Flashback Friday: Haiti

Okay so this post was supposed to go out yesterday and be a “Throwback Thursday” but in true Trisha fashion that didn’t happen (are we surprised?) and it became a “Flashback Friday” instead. Honestly, I’m just proud I published this the same week that I planned it. Normally I’ll think about a post and I won’t get around to writing it for a while so this is a major accomplishment for me #littlevictories. Okay now that I’ve got the unnecessary explanation out the way let’s talk about something more interesting, shall we?
This time last year I was on my way back from one of the most rewarding trips of my life where I was in Haiti for the summer to work on a research project. It wasn’t my first time in Haiti and it definitely wasn’t my last. As a daughter of Haitian parents, it’s really important to me that I stay connected to my culture and that I give back to the country and it’s people. The other day, I was procrastinating via Youtube and I watched a video of a popular YouTuber named Judy who went to the Philippines for a missions trip. Watching her videos of her trip made me think back to all of my trips to Haiti and to other countries where I’ve done global health work. Upon doing so, I realized that this time last year I was flying back to the U.S. and readjusting to American life after spending over a month living on island time in Haiti. I’m very appreciative that I’ve had many opportunities to spend long amounts of the time in the country and soak up the music, the smell of the delicious food, the fresh fruits, the beautiful beaches, and so much more.

During my time of reflection and reminiscing about my trip I remembered one of my favorite Haitian proverbs, which says:

Piti piti zwazo fe nich (little by little, the bird makes his nest).

I loved it so much I got it printed onto a pillow while I was there. Personally, right now is a hard season… I’m in my 3rd year of medical school, I’m trying to figure out what exactly what I want to do when I finish, and so many other things. And like I shared before, it also doesn’t help that it seems like everyone else around me has life all figured out and I barely have a map.

Read: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I’m going to consciously try to remember what Haiti taught me last year and I’m going to actively try to apply it to my life this season. Piti piti, the research will get done. Piti piti, I’ll knock off the things on my to do list. Piti piti, I’ll get closer to figuring out exactly how I want to use my MD degree after I graduate. Piti piti, I’ll figure out the purpose of it all.

Avèk anpil lamou (with lots of love),

Trisha

 

Oh and of course, I wouldn’t talk about my favorite place without sharing photos. Here’s a few of my favorites from my last trip! Unfortunately there wasn’t much time/ opportunities to travel out of the capital and I spent all of last summer in Port-au-Prince. I did make friends and found opportunities to escape to the mountains for hiking trails, cooler air, and beautiful green views!

Haiti 3

This is outside of Observatoire, which is a restaurant in the mountains. You eat outside and have a beautiful view of the rest of the country below. Sadly it was overcast when I went so the view wasn’t as pretty but the food was delicious regardless!

 

Haiti 6

Some veggies, banan (plaintain), and fried meat, which I think was goat or beef. And of course pikliz (spicy pickled veggies you sprinkle on your food) in the middle!

 

Haiti 5

My mom makes the best Haitian food in the world but I never heard of these dishes until recently (she doesn’t make fried foods). I had akra (on the left), which is fried malanga (aka Taro or taro root). It is so good. On the right is kibi (kibbe? kibbeh?) which I NEVER heard of until I got to Haiti last summer. Mom if you’re reading this, why did you deprive me of such deliciousness for 24 years?! It’s also a Middle Eastern dish and on the inside there is ground meat and then its wrapped in breading and fried.

 

Haiti 7

One of the beautiful views in the mountains. I loved coming up here mostly because it was a million times cooler than being in the city lol #NaturalAirConditioning

 

Haiti 4

I made friends and they would pick me up sometimes for outings & hikes. I’m actually terrified of heights so as much as I love the mountains I was freaking out a little bit on the inside especially when we approached sharp cliffs like the one behind me.

 

Haiti 2

This is Petionville. This is actually the view from Muncheez which is the Haitian pizza place and it’s actually really good. Also do you see the Dominoes Pizza sign in the background? I was so surprised when I saw it for the first time!

 

Haiti 8

This last photo is from Yanvalou, which is a restaurant/ bar in the neighborhood of Pacot. Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t great and my pictures were blurry/ grainy. Wanna know a cool fact? This was the house my dad and his siblings grew up in. My dad was born in Liberia but he actually lived in Haiti for part of his childhood. The entire house is almost exactly the same as when they lived there, although it has been repainted and such. It’s weird because when you walk through Yanvalou you can tell you’re in a residential house. It was crazier for me though because my dad and his siblings grew up within those walls!

