HAITIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 10,714 square miles

Population: 9,719,932

Capital:  Georgetown

Currency: Gourde

Weather / Climate:

Haitiis on the western part of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic (the latter shares a 360-kilometre (224 mi) border with Haiti). Haiti at its closest point is only about 45 nautical miles (83 km; 52 mi) away from Cuba and has the second longest coastline (1,771 km/1,100 mi) in the Greater Antilles, Cuba having the longest. The country lies mostly between latitudes 18° and 20°N (Tortuga island lies just north of 20°), and longitudes 71° and 75°W. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys.

The northern region consists of the Massif du Nord (Northern Massif) and the Plaine du Nord (Northern Plain). The Massif du Nord is an extension of the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic. It begins at Haiti's eastern border, north of the Guayamouc River, and extends to the northwest through the northern peninsula. The lowlands of the Plaine du Nord lie along the northern border with the Dominican Republic, between the Massif du Nord and the North Atlantic Ocean. The central region consists of two plains and two sets of mountain ranges. The Plateau Central (Central Plateau) extends along both sides of the Guayamouc River, south of the Massif du Nord. It runs from the southeast to the northwest. To the southwest of the Plateau Central are the Montagnes Noires, whose most northwestern part merges with the Massif du Nord. Its westernmost point is known as Cap Carcasse.

The southern region consists of the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac (the southeast) and the mountainous southern peninsula (also known as the Tiburon Peninsula). The Plaine du Cul-de-Sac is a natural depression that harbors the country's saline lakes, such as Trou Caïman and Haiti's largest lake, Lac Azuéi. The Chaîne de la Selle mountain range – an extension of the southern mountain chain of the Dominican Republic (the Sierra de Baoruco) – extends from the Massif de la Selle in the east to the Massif de la Hotte in the west. This mountain range harbors Pic la Selle, the highest point in Haiti at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft) *[71]

The country's most important valley in terms of crops is the Plaine de l'Artibonite, which is oriented south of the Montagnes Noires. This region supports the country's (also Hispaniola's) longest river, the Riviere l'Artibonite, which begins in the western region of the Dominican Republic and continues most of its length through central Haiti and onward where it empties into the Golfe de la Gonâve. The eastern and central region of the island is a large elevated plateau. Haiti also includes various offshore islands. The historically famous island of Tortuga (Île de la Tortue) is located off the coast of northern Haiti. The arrondissement of La Gonâve is located on the island of the same name, in the Golfe de la Gonâve. Gonâve Island is moderately populated by rural villagers. Île à Vache (Cow Island), a lush island with many beautiful sights, is located off the tip of southwestern Haiti. Also part of Haiti are the Cayemites and Île d' Anacaona. La Navasse located 40 nautical miles (46 mi; 74 km) west of Jérémie on the south west peninsula of Haiti,[72] is subject to an on-going territorial dispute with the United States.

Taken from wikipedia

HAITIAN languages

One of Haiti's two official languages is French, which is the principal written and administratively authorized language. It is spoken by all educated Haitians, is spoken in schools, and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church masses. The second is the recently standardized Haitian Creole,[98] which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian Creole is one of the French-based creole languages. It is closely related to French, but is also influenced by African languages. Haitian Creole is related to the other French creoles, but most closely to Louisiana Creole.

Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti

HAITIAN people

Although Haiti averages approximately 255 people per square kilometer (650 per sq. mi.), its population is concentrated most heavily in urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. About 80-85% of Haitians are of predominantly West African descent.The remainder of the population is primarily mulattoes. There are tiny Arab, Asian and European communities. Hispanic residents in Haiti are mostly Cuban and Dominican. About two thirds of the Haitian population live in rural areas.

Although there was a national census taken in Haiti in 2003, much of that data has not been released to the public. Several demographic studies, including those by social work researcher Athena Kolbe have shed light on the current status of urban residents. In 2006 households averaged 4.5 members. The median age was 25 years with a mean average age of 27 years. People aged 15 and younger counted for roughly a third of the population. Overall, 52.7 percent of the population was female.

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Haiti

HAITIAN food

Haitian cuisine originates from several culinary styles from the various historical ethnic groups that populated the western portion of the island of Hispaniola, namely the French, African, and the TaínoAmerindians.

