The Royal Oasis Hotel is in the middle of Petionville. It's Haiti's first 5 star hotel. With a rooftop pool and fancy shops, it will cost you about $276/night and that is just for the room. We did not stay here, just went to see it and have some drinks with friends at the upstairs lobby bar. It's an upscale feel, not a traditional Haitian feel.
Tip: This is in a busy downtown area so if you're looking for a quiet getaway, I don't recommend this hotel. Stay here if you want to be in the middle of the action, interact with local or in Haiti on business.
Thank you to my friends and family for supporting my art work at a private reception! (update 2/13/13)
Installation of art work at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center, Belle Glade (update 2/3/13)
Please come see my photographs from Haiti 2/4 - 2/13! (original post 1/26/13)
I will be at the exhibit on 2/13 at 6 pm! Please join me and my family and friends to experience Haiti through this series of work and then for some Haitian food afterwards! If you can't make it that night, the work will be up from 2/4 - 2/13 and the hours of the gallery are above on the boarding pass. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-504-6632. I hope to see you there!!!
Directions: From 1-95: Exit at Southern Boulevard. The exit south of Southern is Forest Hill Blvd. The exit north of Southern is Belvedere Blvd. Go west for approximately 40 miles. About 10 miles west you will continue past State Road 7, through Royal Palm Beach, and past Lion Country Safari on your right. Once you pass Lion Country Safari, the landscape becomes agricultural land. Stay on this road, State Road 80, until you reach Belle Glade. At the first traffic light (SR 15 - county office buildings will be on your left just east of the light), follow the sign for the College and continue straight ahead. The road narrows to two lanes once you go through the light. At the light, turn left onto SR 715. Continue through the business area for 3.5 miles. The Palm Beach State College/Glades Campus is on your right. The campus sign is at the entrance to the campus. Turn right onto the Glades campus. The left fork in the campus road leads to the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center. The trip takes approximately 55 minutes.
From Florida Turnpike: Exit at Southern Blvd. Go west on Southern Blvd. through Royal Palm Beach, and past signs for Lion Country Safari. Once you pass Lion Country Safari, the landscape becomes agricultural. Stay on this road, State Road 80, until you reach Belle Glade. At the first traffic light (SR 15 - county office buildings will be on your left just east of the light), follow the sign for Palm Beach State College and continue straight ahead. The road narrows to two lanes once you go through the light. At the caution light, turn left onto SR 715. Continue through the business area for 3.5 miles. The Glades campus is on your right. The campus sign is at the entrance to the campus. Turn right onto the Glades campus. The left fork in the campus road leads to the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center. It is approximately 45 miles from the turnpike to Belle Glade.
*All framed photos will be for sale for various prices. If not sold at the exhibit, they will be for sale in my shop!
On January 11 at 4:30pm, I got a call from Chris Jacques, son and co-host of Lesly Jacques, for a radio show called "The Bridge." They invited me as a guest on air for that night at 6pm. I was excited, nervous and honored actually that they thought of me.
The topic for the night was "progress since the earthquake." I made it clear in the beginning that I can't talk about differences in the country prior to the earthquake because I had never been before it. I did, however, talk about the physical changes/improvements that I have noticed each time I've been back. Some of those improvements are: better roads, a nicer airport, increased security and people cleaning in the streets. These are things I did not see as adequate when I visited in Dec. 2011. Now, they all exist and things look better each time.
Chris and I were discussing the online tools available to the world have made it easier to show Haiti, both in a positive and negative way. We also noted that we are happy that the government is utilizing these free tools to communicate with the world on what they are doing/have done. We also mentioned that people like myself and others promoting the beauty is a great thing because we have only seen the negative and that is what most people know: the bad. Lesly did not like this very much. While I understand his frustration with the decline in the country since he left in the late 80's, his outburst and yelling was very intimidating. The show was also broadcast live online with a video cam where people were watching him get very upset. As much as anyone disagrees with another, nothing will be resolved by yelling. At the end of the day, he calmed down and we were able to talk as adults.
He rightfully explained how he was fighting for that country (along with many others) his whole life and I thank him for that. I don't know what it's like to live in Haiti. I don't know what it's like to fight for a country for close to 30 years and feel no progress. What I do know, if anything at all, is that just because I am an American/blan sharing my experiences, it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the work of others or I am ignoring the struggles that Haiti faces. We can only move forward from here.
Let me know what you think:
From "The Bridge" Facebook page:
The Bridge is the only father son talk show format program in South Florida. Its aim is to promote family communication and help illuminate the issues in our communities and around the world. Topics such as love, politics, sex, music, sports, and everything else in between are all covered and all brought to light. Each Subject is expressed and debated with the utmost honesty while interacting with our vast audience with live callers every program. All in an effort to educate and bring back that element of fun into family dialog. The other aspect of "The Bridge" is the fusion of Hip hop culture and Haitian culture. This is the first show in South Florida to play Hip Hop and Rnb along side Compas and Zouk every week realistically depicting what a young Haitian-American would listen to in their every day lives. The Bridge is a show for the community, ran by the community, who's sole purpose is elevating the community. Come cross The Bridge!
Three years ago today, a 35 second earthquake in Haiti destroyed so much. I cannot even imagine what it was like, or what it felt like to lose family, friends, everything you have. At the time of the quake, I didn't know The Real Haiti. I knew only what the TV showed me and what I was told. I was told that Haiti was a beautiful country full of amazing people and culture. It wasn't until I experienced it that I feel in love with this unique place called Haiti.
I am so humbled to be a part of trying to reshape Haiti's image so that one day it will be a travel destination that it once was. I love this country so much and the people are the number one reason for that. As much as I promote the great things about this country, I always remind people that I don't ignore the issues it has. I don't try to erase them, or pretend like they don't exist. This blog is simply highlighting my experiences and opportunities that I have had in Haiti. I hope you learn something from me.
God bless all of the people in Haiti, Haitian diaspora, Haiti lovers, and especially those who rest in peace from that devestating tragedy that has opened the world's eyes to focus on a new Haiti.
Please watch this video below about Haiti's progression since the earthquake.