I fell in love with Haïti; every single inch of it (that I saw). I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food, and the landscapes. It is unusual for me to fall in love with a travel destination so quickly, but there I was, my second day in Haïti, and falling hard. So hard that I ached over the fact that I was only in the country for a week. Clearly, I need to return, stay longer, and see more.
Photographing Haiti is an adventure in of itself. This is a country that experienced a devastating earthquake which brought aid workers from around the world to help the country recover, and unfortunatel, a slew of photographers showed up as well. Haïti was in crisis mode. A proud and mindful people were brought low by Mother Nature and in an effort to 'show the world' the devastation, photographers stuck their cameras in the faces of the people and clicked away without a lot of thought. Many of those photos being used by international media outlets.
There is a moment when you're sitting in the back of a beat up black sedan, spewing exhaust, sweating, and stuck in traffic when you think, 'Yay, I am digging the vibe in Haïti'. Having spent the morning and part of the afternoon at Parc historique de la cane à sucre et musèe (Cane sugar historical park and museum) and in traffic; which can be a tad intense in Port-au-Prince, I decided I wanted to visit a market during our free time in the afternoon. And after dropping most of our group off at the hotel, myself, Sarah, and Mylène (we are all on an Air Transat press trip with one of their package tours) were joined by Daphene and Ralph as we hopped out of the van and onto the street.
I stand on the corner of the hotel driveway, camera in hand, framing a photo of the street, and the colourful square stone houses that are creeping up the mountain. It is early morning and as a warm glow slowly stretches across the horizon I hear the faint sounds of roosters in the distance. I'm in Haïti. I let that thought sink in slowly as I start to ponder how I want to share my experiences here. Yes, there will be many photos, a few tweets, and a blog post each day, but what is the story? What will be my angle?