I love Haiti, to the core of my being. It is where I grew up, fell in love for the first time, and made lifelong friends. The mountains that contrast against the deep bluebeaches, the warmth of the people, the beautiful provinces, and the rich culture that I call my own are just few of the many reasons why I decided to move back even facing reservations from family and friends. Haiti will never change. You’re so young and there is so much more out there, they said. I disagreed and took the step anyway. Yet when these anxious feelings come, I find myself wondering if somehow my romantic notions of Haiti are unrealistic and rather something that I am seeing through rose-colored glasses. It is in the moments of traffic, where things are a little less appealing, that I start to question why I’m here.
Traffic aside, living in Haiti is not the easiest thing to do. For one, time is a nonissue for many, which I find both a good and bad thing. When on vacation, it is a euphoric feeling to have nothing to do and meander around without a care in the world. As a working professional, it can be a bit unnerving, especially after living in the United States where being punctual is seen as a sign of respect. I am punctual to a fault, and it has taken me some time to realize that I needed to adopt a more lax attitude the Caribbean (still working on that).
As I drove home, mentally ticking through the reasons why I shouldn’t be in Haiti (it’s too hot, it rains too much, I can’t eat any more Haitian food, etc), I remember that I left the United States because I was tired or the rigidity, the never-ending rat race. I craved to be somewhere where I mattered and could make a difference.
I believe that Haiti is perfect because of its imperfections. It is in knowing that despite my frustrations, I will sigh, smile, and say Ayiti Cheri. I can never really separate myself from it. The beauty of the country comes from within, from the flexibility of the people. It’s in the traffic where we simply drive to our destination knowing that eventually we will make it. So we buy a cool drink from a passing merchant, and we put on some music and just enjoy the ride, no matter how long it takes. And when I go out and see all the progress that is being done around the country, I remember how truly blessed I am to be here in the midst of it all. They say home is where the heart is, and I realize that no matter how far I go, even if life takes me to another country, my heart will always belong to this perfectly imperfect place