As the In-Country Coordinator for FHM, I’m sure you can imagine that I get lots of questions about living and working in Haiti. Most are related to Haitian culture, language, and development projects, but some are more personal.
Several of our guests have wanted to know what I do when I have a break from my guesthouse duties. So… what do I do for fun? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Going to the beach is definitely one of my most favorite ways to relax. The guesthouse is about two miles from the shoreline. The closest nicest beach is about 45 minutes away in Grand Goave. But there are options not as far away if you just want a pretty view and don’t care that the water isn’t as clear. I often pair my beach day with one of these bad boys! For around $12 you can get lobster served with fried plantains and piklis, a spicy Haitian slaw. Lobster doesn’t get any fresher than this!
For a more luxurious day of relaxation, I’ll make the trip to Bassin Bleu, a waterfall near Jacmel. It takes a couple hours to get there from Leogane, but it’s well worth the trip! To get to the waterfall you have to hike about 20 minutes and then use a rope to climb down a steep rocky ledge. If there’s time after visiting the waterfall, I enjoy walking around Jacmel and even eating dinner there before heading back to the guesthouse.
I love to go visit my special friends at a nearby children’s home. Hope For Life Children’s Home
is on the border of Leogane and Gressier and is home to 20+ of the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet! Sometimes the guests will join me if they get done early in the afternoon. Jesula (above) is sporting one of the Heart to Heart volunteer’s glasses.
There are a variety of activities happening at the children’s home on any given day. Sometimes I’ll just go sit with them doing nothing in particular. Some days we’re busy making earrings that I sell at the guesthouse. Other days we’ll have English lessons, game time, fun with crafts, or time playing on the Kindle Fire… which they especially love!
I love living in Leogane. It’s peaceful, it’s near the beach and the mountains. And it’s certainly less hectic than Port au Prince. There are a couple restaurants here and I do enjoy them, but you can’t get much here other than Haitian food (which thankfully I do love!). The closest grocery store is at least 45 minutes away. So sometimes I’ll take a full or half day and go to Petionville, a town just south of Port au Prince. They have dozens of incredible restaurants and several huge grocery stores. You can also splurge and spend the day at Karibe Hotel where for $30 you can relax by the pool and order off the menu until that $30 is spent.
The delicious pizza at Muncheez is just one of the many edible indulgences I enjoy in Petionville.
If you keep your ears open, you’ll learn of different events happening around the area. A friend of mine is the director of an organization that empowers young people through soccer and other activities. This summer they hosted a soccer tournament and invited other youth leagues in Haiti to play. A few of us enjoyed an afternoon watching the games and showing support for the teams.
I recently started walking my dog Atau in the sugarcane field beside the house. We’ve both been enjoying these outings! Even some of the guests have had fun taking her on a walk.
I love to get out and spend time in the community! Occasionally I’ll stop by and visit our guests when they’re out working. The photo above is from when my church was here with a team. It was great tagging along with them to the beach and mountain villages where they were serving for the week.
There are many families that I’ve gotten close to the past 2.5 years living in Haiti. I try to visit them whenever I get a chance. Some of them I met while living in other cities in Haiti. The family above I met through a team that stayed here at the guesthouse earlier this year.
This is my dear friend Mersina I met over two years ago. She lives by the beach about 20 minutes from the guesthouse. I always enjoy visiting her when I get the chance. The team from my church hosted a VBS day in her yard in July.
There are always so many things going on in the lives of my Haitian friends. Several of my friends have young babies so I’ve enjoyed getting lots of sweet baby time! This photo was taken earlier this month of my friend Ellen and her not even half day old baby. When I heard she had her baby of course I immediately had to go visit! Ellen had little Annabelle on the floor of her one room house. I love spending time in the mountains of Haiti! The fresh air and incredible views are so peaceful and relaxing! I enjoy every chance I get to visit these mountain villages whether by car, motorcycle (as this day was), or on foot!
And then finally, I enjoy saying “orevwa” to Haiti altogether sometimes and hopping over the border to the Dominican Republic. For $75 round-trip plus some customs fees you can take a 7-8 hour bus ride to Santo Domingo. I enjoy spending a few days there enjoying the sights and more varied food options—ok, I’ll be honest… the American food options! (There are many American chain restaurants there.) So next time you’re in Haiti, maybe we can enjoy some of these adventures together! I certainly try to make the most of living in the Caribbean and spending time with all of the special people I’ve met throughout my time here!