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How to be an Ethical Tourist

Despite its designation as “the poorest country in the western hemisphere”, Haiti does offer a great richness. However, it takes a receptive and humble spirit to appreciate the gifts of the country and its people. When you choose to travel to Haiti, it is important to:

  • Remember the colour of your skin. It comes with a history that has not always been kind to the people of Haiti. It takes time to nurture trust and respect.

  • Smile a lot...  in Haiti your face is your passport

  • Practice some basic Kreyòl phrases. You will be rewarded!

  • Consider the impact of handouts. Will your handout create a future dependency or foster dignity and respect?

  • Avoid bringing gifts that reflect your perception of their neediness. Establish a relationship first. It is the pathway to a mutually respectful experience.

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep or believe all things you are told or promised.

  • Be still and listen. Take time to observe.

  • Carry a notebook. It is more important than a camera. It deepens understanding and reflection.

  • Remember that what may enrich you may violate others. If you unsure about anything, don’t do it.

  • Long pants, dresses/skirts will lead the way to more respect than overly casual wear.

  • Haiti is hot, dusty and noisy. Not everything may be up to your standard. Be prepared, patient and understanding.

  • Be aware that you are seeing Haiti through your own particular lens. What you may see or consider as being poor, Haitians may not. Do not disrespect them by feeling sorry for them when they may be proud to have what they have and choose to share it with you.

  • Travel lightly. Avoid bringing packaged and/or inappropriate materials and goods. Haiti is not accustomed to dealing with non-organic matter and products they have no use for.

  • Travel in a spirit of humility with a genuine desire to learn. Realize that Haitians view the world through their own historic/cultural lens. It does not make them inferior, only different.

FIDA Canada is a fully registered charitable organization: BN 13365 2768 RR0001

FIDA USA is a fully registered 501(c) 3 non-profit organization: US EIN # 47-2300976

productive cooperatives Haiti (pcH) is a fully registered Haitian non-profit organization: #B0307

© 2024 FIDA/pcH

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