Why a guide to Haiti now?
Paul Clammer, October 2012
In the preconceptions of many people the country was turned to rubble during the earthquake of January 12 2010, or they see it as a hotbed of coups and Vodou.
The answer is a little more encouraging. Any country trying to build a tourist industry might give their eye-teeth for a portfolio like Haiti’s – it has a rich cultural heritage that lives through its art, music and religion. Its history – written across its landscape – is astounding, a country born out of the world’s only successful slave revolution to become the first independent black republic. Oh, and did I mention the palm-fringed beaches with white sand and turquoise sea?
And yet Haiti seems to resolutely remain a ‘bad news’ country. It gets poked and prodded by the international community, too frequently a laboratory for projects from international development to globalisation and everything in between. Media reports often simply reduce the entire nation to a single line – ‘the poorest country in the Western hemisphere’ – a moniker that obfuscates rather than enlightens. Yes, Haiti has economic and developmental problems, which the guide fully breaks down, but it is hardly unique in that.
Haiti deserves a much closer look as you will find when you explore the mountains and historic fortresses, squeeze into buses or just have a cold beer at a street-side bar, learning Creole and listening to locals tell their own stories.
So in answer to the question...I wrote this guide to Haiti now because I wanted to subvert people’s expectations of Haiti. It is an endlessly fascinating and beautiful place that I hope travellers will discover and enjoy with my guidebook.
Copyright 2012 Paul Clammer