History

Haitiis similar to the rest of the Latin-Caribbean (the French and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Antilles), however it differs in several ways from its regional counterparts. Its primary influence derives from French and African cuisine, with notable derivatives from native Taíno and Spanish culinary techniques. Though similar to other cooking styles in the region, it carries a uniqueness native only to the country and an appeal to many visitors to the isbobland. Haitians use vegetables and meats extensively and peppers and similar herbs are often used for strengthening flavor. Dishes tend to be seasoned liberally and consequently. Haitian cuisine tends to be moderately spicy, not mild and not too hot. In the country, however, many businesses of foreign origin have been established introducing several foreign cuisines into the mainstream culture. Years of adaptation have led to these cuisines (e.g.: Levantine from Arab Migration to Haiti) merging with Haitian cuisine.

Manje Kreyòl

"Manje Kreyòl" (Haitian food) is the equivalent of criollo cooking (criollo meaning "creole") in other countries. This encompasses most of what is regularly cooked in Haiti, involving the extensive use of herbs, and somewhat unlike Cuban cooking, the liberal use of peppers. A typical dish would probably be a plate of diri kole ak pwa (rice and beans), which is brown rice with red kidney or pinto beans glazed with a marinade as a sauce and topped off with red snapper, tomatoes and onions. The dish can be accompanied by bouillon (bouyon), known as sancocho in some neighboring countries. Bouillon is a hearty stew consisting of various spices, potatoes, tomatoes, and meats such as goat or beef.

Rice is occasionally eaten with beans alone, but more often than not, some sort of meat completes the dish. Chicken (poul) is frequently eaten, the same goes for goat meat (kabrit) and beef (bèf). Chicken is often boiled in a marinade consisting of lemon juice, sour orange, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic and other seasonings and subsequently fried until crispy.

Legim is a thick vegetable stew consisting of a mashed mixture of eggplant, cabbage, chayote, spinach, watercress and other vegetables depending on availability and the cook's preference. It is flavored with epis, onions, garlic, and tomato paste, and generally cooked with beef and/or crab. Legim is most often served with rice, but may also be served with other starches, including mayi moulen (a savory cornmeal porridge similar to polenta or grits), pitimi (cooked millet), or ble (wheat groats).

Other starches commonly eaten include yam, patat (neither of which should be confused with the North American sweet potato), potato, and breadfruit. These are frequently eaten with a thin sauce consisting of tomato paste, onions, spices, and dried fish.

Tchaka is a hearty stew consisting of hominy, beans, joumou (pumpkin), and meat (often pork). Tchaka is eaten by people and also used as an offering to the lwa in Vodou.

Spaghetti is most often served in Haiti as a breakfast dish and is cooked with hot dog, dried herring, and spices, served with ketchup and sometimes raw watercress.

One of the country's best known appetizers are Pate, which are meat or salted cod patties surrounded by a crispy or flaky crust. Other snacks include akra (crispy, spicy fried malanga fritters), banann pese, and marinad (fried savory dough balls). For a complete meal, they may be served with griyo (fried pork) or other fried meat. These foods are served with a spicy slaw called pikliz which consists of cabbage, carrot, vinegar, scotch bonnet pepper, and spices. Fried foods, collectively known as fritay, are sold widely on the streets.

Regional dishes also exist throughout Haiti. In the area around Jérémie, on Haiti's southwest tip, people eat a dish called tonmtonm, which is steamed breadfruit (lam veritab) mashed in a pilon, and is very similar to West African Fufu. Tonmtonm is swallowed without chewing, using a slippery sauce made of okra (kalalou in Haitian Creole), cooked with meat, fish, crab, and savory spices. Another regional dish is poul ak nwa (chicken with cashew nuts), which is from the north of the country, in the area around Cap-Haïtien.

Waves of migration have also influenced Haitian cuisine. For example, immigrants from Lebanon and Syria brought kibbeh, which has been adopted into Haitian cuisine.

The flavor base of much Haitian cooking is epis, a combination sauce made from cooked peppers, garlic, and herbs, particularly green onions, thyme, and parsley. It is used as a basic condiment for rice and beans and is also used in stews and soups.

