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Snapshot: Haiti

Dèyè mon, gen mon.

Beyond the mountains, more mountains.

This proverb is familiar to Haitians. Some say it is a proverb about patience – others, that there is more to someone or something then you can see at first.

We think it captures an essence of Haiti not often understood. Today, most people in the US associate one thing with Haiti: a terrible earthquake in January of 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The crowded capital of Port-au-Prince. The earthquake will likely be a defining moment in Haiti’s modern history, but that tragedy stuck the nation’s capital, and a majority of Haitians live outside of Port-au-Prince.  

The challenges Haiti faces – both pre- and post-earthquake – are numerous and complex, but so too is the country’s beauty. The name Haiti comes from the indigenous Taino people’s name for the island, Ayiti, or land of high mountains.

A view of Cap Haitian and an approaching storm.We serve several communities in Haiti in addition to Port-au-Prince. Cap Haitien, one of Haiti’s largest cities outside the capital, is in the far north on the coast that overlooks many of Haiti’s mountains.

The mountains beyond the mountains near Limbe.Limbe, technically a group of communities to the west of Cap Haitien along the Limbe River, is much more rural. Like many of the smaller cities and villages in Haiti, Limbe has received little to no investment in infrastructure and other important resources.

Ouanaminthe, a city just across the river from another city we serve, Dajabon in the Dominican Republic, is home to one of the four border crossings into the DR. The Massacre River is shallow enough for crossing by foot, and many Haitians use it to bathe or wash their clothing.

Are you surprised by the diversity of this small country? We hope to broaden your perspective beyond the traditional news story. Many of the countries we serve could be defined by horrible events in their history; while these events and tragedies provide important context, we hope instead to define a country by the endless potential of their greatest resource: their children.

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