Cruising Part 2: Fake Haiti

When I found out about our cruise itineary I was most excited about the opportunity to go to Haiti.  I have always had a fascination with Haiti.  I was really hoping to be able to explore a little while we were there.

However, my dad made me promise I wouldn’t do anything dumb and I would stick with the tourists and stay safe. 

Well, I did not really get a choice.  We did not get to go to REAL Haiti.  We went to fake Haiti. Cruise lines like to lease islands or certain areas from local governments and make their own paradise for their clientele, and that was our Haitian stop.  We stopped in Labadee, Haiti.

Lyssa was in charge of booking excursions (which she did a fantastic job!) and she booked up for a walking tour in Labadee.
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This was our guide.  It was an interesting tour to say the least.  We were never quite sure how much he was paid to say, how much he was made to say, and how much was true.

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According to him, he is thrilled to have the cruise lines there because of the income for Haiti.  He has a job that can provide for his family because of it.  At our first three stops on our tour he told us that Haiti was NOT that poor, and at the last three stops he told of of all the things that other people had done that made the people of Haiti poor.  Like I said, it was INTERESTING!

The thing that blew my mind was the wall.  There was a nice concrete wall surrounding the area for the tourists.

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I, being ME after all, wanted to see what was beyond the wall.


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Real Haiti was beyond the wall.  Our guide had to come to work from his village by boat!  Haitians were not allowed in the tourist area unless they had a job there.  In the …however many years the cruise line has been coming there, there has never been an incident of crime within these borders.  It is just hard for me to wrap my mind around.  It is gorgeous without a doubt.
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But it isn’t real.  It is the prepared canvas that they want you to appreciate.  I long to go back. My lifelong desire to Haiti has only strengthened.  I want to see REAL Haiti.  I want to see the real people.  I would love to go on a missions trip there.  It would be amazing!

Published by

Tancy Griffin

Tancy Griffin is a wife and mother of four wonderful children. Her husband Jeremiah Griffin is a church planter and pastor in Rockford, Illinois.

8 thoughts on “Cruising Part 2: Fake Haiti”

  1. My husband spent six weeks in the real Haiti, as a Canadian soldier. He saw joy and beauty there, but it was joy and beauty in the faces of people struggling to survive. It breaks my heart that commerce trumps truth. So sad that in our world, such is deemed “necessary”.

  2. My husbands grandparents were missionaries to Haiti for many years, and his mother was born there. They had some extremely interesting stories, including some dark tales of witchcraft, zombies, and of course the brutal poverty. My husband has spent a little time there as well, and has pictures of him as a very young boy, blond and blue eyed playing next to his half- Haitian cousin, brown as can be. Sad that they are still struggling, and putting up a fake reality for tourists.

  3. Tancy. What you need to do is buy a ticket to Haiti and go have a good time. I would say skip the mission trips, they are generally self serving spiritual quests for people who want to feel better about themselves. A mission would consist of going down to do work that could be work for Haitians to make money. So reconsider the mission thing. I live in Haiti part time as my wife is Haitian. I here what the Haitians say, think and feel about many of these missionaries. It’s good, bad and ugly. If you do decide on a mission make it be a mission to explore, and spend American $$$$$. Look into micro loan missions, these really help the Haitian people to get ahead in life and it’s not a handout. There are incredible resorts all around HAiti, be a tourist. Enjoy and come home feeling great.

  4. Fake Haiti or not, I had a great time. Sometimes the best memories come from the funny things. Like your “fake Haiti” I took a 7 night cruise that docked there for most of the day. You had to have a good sense of humor. We took a bus tour, with the driver letting us off in the middle of the street with cars racing by. It was a very expensive trip to take the tour bus around, and most of the things they were showing you, you can’t see due to the high fences around the different properties. It was our first cruise that we took in Feb in 2016 and I can’t wait to do it again.

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