This is not a danger or warning. It is more of a "for your information" .
The UN Currently (November 2004) has a stabilization force of over 5000 troops and close to a thousand police officers. Most from Brazil. These individuals are here with the goal to provide stabalization to Haiti in their recent times of unrest. If you ever find yourself in trouble, these people would probably the best to approach. Stay safe!
It once happened to me in Port-au-Prince, that a young boy approached me and told me, that the boy, who was carrying my purchases, was captured by the police.
I had to cross the street and enter a building, where a policeman with a machinegun was standing with that boy.
I had to pay 5 $ and he was released again.
Tourists are rather safe in such moments, but I have no idea, what he would have done to that Haitien boy of maybe 10 years.
By the behaviour of the boy I could see, that this situation will happen quite often, and for sure it was not a "ripp-off-game" between the boy and the policeman in order to cheat a tourist.
I saw it several times, that trucks simply stopped somewhere in the streets, 2 men with machine-guns jumped off and forced some men to get on the truck.
All of that lasted a few seconds and nobody of the people seemed to care a lot, obviously everybody was happy they were not taken themselves.
It is a very bad habit umong cruising-passengers to give money to cute little children in the streets.
Just imagine, such a cute boy or girl of maybe 5 years will get home with 5 or 10 $ in the evening, while his father is working for the same money a full month or even more
Could you ever teach such a child to learn a profession ?
Just imagine such a cute child will get older quickly and 5 or 10 $ a day is not enough anymore, but tourists care more for the smaller children...
then they do not have a profession, and the boys might start to get the tourist-money by robberies, girls will have no other chance than prostitution...
I have been in Haiti and Port of Prince several times, while I was working on cruiseships.
It was never easy to walk through town without beeing surrounded by dozens of children begging for money or small jobs like carrying your purchases back to the ship.
Simply be aware, especially when you have a white skin, you will be immediately spotted to be a tourist...
...and for people in Haiti ALL tourists are really rich ( and in comparison they REALLY ARE ).
Simply try to get one of them, who will suit you best ( I mostly took the one who was screeming much less than the others) - It will be the ONLY way to get rid of the others !!
My picture is a detail of one of the paintings, I bought in Haiti
It was so relaxing just to sit out on the front steps and take it easy after a long day of work.......until....BANNNGGG....a danm coconut landed 2 feet in front of me! It almost nailed my head!
tip of the day---Don't sit under the dredfull coconut tree!!!!hahaha
doooodoooodoooo im signing in the rain (actually the shower)...all of a sudden a spider comes crawling down the wall!!!!!hahahaha. He wasn't a small guy either. Probably about 2 inches in diameter. Unfortunately I did not get to see the Tarantula they found in the clinic storage room......Watch out for those little guys!
Watch out for the Haitian woman that are trying to pick you up. I send this out to the girls to. One girl on our team learn't the hard way. If she ask you to go talk outside, it means she wants to introduce you to her pimp. A few guys and girls got caught on our team. Apparently she is a good pick pocket to.... Watch out.....
Water is not safe to drink out of the tap. You will see big light blue water jugs here and there. Apparently there is a Culigan plant in or close to Port-au-Prince (or so I kept hearing). Me and 27 other people drank out of these water jugs (at our guesthouse) for about 2 weeks. No one got sick. Go for the jugs not the tap....
Haiti is still very unstable and unpredictable (June 29th/2005). The situation changes from day to day depending on the area you are in. Make sure to keep up with the latest events.....
Downtown Port-au-Prince is still a dangerous, place, it really depends on the part of town you are going to. Daytime is usually fine, but at nightime the wrong area is definetely a risk.