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Rebuilding Haiti, and Its Tourism

Rebuilding Haiti, and Its Tourism

Sarah Gold

I got to share in that vision—Haiti as vacation spot—on one of the last outings we took on our trip. We boarded our vans that day and drove north from Cyvadier into a range of thickly forested mountains. After parking at the entrance to a slippery uphill hiking trail, we all climbed, accompanied by guides who helped us cross rushing streams and scramble over moss-covered boulders. Eventually, we emerged into a high clearing, where we were greeted by a breathtaking sight: three glittering, cyan-blue freshwater pools surrounded by rocky cliffs and fed by a thundering waterfall.

The Bassins Bleu are some of Haiti’s most prized natural treasures. And we certainly weren’t the only ones who had come to enjoy them; everywhere, groups of Haitian teenagers and foreign travelers were floating in the clear, cold water; sunning on the rocks; and jumping off outcroppings above the pools. It wasn’t exactly peaceful—not with all the splashing and shrieking—but I felt a deep sense of calm there, of almost beatific serenity.

For a while I treaded water alone under the churning waterfall, watching friends and strangers cavort around me. And then suddenly I realized why I felt so happy. It wasn’t just that the pools were arrestingly beautiful. It was that I didn’t feel like a stranger here, like some sort of outside intruder. The week of working at Let Haiti Live, and being part of its community, had allowed me to feel like this was—if only a tiny bit, and only temporarily—my place, too.

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