Learning the Haitian Way

I’ve been in Haiti for almost 2 weeks now, which is longer than either of my previous two experiences.  Sometimes I feel like I should be going home right about now, but soon realize I still have six weeks left.  Since I am going to be here longer than before, I have been experiencing a lot more things in the same amount of time of my previous trips. This time I feel like I’m actually eating more of a variety of Haitian food.  I’ve also been told way more now that “that isn’t the way we do it in Haiti.”  While spending a lot of time with Dr. Jacque, he has given me some real lessons on “the Haitian way.”  He has shown me different techniques to eating some of the food they eat.  He has also shown me the best way to eating meat off of the bone. When I eat fish or other meats in the United States, usually I don’t worry about the bones most of the time, unless it’s something like chicken.  When I eat the fish here I get a whole fish and have to look out for every little piece of bone. 

Driving in Haiti reminds me a lot of driving around the University of Nebraska on a home football game day.  I’ve told Verbo that I’m not sure I could drive in Haiti.  He just laughed and said that I could if I stayed long enough.  A lot of the side roads are really rocky and go up or down pretty steep hills.  There aren’t really any sidewalks in Haiti like there are in the States.  Drivers seem to get dangerously close to the people walking around and can come within inches of other vehicles at any given moment.  Motorcycles also seem to go wherever they please. I’ve been able to ride on a few and might try to get one when I come home, but I don’t know how my mom will feel about that one.  And parking is a mystery to me.  They don’t have the parking lots we do and usually will park on the side of the road.
 
So many times we as an American society we try to force our way of life and culture on other people, it’s been part of our history.  We sometimes have the mindset of it’s my way or the highway, which is probably why Americans are seen as arrogant around the world.  I try to take it as a challenge every time I’m told “this is how we do it in Haiti”, to break that American stereotype.  The way they do it in Haiti isn’t necessarily better or worse than we do it America; it’s just different.  Most of the time their way actually works better than the way I might do something.

Learning the Haitian Way,
Alex