GSHAC Missions does not want to dwell on negative facts but wants to bring attention to a country in need. Haiti needs help, prayers, and actions for its harsh reality. You and I can help. Help Us Help Haiti.

HIstory

Haiti was explored by Columbus on Dec. 6, 1492 and soon fell under Spanish rule.  In 1791, a rebellion erupted among the slave population of 480,000, resulting in a declaration of independence by Pierre-Dominique Toussaint l’Ouverture in 1801. Though Napoléon Bonaparte tried to suppress this movement, the Haitian people prevailed in 1804 under Jean-Jacques Dessalines. It was the world’s first independent black republic.

Geography

Haiti, a part of the West Indies, shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola rests between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Haiti is a very mountainous region but also has great valleys, plateaus, and small plains.

Religion

Though you may connect Voodoo to Haiti, it is not the leading religion of this country it is actually Catholicism with 80% of its people who partake in this faith. Protestant at 16%, Baptist at 10%, Pentecostal is at 4%, and Adventist is at 1%.

Language

Two languages are spoken in Haiti: Creole and French. Nine of every ten Haitians speak only Creole, which is the everyday language for the entire population. About one in ten also speak French. And only about one in twenty is fluent in both French and Creole. Thus, Haiti was neither a francophone country nor a bilingual one. Rather, two separate speech communities exist: the monolingual majority and the bilingual elite.

Art

Haitian art came into its own slowly, well before the emergence of the Haitian people, before the arrival of slave ships and the caravels of Columbus, in the marvelous paintings realized by the Taino Indians on the walls of caves and the colored graphics they made on their naked bodies and the walls of their huts. The painting tradition was strengthened and enriched in Saint Domingue with the works of “talented negroes,” and reached its first blossoming in the newly born Haitian nation under the governments of Christophe, Pétion, Boyer, and Soulouque, with painters such as Denis, Thimoléon Déjoie, Numa Desroches, Colbert Lochard and his son Archibald Lochard.

Music

The music of Haiti is influenced mostly by Europe, colonial ties, and African migration through slavery. European musical influence derived primarily from the French and by the Spanish-infused influence of Cuba and the bordering Dominican Republic. Styles unique to Haiti include music derived from voodoo ceremonial traditions and the wildly popular Compas.

Family

Children are viewed as a gift from God and must be well cared for to fulfill God’s blessing. The whole family and sometimes community feel responsible for raising the child. Women in Haiti will go hungry just to make sure their child eats and goes to school. Education is very important because it can improve your social status. Discipline can be swift and physical and would be perceived as abuse in the United States. Elderly parents often live with their children and they are viewed as knowledgeable and are often asked for advice.

Food (Haitian Cuisine)

Haitian food is often lumped together with other Caribbean islands as “Caribbean cuisine.” However, Haiti maintains an independently unique flavor. Unlike its Spanish-influenced counterpart, the Dominican Republic, Haitian cuisine is based on Creole and French cooking styles. Strong pepper flavoring in many dishes also sets Haitian food apart from the other islands. The average Haitian diet is largely based on starch staples such as rice (which is locally grown), corn, millet, yams, and beans. However, wealthier residents can afford meats (usually pork and goat), lobster, spiced shrimp, duck, and sweet desserts such as French-influenced mousse and pastries.