Sunday, January 6th, 2013
Today was our last full day of the trip. I truly cannot believe how fast this Haitian experience flew by! I feel so cultured and blessed to have participated in this educational opportunity, for each and every day has been a valuable learning experience.
For our final day, we enveloped ourselves in art. First, we visited an area of Port-au-Prince where rows and rows of colorful paintings are hung up on the street walls. Artwork and other goods are sold on every street corner in Port-au-Prince, but some areas have more artwork than others. This particular street we visited was filled with paintings in every shape and size. Every picture told a story, and their artists were anxiously waiting for buyers like us to purchase their art.
Bartering with the artists can be quite a challenge. Once an artist knows you are interested in a painting, other artists will swarm over to you like bees waiting for honey. They hover close to you and try to persuade you to choose one of their paintings:
“Ma’am! Ma’am! You like this painting? Choose this painting! I’ll give you a price of two for $25.00,” they’d tell me. This was a little overwhelming at times, but I realized that I had to be stern and go with my gut feeling on the price of a particular painting. After a couple of trial and run errors, I realized that bartering for artwork is actually quite fun. In the end, both the artist and the buyer are happy. Most importantly, making sure that the money is going towards a hard working and deserving artist is what matters the most. The group was overall successful with bartering and choosing paintings for negotiable prices.
In addition, we visited the Iron Market, a busy marketplace filled with art and local goods. This is the area where the 2010 earthquake hit the hardest, and its damage is still evident. Crumbled houses crammed with buyers and their goods, water pouring down the dusty streets, and congested traffic are now the norm. The swarming of the artists and the bartering was even more prevalent at this location. Nevertheless, the group was quick to think on their feet and practice their bartering skills.
As a final hurrah, we stopped by Club Indigo, a beautiful beach outside of Port-au-Prince that showcases the beauty of the Caribbean shoreline. The turquoise water and white sand looked like the image on a postcard.
Before we leave Haiti tomorrow, we will be having a press conference with Regine, the US Embassy representative. Multiple press reporters will be present to ask us questions about our Haitian experience. I’m looking forward to talking to the press and sharing my love of Haiti with them.
During my time here, I witnessed many sides of Haiti. From poverty in the Grand Rue, the wonders of Haitian RA RA music, to high class art featured at Phillipe’s studio, I found the Haitian culture fascinating. The art is what Haitians thrive on to survive. They are trying to bring a new beginning to Haiti. The passion and hope that I saw in the faces of the Haitian artists will forever be imprinted in my mind. Many people look down on Haiti due to false pretenses, but now it is time for people to change their perspective and look up. Will you take the journey? Trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I want to take this time to especially thank all friends, family, and supporters of MCLA BCRC who have taken the time to read about the MCLA cultural immersion group’s adventures these past five days. (Shout out to a special person whose birthday is today!!) It means so much to MCLA community. I would like to give special thanks to Professors Jonathan Secor and Melanie Mowinksi, two amazing professors for whom this trip would not have been possible. Also, a special thank you to our Haitian friends Phillipe, BelO and the countless others we have encountered who showed us a side of Haiti that we would have never imagined.
Merci and Au revoir!
Posted by BCRC Admin on 01/07 at 01:32 AM