Haitian way of life very different from life in U.S.

Haitian way of life very different from life in U.S.


6 News Reporter

BOUCAN-CARRE, Haiti (WATE) - Life in Haiti is very different than what we're used to in the U.S.

When you leave the security of the airport in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, you notice the city life in Haiti is chaotic. There are massive traffic jams, and thousands of people walking the streets.

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In Haiti, it takes a long time to get anywhere.

"Same as usual, It's always a long trip," says Ben Johnston, chairman of the Haiti Outreach Program. "The longest part starts at the airport."

In the community of Boucan-Carre, where the Knoxville members of the Haiti Outreach Program stayed, daily life was very relaxed.

You could hear music playing in the streets. Haitians are familiar with U.S. artists like Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

Since most people don't have cars in Haiti's rural areas, animals are useful. The most common type of transportation is donkeys.

There's no electricity or running water in Haiti so people use large plastic containers to catch rain water. Many of the containers are on people's roofs.

The river is also an important source of water. In Boucan-Carre, Haitians use it to wash clothes, bathe and even brush their teeth. 

"The college, St. Michele, is important," said one Haitian the group met on the street. "It's important to this city." Education and religion are a big part of Haitian life.

People eat a lot of rice, beans and goat.

Due to the lack of indoor plumbing, it's not unusual to see people using the bathroom in the open.

In Boucan-Carre there's a police station, but the building is empty.

Housing is very basic. Many homes have dirt floors.

Most people in Haiti don't carry things in their arms. They balance them on top of their heads.   
"I think one of the most interesting parts was the technology, how the roads could be gravel and awful and no one has phone lines, but everyone has cell phones," said UT student Jarett Beaudoin, who traveled with the group. "They are dressed in polo clothing. Sometimes it was really odd."

A company from Ireland recently put in cell towers, and a few Haitians in Boucan-Carre had cell phones.

Without electricity, people charged their phones at the hospital or the church because they have generators.

Although the Haitian people may not have a lot, most seem grateful for what they do have.

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