

This trip was easy, as normally, I never say the name of the bus stop, or anything that is specific; I just say the final destination and the conductors and chauffeurs draw me to my final destination.

I took a Toyota Tap Tap that I looked like this from Miragoane to Les Cayes.

I ate this Pom Kak and bribed the driver with a pack, he got mad because I took a photo of the front of the big Machine where I had my backpack, they do not like photos here in Haiti.

The road was excellent, but for this one detour, but the scenery was great so made up for the gravel road. The roads are the three abreast type, where a car can pass even when they are not supposed too.

Haiti is full of small mountains; the roads meander around them, truly, as soon as we cleared the over-populated city of Port-au-Prince this country is friendly and beautiful.

There appears to be many nice beaches in Haiti, I would bet the majority have almost zero people on them. I am still guessing, but I would suppose the rich people from Port-au-Prince come to the resorts with their girlfriends. I have already seen at least five United Nations Military bases, and I would suppose they too are bringing their girl friends to these resorts. In a way, they are hideaway resorts more than they are resorts.

I am rather screwed; it takes me about 30-45 minutes to walk from the Port Salut Beach House to anything. There is no electricity, my computer will die shortly, and I will publish this post using an HTC Touch Pro 2 with the Verizon Global Data connection. I hope to get this one post published, hang out and flirt with Nadine, a truly gorgeous girl who manages the Hostel. (She has yet to allow me to take her photo.) I will probably go back to Les Cayes in the morning and get back on my cultural tour of Haiti and out of these remote, you-got-to-have-a-car and bring you own babe resort area.

Port Salut Haiti by Tap Tap

Is Haiti in East or West Africa

No, Haiti is located about 580 Miles Southeast of Florida, Haiti is a neighbor who lives done the street from the USA. Haiti is an independent country in the West Indies, occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic.

I am asking the question, is Haitian culture more East or West African? Did the majority of slaves come from East or West Africa?

More or less the Slave business worked like this, the Chiefs over in Africa collected humans, and then European Ships would come to the port, load them up and take them somewhere? The eternal question that comes to the surface is where, and lead to books like “Roots” written by Alex Haley, generally the Black people in North, Central, Caribbean and South America do not know where they came from, their roots are not clear.

If you want the proper word for a cocktail part to play your part in pretentious conversation, then you need to get a grip on the word
--- scattering of language, culture, or people: a dispersion of a people, language, or culture that was formerly concentrated in one place

Léogane, Haiti - Thursday, Sunday, November 8, 2009
18 751098E - 2047382N
Travel Gear

I have been to East and West Africa, and it is my overwhelming opinion this is a West African culture forcibly relocated over to Haiti, it is not President Osama’s Kenya family. I feel like I am in West Africa, which is truly a better place to be than in East Africa. I personally enjoy the happier cultures of West Africa, sort of a Frenchie dice roll, and not the serious English lets make a lot of rules society.

Where are you from?
I find it quite interesting people can forget where they came from, well; I am not sure forget is the right word, somewhere along the line it was not important to remember. There are thousands and million of people studying the Genealogy of their family to answer the question,
“Where do I come from?”

My name family name Graham is probably Scottish, however it is possible my family name originally came from Ireland or England, we just do not know, I am mutt American, we have been in the country since about the 1600-1700, somewhere down the line we forgot to remember. The culture of a family, the family customs, the way of life of our ancestors are not forgotten, I have asked my mother to explain many times, where did you learn to make Potato Soup.

Walking around in Haiti, I see West Africa written on the culture everywhere I go, from the way they smile, the way they eat, drink and live, I feel like I am in an West Africa. I surely hope you do not consider this a bad thing, West Africa is wonderful place.

By the way, I always want to thank the French, what would I do here in Haiti without the Baguette, if the French was around; there is normally some good bread to be found.

Is Haiti in East or West Africa