Dear Mr. President,
As someone who has spent the past six years traveling to Haiti, I am angry, embarrassed, and disappointed by your comment. Haiti is not a s#hithole. Your irresponsible words do not reflect how our nation feels about a country that I have gotten to know through unforgettable experiences.
I am traveling to Haiti in two weeks and again in February. Perhaps you’d like to join me to experience the real Haiti. In case you’re worried about it being a s#hithole, here are some photos of Haiti that suggest otherwise.
I invite you to stay with me at my favorite hotel, The Hotel Montana. This locally owned property boasts the best view in Port au Prince. The owners and staff have become like family over the years. They even remember my daughter, Emily, and her love of mango from her visit 3 years ago.
If the Hotel Montana sounds familiar, you might remember that it was on the news in 2010 when a massive 7.0 earthquake shook the country. Today is the 8th anniversary of that earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 people.
There’s also a new Marriott in Port au Prince in town where you can find fabulous examples of Haitian art throughout the lobby but on Sunday, return to Hotel Montana for soup joumou, Haitian pumpkin soup. Theirs is the best!
While you’re in town checking out hotels and learning some lessons about Haitian hospitality, send Ivanka and Melania to do some shopping.
Pascale Theard Creations is my favorite boutique where hand beaded sandals, handbags, and bracelets made out of the most buttery leather are irresistable. If you’re lucky, you just might get to meet Pascale, her mother, or her daughter if they’re not in Paris. Yes, they spend a great deal of time traveling between France and Port au Prince but if they’re absent, the boutique’s gracious staff will be there to help you with anything you might need.
It’s also spot where Melania and Ivanka can take a seat, relax, and enjoy some fresh baked cookies and locally roasted Rebo coffee.
If they’re still hungry, Rebo Café is just around the corner. They roast the coffee beans right across the street so you can’t get fresher coffee. And this is far better than a frappucino!
Plan to meet up with Melania and Ivanka to spend the rest of the day in Croix des Bouquets wandering the neighborhood’s ateliers.
You’ll hear the sounds of hammers pounding on recycled metal oil drums as artisans create detailed metalwork pieces the country is known for. I hope you’ll pause to appreciate that each scratch, dent, line, and cut is hand done.
I think you’ll also be impressed by the redevelopment efforts that have turned Croix des Bouquets into a destination for Haiti’s well known handicrafts.
If you’re thinking about buying some land, land ownership is pretty complicated in Haiti so don’t be surprised if you can’t figure out who owns what.
Or maybe they just don’t want your money because you called their country a s#hithole.
A friend of Haiti forever,
For more photos of Haiti, visit my gallery on Flickr and to read about past experiences in Haiti, you can find my many posts here.
Amazon affiliate links are included in this post so you can also purchase Rebo coffee. You’re welcome!