5 Things I Learned In Haiti

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I recently traveled to Haiti and that trip taught me a lot. So in this blog post, I will share 5 things Haiti taught me.

1. My Love for Culture and People of Color

Living in America in predominantly white places, I have never really gotten a chance to be surrounded by people of color for extended periods of time. The feelings I got in Haiti were quite similar to the ones I got after watching Black Panther. It’s hard to describe, but there is so much power in being around people who look like you. Very cliche, but I felt at home in Haiti. I didn’t feel like I stuck out, I didn’t feel out of place, and I loved it! Also, I loved the culture. Coming from a household of blended cultures (Nigerian and Kenyan) it was no surprise I fell in love the with Haitian culture and the similarities I found between it and the environment I was raised in. I saw simplicity, work ethic, and joy just to name a few but also just a strong sense of community. Most of all I saw beauty in the way the people around me lived their lives, and I found God at work in the details, the big picture… I saw Him in it all.

2. Paved Roads and Driving Laws

The last time I went to Kenya, I was two, so I don’t remember much. I rely on the stories of my parent’s childhoods to paint the picture of living in a third world country. My mom has always talked about how long it takes to do things there. Doing one thing can be an all-day event, and most of the time it’s simply because of the commute. The minute we hit our first gravel/dirt road, I finally began to understand what my mom had been talking about for all those years. Paved roads are truly a blessing and driving laws are too because they save you for almost having a heart attack on the road.

3. The Importance of Communication

As a black girl, the most frequent questions I got when I was in Haiti were are you Haitian, do you speak Creole, and do you speak French, to all of which I answered no. People were in shock, mainly because I look like them and they just assumed I was or could do all of the above, but also because it really limited my ability to talk with them. Thankfully I had wonderful translators around that were more than amazing, but I felt so entitled and even rude to be in their country without knowing even a little Creole, yet they knew anywhere from one to four languages. To say the least, I don’t plan on visiting a country without knowing at least a few common phrases. But in all honesty, I’m in the process of learning Creole as you reading this.

4. People are People

Cultures are different but people are people. While languages don’t always translate, smiles do and thank God for that! It’s funny how when you can’t communicate very well sometimes that’s when it’s easiest to see someone’s heart. It’s easy to get distracted by looks, status, etc., but nothing says more about a person than they’re joy, they’re smiling, and their heart.

5. Less Is More

A lesson I’ve been learning recently is that there are pros and cons to everything. I love living in America, but because of the privilege I have living here, a lot of my worries and concerns are of things that don’t actually matter. To put it more simply, the things I worry about most are things that I am privileged to actually worry about. But living in a third world country, many people only worry about the things that actually matter: God, food, clothing, and family. It’s amazing how short that list is how long I make mine sometimes. Or how often times we think things will bring us happiness when in reality the exact opposite is true.

So those are a few of the things I learned while in Haiti. If you haven’t already, I hope you get a chance to visit the wonderful country. It is beautiful!

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt and light.

Wanderlust Bucket List

Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris and Nice, France and Montreux, Switzerland with my division one college basketball team for our foreign tour. While across the pond, I realized just how amazing it is to experience other cultures and learn about how other people live life outside of America. The whole experience sparked a huge movement of wanderlust within me, and now all I do is dream about where I want to visit next. We all have places that we’ve always wanted to visit, and for me to be able to go to many of these locations, it will take a lot of planning and a considerable amount of money. Though a broke college student, I still hope to visit these places in the near future, so here is a list of five places I would love to visit, and a few activities/locations in those cities that I must experience while I’m there.

We all have places that we’ve always wanted to visit, and for me to be able to go to many of these sites, it will take a lot of planning and a considerable amount of money. Though a broke college student, I still hope to visit these locations in the near future. So here is a list of five places I would love to visit, and a few activities/locations in those cities that I must experience while I’m there.


 Dubai

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about visiting Dubai until I looked into an MBA program that would allow me to study there for 6 weeks. Now, I’m still unsure if I want to apply to the MBA program, but am firm in my thoughts that I need to visit Dubai. Just from the pictures, it looks like a beautiful and amazing city, but here are a few places I have to check off of my bucket list when I go.

Burj Khalifa

 

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Burj Khalifa

 

This is the tallest building in the world, and it beats its closest competition by 1000 feet. I’m not even a fan of heights, but it would be unfortunate to go all the way to Dubai and not go up to the Burj Khalifa observation deck.

The Palm Islands

 

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Palm Islands

 

The Palm Islands are man-made islands, where each branch of the palm is home to beautiful beaches, million dollar hotels, homes, and even shopping malls. I would love to explore the Palm Islands in two ways. First, through tram or subway to actually see what it’s like to be on the ground there. Second, by helicopter, because it would be awesome to witness the sheer magnitude and beauty of these islands from above.

Desert Safari

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Desert of Dubai

Just as I want to see the city, I definitely have to see the desert too. In my mind I picture myself riding through the desert on a camel or sand surfing, but rolling through the sandy dunes of Dubai on a 4×4 doesn’t sound so bad either. Whatever form of transportation I use, seeing the desert is definitely on my bucket list.