Increasingly, imported Maggi bouillon cubes are used by Haitian cooks. This is indicative of the growing availability of imported, often artificial and inexpensive, foods, such as Tampico beverages.

Beverages

Beer

Beer is one of several common alcoholic beverages consumed in Haiti, often drank at festivals, parties, and occasionally downed with a meal. The most widely drank brand of beer in Haiti is Prestige, a nationally popular mild lager with a taste similar to many commercialized beers such as Budweiser and Miller Light. The beer has a light and crisp yet mildly sweet taste with a vague yet strong flavor reminiscent of several American-style beers. Prestige is brewed by Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti (owned by Heineken).

Rum

Haiti makes good rum. The most known company in the country is the world-renowned Rhum Barbancourt; one of the nation's most famous exports and by international standards, the country's most popular alcoholic beverage. It is unique in that the distilleries use sugarcane juice directly instead of molasses like other types of rum. The rum is marketed in approximately 20 countries and uses a process of distillation similar to the process used to produce cognac. The liquory creamed drink called crémas is also drunk in Haiti. It is a popular beverage usually consumed as part of dessert or simply by itself. It has a sweet like flavor that you can taste.

Clairin

Clairin or kleren is another popular drink; it is equivalent to moonshine and is distilled from molasses, it is distilled twice sometimes to have a higher proof of alcohol. It is widely popular and small distilleries can be found throughout the countryside. Clairin is at least 100 to 120 proof. Double distilled, it can easily be 150 to 190 proof. Clairin may be more popular than rum, because it is much cheaper and less labour intensive to make.

Non-alcoholic

Due to its tropical climate, juice is a mainstay in Haiti. Juices from many fruits are commonly made and can be found everywhere. Guava juice, grapefruit juice, mango juice, along with the juices of many citrus fruits (orange, granadilla, passion fruit, etc.) are popular. Juice is the de facto beverage because of its variety of flavors, easy production, and widespread accessibility. Malta is also a popular non-alcoholic drink consisting of unfermented barley with molasses added for flavor. In more urban areas of the nation, the people enjoy Americanized drinks such as an array of soft drinks, in which Coca-Cola dominates all other local soft drinks. Milkshakes are also drunk regularly.

Desserts

Many types of desserts are eaten in Haiti ranging from the mild to sweet. Sugarcane is used frequently in the making of these desserts however granulated sugar is also used often. One very popular dessert is fresco which can be whipped up quickly. Fresco is similar to an Italian Ice, however it consists primarily of fruit syrup. The syrup is moderately thick and very sweet. It is frequently sold by street vendors. The sweet smell of this candy-like snack often attracts honeybees and a common sight on the streets is a hurried vendor handing out frescos surrounded by swirls of bees. Pen Patat is a soft sweet bread made using cinnamon, evaporated milk, and sweet potato. It is usually served cold from the refrigerator but it can also be eaten at room temperature. Akasan is a thick corn milkshake with a consistency similar to that of labouille (in Creole, "labouyi") (a popular porridge made from corn). It is made using many of the same ingredients as Pen patat consisting of evaporated milk, sugar, and corn flour.

List of some Haitian dishes

  • Du riz a pois or Diri ak Pwa (Rice and beans)
  • Du riz a pouletor Diri ak Poule (Rice with chicken)
  • Du riz a légumesor Diri ak Légumes (Rice with vegetables, a stew consisting of eggplant, carrots, spinach, and beef)
  • Du riz a sauce-pois or Diri ak Sos Pwa (Rice with bean sauce)
  • Du riz blanche a sause-pois noiror Diri Blan ak Sos Pwa Noir (White rice and black bean sauce)
  • Du riz djon djonor Diri ak djon djon (Rice in black mushroom sauce)
  • Mais Mouluor Mayi Moulen (Cornmeal)
  • Tassot et Banane Peséor Tasso et Banane Pézé (Fried Goat and Plantains)
  • Cabritor Kabrit (goat meat)
  • Griot(seasoned fried pork with scallions and peppers in a bitter orange sauce)
  • Chocolat des Cayesor Chokolat La Kaye (homemade cocoa)
  • Soup Joumou(squash soup)
  • Piklizor Picklese (very spicy vinegar based coleslaw)

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in HAITI

From natural saltwater lakes to mountain ranges, plateaus, plains, beaches, national parks and history museums, Haiti has plenty to offer to all those touring it. Major attractions of the island are in its capital Port-au-Prince however all the cities of Haiti have their own lure that will want you to keep re-visiting them.

