I have come to learn that you cannot understand a culture standing above it, looking down. I say that because, growing up, I understood America from beneath it. Little old me...looking up trying to make it to the streets lined with gold. Not until “i made it“ that i realized looking around that it was never above me. I guess, you haven’t made it until you realize that the world is all on the same level.
This was a mental rant I sent to my friend Chika a little after I got back from Haiti. We had discussed my trip at great lengths, and for days I had been trying to sum up my trip in one photo, one word or at least one thought.
Before my trip I was advised not to go, I was told it wasn't safe, I was told to be aware of diseases and crime. I was cautioned against the rebellious nature of an adventurous soul. I think I may have gone to Haiti to prove that anyone could go to Haiti. I cannot even begin to talk about the amazing people, the food and the breathtaking scenery, laid delicately against a backdrop of colonial fingerprints and earthly destruction.
I learned about the beauty of immersing myself in every bit of the culture. I was more willing to walk around in the "bad" parts of Haiti than I would ever be in Ghana. I was more willing to get into the water, and eat food from the streets. I was more willing to accept their culture than I even did mine. This is what it must feel like to be a foreigner in a place that felt too close to home.
The best way to describe Haiti is to experience all parts of it. I pulled together my favorite images from over 2,000 shot all on my iPhone. What you see is the juxtaposition of all parts of the culture. I purposely chose not to leave anything out.
If you would like to visit Haiti for a similar cultural and volunteer immersion trip... visit www.fleurdevieonline.org