Thursday, 1 August 2013

Rebeca in Haiti: Volume I

After a speedy recovery from my ankle fracture, I have managed to abandon Canada, once again. This time, for Haiti! I am doing a 10 mont internship in World Vision Canada (WVC), although I am actually working in the World Vision Haiti (WVH) office in Port-au-Prince for more than half of that time. My trip there was delayed by about a month and a half due to my broken ankle but that time was not lost! I got to learn a lot of what goes on in the WVC office and I had a lot of time to read a lot about Haiti and the development initiatives & challenges in place. 

Why am I doing this?

I have always been interested in people and how we relate to our environment and so I am constantly looking for work and academic opportunities that allow me to explore these relationships. This time is not different. I am working in Humanitarian Emergency Affairs & Disaster Risk Reduction, which involves helping communities cope with risks associated with their environment. It's a mixture of community development and disaster preparedness. It’s very exciting work for me.

I also think this is a great way for me to start (or at least try out) a career in international development. Not to mention that I'm getting paid for it! In these sour times for recent grads, that's a major bonus...

First Impressions…

Honestly, I feel really good about everything so far. Port-au-Prince reminds me a lot of San Salvador, where I was born and raised. In both places you have an omnipresence of mango trees, economic inequality, and terrifying traffic. I haven't had the chance to go to the field very much but I did hit up some touristic spots in Jacmel and the Côte-des-Arcadins. 


Work is going well. My field manager and I are getting along and truly working together, it helps that we have a similar background in environmental studies. I'm still getting the hang of things but I am already collaborating on cool DRR projects. At times it can be a challenge to figure out how my responsibilities fit in with other initiatives in place, especially since the office is going through a lot of changes -- from a post earthquake focus on relief to long-term programming. A good thing is that my colleagues (including my field manager) seem to understand the Haitien context very well and will often give me a hand with things...

Daily life

Our accommodations are quite comfortable. I share a flat close to the office with a fellow intern, which is good for company, and we each get our own space. 

I must say I was surprised by how the food is a bit too expensive -- by how everything is a bit too expensive. Well, at least I can find everything I want in the supermarket (Port-au-prince 1-0 Périgueux). $4 for bbq pringles? Why not? #yolo. And I have re-discovered a lot of food that I used to enjoy in El Salvador, except for green mangoes. I am still on the hunt for those! 

The only difficult issue is transportation. Because of security concerns, we can't ride on tap-taps (the main means of public transportation) so we must rely on office cars or other people to get around. On weekends, it can be a bit of a hassle but so far we haven't had much trouble finding a ride. Hopefully that won't pose any problems in the future. 

Tap taps 


Well it ain't berlin you know, but there is fun stuff to do. I can't say I am disappointed because I wasn't expecting Port-au-prince to be crazy party central anyways (maybe it is and I'm just a loser, though). There are plenty of beautiful beaches, which more than make up for the lack of nightlife, and also the occasional awkward house party/networking opportunity. Oh, and Netflix here is better than in Canada so on that front, Haiti 1-0 Canada. 

Finally, I thought that I would be able to get by with my french but most people here speak (or prefer to speak) creole so I'm trying to get some creole lessons! 

**Keep in mind that I have only been here for about a week so there’s definitely more to see and to experience. Scroll down for some pictures**

Kenep or "mamones"


Kabic beach in Jacmel

Kabic beach in Jacmel

DRR game during a community event hosted by the Department of Public Protection

Kibby or Kibbi -- what I thought was a Haitian dish it's also Lebanese!

The view from my rooftop

Indigo Club, Cote des Arcadins

Found Peruleros! Whattup


  1. Bon courage, Rebe! J'attends tes nouvelles!

    Sarah (from Périgueux)

  2. So cool! What's the creole like...give us an example on your next post :) take care xoxo

  3. Hey! I'm such a bad blogger haha yeah that's a good idea, i will give an example! Creole, in my opinion is very similar to english in that it has a simple grammar and also similar to french in terms of vocab.


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