Interested in looking at some local flora and fauna? Then visit Étang Saumâtre, 20 kilometres’ to the east of Port-au-Prince. Surrounded by brush and cacti, it is the largest saltwater lake in Haiti and you can find over a 100 species of flamingos, waterfowls and American crocodiles.

The Parc National Historique La Citadelle is a huge mountaintop fortress, an astounding structure with a ship like appearance. Constructed to combat the French invasion, it balances a-top the 900m Pic la Ferrière, overlooking the northern plains of Cap Haïtien. This fortress is known to have been impenetrable with walls that are 13 ft thick and reach up to 131 ft in height; it held enough supplies for almost a year the entire royal family and a garrison.

The wreck of Santa Maria at Cap Haïtien is another place that you can visit. Cap Haïtien has some fine beaches and many Spanish style buildings to offer. The village of Milot is the gateway to Citadelle, a half an hour drive to the fascinating ruins of Sans Souci Palace.

Labadie is a town and a beach in Haiti on the north shore about 15 miles from Au Cap. Although this area is owned by a cruise company, however the items offered on the stands at the beach are originally from Haiti and are made and sold by the locals, helping them support their families. Moulin sur Mer is another resort you wouldn’t want to miss. It is created out of an old sugar plantation and the old buildings there have been turned into a museum of sorts. There is also a pond nearby with a gazebo and a restaurant right on the beach.

The elegant town of Jacmel has several beautiful palaces and is a known centre for voodoo offering various interesting temples for visit. Artists from all over the world come to visit, providing a lively art scene with parades and theatre forming the back drop to it all. You can even buy a few Haitian paintings as they are world famous.

Some 12km North West of Jacmel in Haiti is Bassins Bleu, another place worth visiting while you vacation in Haiti. It is a stunning series of cascades or small waterfalls that join three cobalt-blue pools, colored so due to the dissolved minerals. Bassins Bleu has some very fascinating stories to tell. Legend has it that water nymphs live there and sun themselves on the rocks in Palm Lake.  They are known to disappear when mortal footsteps approach. Although no one has seen the nymphs yet but the spectacular view of the place is good enough to lure thousands of tourist to Bassins Bleu each year.

Haiti has a rich history that is visible throughout the island. But those interested in knowing more regarding the history of Haiti a visit to the museums in Haiti is a must. Musee de Guahaba offers a lot of information regarding various groups and the people of Haiti and their influence over the area.
 

Another museum worth visiting is the Museum of Haitin Art. It offers a visual display of local art o Haiti along with old paintings. Located near St. Pierre College, this museum is worth exploring if you want to experience the culture of Haiti.

The Musee du Pantheon National is a beautiful historical museum, located in an old mansion atop a hill, it offers a glimpse of a truly fascinating history of Haiti. Dresses and art of the early people of this area are on display there and due to its location on top of a larger hill in Haiti it provides visitors a terrific view of the island.

Musee du Pantheon National is a historical museum located in a beautiful old mansion on top of one of Haiti’s larger hills.  This museum includes the dress and art of the early people of the area and its location affords a terrific view of today’s Haiti.

The town of Kenscoff is a famous summer resort for the Haitians and Parc Macaya being the most famous national park of the island offers various trails through the lush rainforest and scenic mountains.

Taken from:

http://www.govisitcaribbean.com

Doing business in HAITI

Haiti's economy is still recovering from the massive earthquake in January 2010. Its purchasing power parity GDP fell 8% in 2010 (from $12.15 billion to $11.18 billion) and the GDP per capita remained unchanged at (PPP US$) 1,200.[2] Comparative social and economic indicators show Haiti falling behind other low-income developing countries (particularly in the hemisphere) since the 1980s. Haiti ranked 145 of 182 countries in the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, with 57.3% of the population being deprived in at least three of the HDI's poverty measures.[5]

The World Factbookreports a shortage of skilled labor, widespread unemployment and underemployment, saying "more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs", and describes pre-earthquake Haiti as "already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty."[2] Most Haitians live on $2 or less per day.[113]

