September 13, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps in Haiti as an Agricultural Extensionist. The hardest job you'll ever love!

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Haiti: Peace Corps Haiti : The Peace Corps in Haiti: September 13, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps in Haiti as an Agricultural Extensionist. The hardest job you'll ever love!

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 2:16 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps in Haiti as an Agricultural Extensionist. The hardest job you'll ever love!

Peace Corps in Haiti as an Agricultural Extensionist. The hardest job you'll ever love!

Welcome to all vistors!

This site is a record of my adventures in Haiti as a
Peace Corps volunteer. My tour is from August 19th,
2003 to November 6th, 2005. I hope that this travel
journal will enable you to picture my day to day life
in Haiti! Thanks for looking and please share with
anyone who has in interest in Haiti or the Peace

Start of travels: Aug 19, 2003
The fun ends: Nov 06, 2005

I have one more day to prepare for my upcoming depature for the Peace Corps in Haiti. I have one bag packed and one to go! I wanted everyone to know how to reach me while I am in Haiti. My e-mail address is and my mailing address is:

Matthew Koerner, PCT
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 920
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

My next entry will be from abroad. Until then, all the best and start sending me packages of goodies!!

Hello !

I am in Haiti living with a host family and learning to speak Kreole ! I have class twice a day, language in the morning and culture in the afternoons. I have breakfast lunch and dinner with my host family. My momís name is Kilene, my father is Pol A, and my little sister is Luna. Breakfast is usually fried plantains, deep fried spaghetti or fried hot dogs ! The rest of the meals usually consist of some kind of grain and fish or goat. For dinner most nights I have bread and butter and fresh squeezed juices. The heat is out of control here and because we have no electricity or running water the only relief is a bucket bath three or four times a day. Haiti is like no place I have ever been. It is both beautiful (the beach, the mountains, the Carribean sky, the people) and ugly (the poverty, the disease, the malnutrition, and the trash). People are very warm and friendly and everywhere you go people say hello and want to know how you are and what you are up to. I live among bannana fields and I can see the beach from my front yard. The water is too dirty to swim but it is beautiful none the less. At night the sky is bright with stars and in the distance you can see the mass of lights that mark Port au Prince about 40 miles away. I am doing great so far but I have to say that I have a lot of adjusting to do. Five people from our group have already left so that makes you wonder if its all worth it but I know that it is. The limited conversations I have with my host family and the laughs we share are wonderful. Its nice to take things slowly and look at my surroundings through a new language and a new cultural approach. Life is slower down here and it is somewhat refreshing. If you send me anything, make sure that it is not in a box because anything in a box will be stolen. Padded envelopes are safe but for extra precaution write For Religious Use and declare the value of the contents at $0. Please send me letters if you get the chance. I will write to all the addresses I have. As I understand it, it takes about 10 to 14 days for letters and about 20 days for padded envelopes. I can get almost anything I want down here which is nice. The problem is communication but I will do my best to check internet about every two weeks. Peace and love to everyone ! If you have questions, drop me a line and I will address them in my next entry !

Another beautiful Saturday morning! I got out of bed this morning to my mother knocking on my door with breakfast at 6 :30am. A typical breakfast of oily spaghetti and a nice cold glass of fresh lemon/lime juice. I ate as much as I could and gave the rest to the dog, Mendi. I went to my banana thatched bathing area for a nice bucket bath in preparation for my trip to Cabaret to use the internet. I returned to my room to change and brush my teeth. When I opened the door again, Kilene, my host mom was waiting dressed in her best clothes for the upcoming journey. We have be accompained by a host country national if we leave our community and Kilene was so excited to join us. Drury, another Peace Corps Agricultural trainee joined us at 7 :30am. We walked to the city center where we got on a tap tap (local public transportation) bound for Cabaret. Mendi, the family dog, chased us as far as he could before turning back. A tap tap is a converted pickup truck painted in bright colors. They usually sit between 15 and 20 people in the back and every now and then they add a goat, a few chickens and a pig. When there is not enough room for the goats they hang them over the side by thier feet and their yells and screams provide a pretty interesting soundtrack to the ride. So now I am in the air conditioned internet cafe typing and surfing the net. Ten minutes ago, I listened to the lady tell us that there would be no internet today. Se la vie! In Haiti, you can only rely on your surroundings and the here and now. Expectations only provide disappoinment. You have to take what you can get and be happy with that! Itís not hard to be happy, though, because the people are very polite for the most part and they always want to chat with the blans (foriegners). The scenery is breathtaking if you can avoid looking at the litter and urban sprawl and concentrate on the mountains, banana fields and gorgeous beaches. There is never a dull moment either! For example, the other morning I woke up to find a trarantula the size of my fist under my bag. I calmly asked Kilene to come and take a look. She thought I was pointing out a snake so she was a little hesitant. When she saw it was just a gigantic spider she laughed and crushed it with a broom! Come to find out that this monster spiders are all over the place b/c of the bananna fields but the are harmless unless you try to pet them. Yesterday I walked by a black cross that marks an itersection near my house. As a vodoo tradition, it signifies the first person that passed away in the neighborhood. People were gathered around it pouring rum on the cross and setting the rum on fire, for what, who knows! And there is always excitement in the tap tap rides. Break neck speeds and roads that havenít been repaired in 8-10 years! The only thing that is tedious is our language program. Four hours each morning with tons of new material. Our classroom is not very condusive to studying with all the animals, kids, and pestering bugs but I am learning none the less, pitit pitit zwaso fe nich. Little by little a bird builds his nest and little by little I learn Kreyole! Our afternoon classes usually focus on culture or the technical aspects of our projects. Some are wonderful some are boring but all have the same conclusion : Haiti is bad off and some say beyond repair. We are truly not expected to do much becuase its next to impossible to do anything fruitful in Haiti. A speaker told us that he was talking to a Belgian aid worker who has lived in Haiti for 26 years. The Belgian said, Organization in Haiti is not difficult, itís impossible. The information is not discouraging though becuase we know that we are making a difference in the lifes of our host families and for the friends we make. We will have a positive effect just be staying here and interecting with anyone that we can. At the least, some Haitians will know some kind hearted Americans that came to share culture!
I am having a great time! I love my bedroom and my nice comfortable mattress! We go to the fancy beach work every other weekend . Its like Club Med so we are far from suffering and we have an all around good time from day to day! The Best to all and I will write again ASAP!

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Haiti; PCVs in the Field - Haiti



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