Thursday, July 28, 2016 - Day Six - Meeting Kako and Travel Day to Jacmel
Ari Eckhaus reports:
Today started in a way that was more similar to home than our previous days. We first checked out of The Wall’s guest house, and ate breakfast. Next Daniel and Lilly arrived to pick us up. With Daniel and Lilly we drove to an upper/middle class summer camp that was being put on by a famous Haitian comedian named Kako. We were informed that the kids in the camp were most likely the children of embassy workers or had parents who were wealthy Haitian-Americans on vacation visiting family. Despite their “easier lifestyle” and their luxurious camp, the kids at Kako’s camp did not seem to be having as much fun as the kids at Sakala.
After seeing Kako’s camp we went to the Haitian equivalent of the four seasons to meet Kako himself. Kako was speaking at the gala for a paint company’s 60th anniversary, and Daniel wanted to introduce us to Kako since Kako and the paint company were helping to paint soccer field lines on the asphalt at Sakala.
After meeting Kako we all packed into the car for a four and a half hour car ride. We were heading toward the town of Jacmel. The drive was through the mountains of Haiti and offered beautiful views of the Haitian countryside that gave us a new perspective on the country. Half way up the mountain we were caught in a torrential downpour and were forced to pull over to put our luggage inside the van. This cutdown on space in the van which was already a premium prior to the rain. Eventually, after about 5 inches of rain and a fallen tree blocking the road the rain cleared and we arrived in Jacmel.
We got to the hotel, ate dinner, and went for a swim in the ocean which was right outside our hotel rooms. To end the night I looked back on the day and wondered why the kids at the wealthier Kako’s camp seemed to be enjoying their time less than the kids at Sakala. Was this because recreational activities were a privilege for the kids in Cité Soleil and something that the kids in the wealthier camp felt they were entitled to?
I also reflected on the extravagant hotel that we met Kako in and the way that this created a juxtaposition between life in developed countries and developing countries since the overpopulated hills of Port-au-Prince were visible from the hotel. Finally, I thought about how the car ride to Jacmel changed the way that I saw Haiti. I compared the hills we saw in the Haitian countryside to the ones I had seen in Guatemala and came to the conclusion that these countries are similar geographically and physically, but I couldn’t help but wonder what forces that weren’t so visible were keeping Haiti in its current state.