The Haiti Development Studies Center is located in Les Cayes, Haiti. Upon arrival this big large gate opened up for us and we all hopped out to check out our home away from home for the next week. The center is surrounded by concrete walls. Tobi the guard dog lives in the back and gets to roam freely at night when everyone is in for the night. He is strictly a guard dog and there is no petting Tobi. My room is on the second floor and I’m sharing Dayana’s room. Ralph and Dayana are both from southern Haiti and went to highschool right behind the study center. They were chosen to receive a funded Umass Lowell enrollment and now live at the study center. Both Ralph and Dayana are very smart and they are super cool to hang out with. They also help us translate when conversing with the staff at the study center.
There are a few rules to note:
•Be conservative with water. When showering only turn the water on when you need it to rinse.
•Don’t drink the water from the tap and use the bottled water to brush teeth.
• Don’t take any photos of people unless you have their permission. Sometimes people are going to end up in photos of structures or land but that’s ok as long as you aren’t deliberately sticking a camera in someone’s face.
•Power comes on sporadically, so don’t leave electronics plugged in because the surge will ruin your devices when the power comes on.
Nothing too crazy or unexpected. I’m so comfortable here and the food is AMAZING. Tonight we had goat with rice and it was so good. I will definitely miss having Haitian food every night. All of the meals are prepared by the staff and they put so much effort in preparing the meals. I will be looking forward to staying here again in the spring time.