Cape Town

After watching Ben Brown and Nicole Eddy vlogs on YouTube, I’m sold on the fact that Cape Town is a place I must visit. First, I highly recommend that you go watch their vlogs. Nicole is from South Africa so much of her content shows her doing fun things around the city of Cape Town. Once you see some of the amazing activities she does, Cape Town will be on your bucket list as well!

Boulders Beach

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Boulders Beach

This isn’t your average beach… there are penguins! Who doesn’t love penguins? I don’t know about you, but it’s not every day that you get to interact with some of nature’s most interesting creatures in such a warm climate. I’ll be sure to bring my camera and you should too!

Table Mountain & Lion’s Head

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Table Mountain & Lion’s Head

I wouldn’t say I’m a big outdoorsy person, but I’m definitely one for a view. I would love to hike Table Mountain all the way to Lion’s Head not only for the great workout but for the fantastic view. You can see the whole city from up there!

Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point

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Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point

Ever wonder why we have five oceans, but in reality, it’s all one big body of water? Well, here is the spot where you can see the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Trust me, you can really see the difference when the cold water from the west meets the warm water from the east. This activity ranks right up there with standing on the equator for me.


Vancouver

After spending the majority of my summer in the pacific northwest, I have a big appreciation for the weather, landscape, and overall beauty of the area. I’ve heard it only gets prettier as you head north into Canada. Sad that I didn’t make the trip to Vancouver when I was only five hours away, I plan to head back to the Northwest sometime in the near future to see all that Vancouver has to offer.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

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Capilano Suspension Bridge

Why not get your heart racing as you cross a 450-foot suspension bridge hanging 230 feet above the Capilano River? It’s a true tree top adventure! While this is supposedly not a free experience, if you’re running a little low on cash you can always cross the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge instead, it’s free.

Granville Island Public Market

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Granville Island Public Market

There is nothing like a public market. Fresh food, good people, and excellent homemade healthy products for sale. The market on Grandville Island is considered to be a gem of Vancouver, so if you’re ever hungry, and you will be, be sure to head that way for a bite to eat.

Gastown

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Gastown

Cobblestone streets, beautiful Victorian architecture, and an iconic steam clock can all be found in Gastown. Gastown is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Vancouver for tourists to visit, so why not check it off of your bucket list? There are beautiful shop and restaurants everywhere, so you won’t get board.


Iceland

Yes, Iceland is a country, not a city, but there were just too many awesome activities and place to visit that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one city.

Blue Lagoon

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Blue Lagoon

While the Blue Lagoon isn’t a natural lagoon, it’s still pretty cool! It originally started as a small pool of runoff water from a geothermal plant nearby. Now, out of Iceland’s 1.3 million annual visitors, 70% visit the lagoon. Just as a heads up, the lagoon is 50 minutes away from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. While many people fly into Reykjavik, the lagoon is actually closer to the Keflavik airport, so plan accordingly.

Northern Lights

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Northern Lights

There are only so many places in the world that you can see the Northern Lights and Iceland is one of them. Finally, a light show that you don’t have to pay for and it’s all natural! The Northern Lights shine when charged particles from the sun enter the atmosphere and collide with gas atoms. But put simply, the world is kind of amazing and everyone once in a while, it gives you a breathtaking lights show, so don’t miss out!

Crystal Caves

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Crystal Caves

I would love to take a tour of an ice cave. While they are a bit pricy, around $150 USD, I think it’s worth it. When will you ever get another chance to do this? I’m sure there is nothing like walking through a cave walled with ice, and all you can see are different shades of blue surrounding you. It definitely takes exploring to a whole new level!


Santorini

Does Greece ever sound like a bad idea? I didn’t think so. If you’re a beach person, you can’t go wrong with visiting Santorini. Chances are you’ve already seen a million pictures of the place on Pinterest. And if you’re an Instagram fanatic, the architecture and beachy back drop will totally be your aesthetic, just bring your camera and start snapping.

See the Blue Domes

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Blue Domes

 

It’s one thing to see these domes in pictures, but I would rather see them for myself. Not only is the whole area aesthetically pleasing with the white buildings and blue domes, but I couldn’t think of a more instagramable picture. Grab and friend and have a photo shoot. It’s not like you go to Santorini every day.

Red Beach

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Red Beach

Just steps away from the ancient site of Akrotiri, you can walk the volcanic and rocky beach of Red Beach. While the beach is small and often crowded, it’s worth the experience, even if it’s just to see it from afar.

Museum of Wine

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Koutsoyannopoulos Winery

I don’t like to drink, but I will make an exception for wine, and I’m sure wine tastes better in paradise. The Koutsoyannopoulos family has a museum of wine in the beautiful village of Messara, and the museum is housed in a natural cave. After the tour, you get a chance to taste four of the best wines that the winery produces. If you claim to not be a wine person, you probably haven’t been drinking the best ones. Why not start in Santorini?

These are just a few of the places that I’m dying to visit and hopefully I can do so in the next year or two. While the list goes on-and-on, I would love to hear where you guy plan on visiting, or even places that you just wanderlust about. Share them in the comment below!