Adult literacy is variously reported as 52.9% [World Factbook] and 65.3% [United Nations], and the World Bank estimates that in 2004 over 80% of college graduates from Haiti were living abroad, with their remittances home representing 52.7% of Haiti's GDP.[114]Cité Soleil is considered one of the worst slums in the Americas;[115] most of its 500,000 residents live in extreme poverty.[107] Poverty has forced at least 225,000 Haitian children to work as restavecs (unpaid household servants); the United Nations considers this to be a modern-day form of slavery.[116]

About 66% of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming, but this activity makes up only 30% of the GDP. The country has experienced little formal job-creation over the past decade, although the informal economy is growing. Mangoes and coffee are two of Haiti's most important exports.[2]

Natural resources of Haiti include bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble and hydropower. Haiti contains relatively small amounts of gold, silver, antimony, tin, lignite, sulphur, coal, nickel, gypsum, limestone, manganese, marble, iron, tungsten, salt, clay, and various building stones. Gold and copper are found in small quantities in the north of the country. The government announced the discovery of new gold deposits in the northern peninsula in 1985, but long-standing plans for gold production proceeded slowly. Copper also was mined, beginning in the 1960s, but production of the ore was sporadic. There are bauxite (aluminum ore) deposits on the southern peninsula, but large scale mining there was discontinued in 1983. The country's only bauxite mine, the Miragoâne mine in the southern peninsula, produced an average of 500,000 tons of bauxite a year in the early 1980s; however, in 1982 the declining metal content of the ore, high production costs, and the oversupplied international bauxite market forced the mine to close. Bauxite had at one time been the country's second leading export. Haiti apparently has no hydrocarbon resources on land or in the Gulf of Gonâve and is therefore heavily dependent on energy imports (petroleum and petroleum products).[117]

Haiti's richest 1% own nearly half the country's wealth.[118] Haiti has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index.[119] Since the day of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's government has been notorious for its corruption. It is estimated that President "Baby Doc" Duvalier, his wife Michelle, and three other people took $504 million from the Haitian public treasury between 1971 and 1986.[120]

Similarly, some media outlets alleged that millions were stolen by former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.[121][122][123][124] However the accuracy of the information is questionable and may have been concocted to discredit Aristide. In March 2004, at the time of Aristide's being kidnapped, a BBC article wrote that the Bush administration State department claimed that Aristide had been involved in drug trafficking.[125] The BBC also described pyramid schemes, in which Haitians lost hundreds of millions in 2002, as the "only real economic initiative" of the Aristide years.[126] However this cannot necessarily be entirely blamed on Aristide since one of his conditions upon being returned to Haiti by the Clinton administration during the 90s was that he not stir the pot away from US Free Market Trade Policies.[127] Clinton recently expressed regret and apologized for the US's trade policies with Haiti[128] Aristide however decided against being further tied to the free market policies that he was restricted to, and he attempted to raise the country's minimum wage.

Foreign aid makes up approximately 30–40% of the national government's budget. The largest donor is the US, followed by Canada and the European Union.[129] From 1990 to 2003, Haiti received more than $4 billion in aid. The United States alone had provided Haiti with 1.5 billion in aid.[130] Venezuela and Cuba also make various contributions to Haiti's economy, especially after alliances were renewed in 2006 and 2007. In January 2010, China promised $4.2 million for the quake-hit island.[131] US President Barack Obama pledged $1.15 billion in assistance.[132]European Union nations promised more than 400 million euros ($616 million) in emergency aid and reconstruction funds.[133]

USaid to the Haitian government was completely cut off from 2001 to 2004, after the 2000 election was disputed and President Aristide was accused of various misdeeds.[134] After Aristide's departure in 2004, aid was restored, and the Brazilian army led the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti peacekeeping operation. Following almost 4 years of recession ending in 2004, the economy grew by 1.5% in 2005.[135]

In 2005 Haiti's total external debt reached an estimated US$1.3 billion, which corresponds to a debt per capita of US$169. In September 2009, Haiti met the conditions set out by the IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program to qualify for cancellation of its external debt.[136]

Taken from wikipedia

HAITI: useful links

www.haiti.org/

www.haiti.com/

www.lonelyplanet.com/haiti

www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1202772.stm

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