The Magic and Mystery of

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Arts and Crafts



Impressions of Haiti

Visiting Haiti

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by Walter Starck

Editor's note:
In 1997 Maryse Kedar, a good friend of my wife, Meredith, had recently become Secretary of State for Tourism in Haiti and we were invited to assist in developing some promotional material.  As part of this effort we were provided access to helicopter transport and made flights covering about three-quarters of the entire coast.
     As so often happens in Haiti hopes and plans became mired in political ennui and nothing happened.   It was however a memorable personal experience.  Haiti is unique.  Like much of its art  it has a quality of the surreal.  To me it also had a feeling some post-apocalyptic world where government and law had collapsed and bands of survivors scraped together a feral existence from a ravaged countryside.  Probably no other nation has such a devastated natural environment.
     Amazingly, despite this, Haiti still possesses a strange beauty, the people are remarkably cheerful and friendly, and its natural world hasn't just collapsed but somehow adapted to persist and share in the poverty. 
     It is easy to dismiss Haiti's problems as something unique to that nation but I am not so sure that it may not also be leading the way to where many others are headed. 


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