P.S. First off if you made it this far then YAY! If you are doing work/ know of any reputable organizations doing work in Haiti then please let me know. In the past I’ve worked with different organizations and clinics in Haiti and I’m looking to get involved again and form new partnerships/ relatinoships. Feel free to share in the comments below or you can send me an email via the contact tab above.

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10 Comments

  1. August 12, 2016 / 9:17 am

    Haiti looks like a beautiful country! And the food looks so good too 🙂

    I watch Judy too and watched her vlog to the Philippines! I really like that saying- little by little. It makes all the hard tasks in life seem doable

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      Ah yes! Another Judy watcher. It’s funny because I stumbled across her vlogs randomly a few months ago, and now I can’t go a day without watching. I think since I cancelled my cable service (no time for TV) I had to find a replacement for my reality tv addiction lol. But her vlogs are more positive and uplifting.

      And thanks so much! Haiti does have a lot of poverty as well but I feel like the media already shows a lot of that. I hope to share more about the country’s beauty and gems as much as I can.

  2. August 12, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    That landscape is unreal! I think it’s so important to stay connected with your heritage, especially as a medical professional.

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Thanks so much! And I only captured the picture with my iPhone 6. I need to invest in a quality camera so I can capture the rest of the natural beauty! And I agree with you 100%. Our careers & schooling are important but in everything we do we need to remember to stay true to who we are and where we came from!

  3. LesaRenee
    August 27, 2016 / 8:04 am

    Nice! I spent the summer in Gonaive, Haiti. Much different than the capital city. What organization did you work with?

    • August 28, 2016 / 12:39 am

      Ive never been to Gonaive, but I’d like to go sometime soon! I went alone to do research at a clinic sponsored by the global health program at my school. I’ve gone with different organizations in the past though.

  4. Mindy
    May 21, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Hey Trisha!

    I originally found your blog looking for study tips related to Sketchy Medical, but when I saw your link regarding your trip to Haiti I was so excited! I am a MS1 student out in New York and I am traveling to Haiti (for the first time) in like 3 weeks for my own global health trip. I am a first generation Haitian-American and really wanted to use this last summer as my opportunity to travel there and practice medicine. What organization did you go with? I was initially going to go with GHESKIO, then with Partners in Health but now its with an attending at my medical school who is part of a new organization there. I would love to discuss your trip and research further whenever you are free. I can only imagine how it is third year.

    Best,
    Mindy

    • May 21, 2017 / 12:25 pm

      My research mentor actually has connections at GHESKIO and the study I did was conducted there. I technically didn’t go with any organization and actually traveled on my own. My school doesn’t have a formal program to go to Haiti, but they will support a trip if you create an itinerary and have a faculty mentor to advise you. My mentor has a relationship with GHESKIO so the study was conducted there. I traveled to Haiti by myself, but GHESKIO and their staff were kind enough to take me under their wing when I arrived and provided security, housing, and transportation for my stay! In the past I’ve traveled with different organizations and NGOs, but it was almost always just a small group of us.

      Have fun in Haiti! Regardless of who you go with, it will be an awesome experience. Be sure to keep me updated when you come back from your trip. I love hearing about medical student experiences Haiti.

      • Mindy
        May 30, 2017 / 8:51 am

        Hey Trisha!

        My trip to Haiti this summer is very similar to yours. I have built my itinerary and have a mentor who will be advising me throughout my research project as well. I am super excited for finally getting to do medical work in Haiti but I have to admit that I have never been. Where there any essentials that you would suggest packing for an extended stay there? Any suggestions would be highly appreciated =).

        Hope school is going well.

        • May 30, 2017 / 4:56 pm

          Hi Mindy! It really depends on your itinerary.
          Here are some things I found helpful to bring:
          -workout clothes — I worked out and went on a couple of hikes so these were useful
          -toiletries + hair products — a lot of thigns can be found at the major supermarkets like Giant but there will be a markup.
          -crossbody bag + a backpack — I forgot a backpack during my last trip. They’re spacious and fit a lot of things. I brought a crossbody for times when we were going out (like to the museum or the market) and just needed something to hold my small items. I prefer a crossbody because I feel more secure with one when I’m travelling and mine is big enough to hold a camera, water bottle, phone and wallet all at once.
          -sunscreen & bug spray
          -maybe 1 “nice” outfit — like a simple maxi dress or just a nicer top to pair with your jeans incase you have anything planned like a restarant dinner or a social outing (this depends on your itinerary)
          -refillable water bottle with a lock — I swear by Zulu bottles from target. They have a lock mechanism and they’ve never leaked on me. Just be sure that you are only refilling your water bottle with trusted clean water

          Hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions 🙂

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