I’m Haitian so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love traveling to Haiti right? But it actually is. Five years ago I was a typical Haitian living in America and had never been to Haiti. Like many people who watch the news and hear about the poor conditions in Haiti, although I was dying to go, Haiti was never at the top of any of my family or friend’s list of places to visit. So I couldn’t find a traveling buddy to accompany me.
In 2011 after researching and archiving pictures of Haiti and its history, I decided to create a blog that would teach and connect other Haitian- Americans who felt disconnected in the same way I did growing up. The more my blog developed the more my love for Haiti’s colorful and vibrant culture grew into a passion for my country. I knew no one would be able to keep me from traveling there. These days, you can’t keep me out of the county. I’m in Haiti every chance I get and I’ve explored everything from the beach, the very high mountain hikes, the delicious food to the music and the annual events, like Kanaval.
When I’m in Haiti I feel at home, waking up to the roosters crowing in the country or the wheels from room service delivering delicious soup joumou to my hotel room in Port-auPrince. Haiti is an adventure I just can’t seem to get enough of.
What I love about Haiti is the rich culture, the art, the artisans, the fresh coffee made in Haiti, the delicious and authentic Haitian cuisine, just typing the word “cuisine” made me hungry for some Pate Kode or Mais Moulin, the underrated and sometimes hidden paradise people are missing out on because they choose to listen to the media instead of exploring this beautiful Caribbean island.
The hospitality in unlike any place I’ve ever been, the warm smiles from the woman selling fruits on the side of the road, the double cheek kiss when you greet someone, the bright Bonjour from the employee serving large plates of seafood on the beach, the waves and hello by the families as you hike 3 hours into the mountains, to the gentlemen on mini boats delivering conch and lobster to you in the middle of the ocean, people are genuinely kind and welcoming.
With only three years of traveling to Haiti under my belt, I am happy I took the leap and took my first trip to Haiti in 2013 and have motivated many others to do the same. With so many people hoping they can take some of my trips with me, in 2016 I started my “Haiti through my eyes” vlog series. I hope you will take the next few journeys to my paradise island with me.
Wanda Tima-Gilles is Haitian-Turks Islander who grew up in South Florida not having much knowledge of Haiti or Haitian Culture. She is full-time wife, marketing director and blogger at L’union Suite. L’union Suite is a Haitian-American lifestyle, tourism, culture, society and entertainment blog site on the Internet. The site features exclusive interviews, the latest music, red carpet events and up-to-date information on Haiti, Haitian community leaders, entertainers, humanitarians and business and more.
Since launching in 2011, L’union Suite has attracted over 1 million visitors from all over the world with over 100,000 subscribers via the site, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler and Twitter.