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is the Anglicized version of the local name, Ayiti. Ayiti is a Taino word that means
"land of high mountains," which was the name the indigenous people called
the entire island of Hispaniola.
WARNING: Diseases are rampant in
Haiti, please read this travel warning
Haiti is a fairly mountainous country in a geographic disaster
zone, creating a country that seems to have to reset every few years as economic
progress is slow and re-building is common.
Between the mountains, which slows transportation, and the earthquakes on land destroying
the infrastructure, Haiti's economy always seems slow
to move forward as the people live a fairly traditional way of life.
Besides the land forcing slow economic progress, the people and their roots have
a much stronger impact on the way of life. The people are primarily
French and African so they have aspects of each
culture present in Haiti. Although nominally Catholic,
many people also practice aspects of voodoo, which has roots in Africa. The Haitians'
foods, language, dress, and other aspects of life also tend to be a combination
of French and African.
The one consistency between the French and the
Africans is that the center of society is family, friends, and socialization
and this is impossible to miss in Haiti. The people are
friendly and outgoing as personal life is more important than work life. Between
the natural disasters and the preference to enjoy life, there is little doubt why
the economy is stagnant, but to the Haitians that's secondary to enjoying life.
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