Fort Jacques is tucked up and away in the beautiful mountains of Kenscoff near Pétionville and Port-au-Prince. The drive to the historical area is super easy compared to some other rugged locations we've visited. From the top, you can see the bay of Port-au-Prince...what a beautiful view!
There are two forts named after Alexandre in honor of General Alexandre Pétion and Jacques in honor of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. We only visited Fort Jacques, which is restored and kept maintained, however Fort Alexandre (east of Fort Jacques) is not. Every May 18 (Haitian flag day), there's a celebration with music and fun. It's definitely worth the view! Oh, and DO NOT MISS the outdoor griot spot in Kenscoff...it's the best!
The Importance of an Education in Haiti
I have yet to meet a Haitian that doesn't think school is important. School is a top priority among Haitian parents and families. No matter how poor or wealthy, everyone values education in Haiti. Despite what you may read or hear in the news, the majority of Haitian children go to school. Parents will do everything that they can to make sure their child gets an education no matter what. Their determination is one of those things that fascinates me most about the Haitian culture.
Just like we do in the United States, parents and students in Haiti prepare to go back to school in the same ways as us. Because I've never attended school in Haiti, I can't express my experiences on that. So, I asked a friend of mine, Fedno Lubin, who is a student in Jacmel, Haiti. Fedno is also a photographer who I hire occasionally to capture The Real Haiti. *All photos on this post are by Fedno Lubin*
About Schools in Haiti
Haitian students primarily go to private schools, which means there's tuition fees or there are tuition waiver programs available to some. Here's a breakdown of how the education system in Haiti works: (research info below provided by classbase.com)
Common grading scales:
80.00 - 100.00 or 8.00 - 10.00 Très Bien (Very Good) US - A
70.00 - 79.99 or 7.00 - 7.99 Bien (Good) US - B
60.00 - 69.99 or 6.00 - 6.99 Assez bien (Satisfactory) US - C
50.00 - 59.99 or 5.00 - 5.99 Passable (Sufficient) US - D
0.00 - 49.99 or 1.00 - 4.99 Mal (Fail) US - F
According to the Ministry of Education in Haiti, the official school calendar has September 4 as the start day for back to school.
What are your favorite memories of 'back to school' in Haiti or somewhere else! Share it with us below in the comments.
Back to School Gear to Represent Haiti and Haitian Culture
Check out these must have items for the kids (or yourself!) to go back to school!
Since we have little ones now, I've done something I never thought I'd do - I converted our dining room (which we actually used) to a playroom! Crazy, I know. I am an interior design wannabe with a wannabe minor in decorating.
Our home is full of Haitian art in all different forms like paintings, sculptures, statues, papier mache, woven materials and mosaics. Since I had so much of the Haitian decor already, I figured why not create a Haiti inspired playroom!
First thing first, I had my husband raise the gigantic chandelier so adults would stop bumping their heads on it. Some of the Haitian paintings were already hung so that made the wall decor easy. Check out our unique Haitian paintings for sale here.
These paintings were done by my husband's cousin in Haiti. The one in the green frame was painted on a burlap sak and glued to a hard cardboard material. The frame is actually one that I found in the garbage! It was originally gold and had an ugly horse painting in it. Thankfully the Haitian painting was the exact same size! (fun fact - I love repurposing things and thrifting...it's one of my favorite things to do!)
If you're tired of stepping on legos and tripping over trucks, try dedicating a corner (or a room if you have the space) for the toys to make a playroom or play area. It's nice to have the toys in one area so that we could have our living room back. I have a playroom board on Pinterest where I got my inspiration! Check it out here.
Other Fun Haiti Inspired Things in Our Playroom
Add this short story book to your collection! It was written and designed by me :)
Mermaid Violette is madly in love. Her friends -- a crab, fish, dolphin, jellyfish and shrimp, all wonder who Violette loves so much and can't live without. Read the book to find out who the lucky one is!
The story is written in English. Bonus pages of sea creatures in English and Haitian Creole!
Add these customizable wall art prints to your little one's room or playroom! Designed by me :)
I plan to do more blogs about Haiti inspired rooms and home decor so stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by!