Re-reading from the start of these posts, here’s a quick summary of things I learned during the last trip.

* If you can speak French, you’re fine on the Haiti mainland. It was absolutely no problem traveling with Adam translating. There were times when Adam translated for Michena and then Michena translated in Creole, but all in all, there’s always someone around that can understand French.

* Bottled water is abundant. I never had to use my water purifier, which I am hoping to return to LL Bean for a full refund.

* Suits are unnecessary, laundry is easy, though hard to dry. Make sure you give your clothes a few days to dry, particularly if there’s no sun. Be prepared for somewhat smelly clothes if you do laundry.

* Definitely buy a local cell phone at the airport These are cheap and plentiful and extremely useful while you’re there. Don’t think, just do it. Include US minutes too.

* Rent a 4×4 pickup (with $0 deductible insurance) and drive it yourself. If you can handle extremely bumpy roads, incessant pedestrian and motorcycle cutoffs, jumping into traffic, and changing flat tires, your best bet is to drive yourself. Don’t go by yourself in the rough neighborhoods without a Creole speaker, preferably Haitian. Make sure you get home before dark.

* Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it! Never trust vegetables unless you know for certain that they were washed in purified water. The only time I got the runs was from a lunch buffet at the Visa Lodge where I had some salad.

* Always bring more USB drives than you need.

* Never be late to a new site visit. There might be a room full of Haitians waiting to sing to you.

* Always leave room in your schedule. New opportunities came up nearly every day, so having some flexibility in our schedule was a great help. We saw double the number of schools anticipated and almost double NGO meets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *