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An Expat Talks about Living in Petion-ville, Haiti

Submitted by whvastine

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Petion-ville

How long have you lived there?

30 Months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

The Petion-ville Club; Members only, though Wensday nights are open to public. UN, US Embassy, Canadian Embassy, Local affluent families, etc. are here. Great place to meet and network.

The Hotel Montanna; The premier hotel for foreign persons and meeting place for dignataries, etc. The Hotel Caribe; Newly opened, conference center, the up and coming place in Haiti currently (2009).

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

People from around the world here (mostly due to UN) local prominent religion is Catholic, but almost any relgion is found in Haiti.

Haitians are generally religious people, they do accept differences to a degree, as in most societies.....discussion of varied religion may have poor results...be cautious outside friends and family that you associate with.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Main local industry is textile, farming, UN work, NGO work. For the expat, this would be to main area...other than medical and teaching. Haiti is unforgiving unless you have existing commitment from existing entity.

The common Local worker earns only about two US dollars per day. Skilled local workers such as plumbers, carpenters, masons, etc. may make around eight to fifteen US dollars per day. Jobs are generally found through the UN, NGO's, International recruiters, and local knowledge of who, what, when, where....and who to contact. If you lack the local networking...only international recruitment is the likely source.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Priorities generally revolve around the work, though once admitted to society, home dinners, resturants, other gatherings or trips to mountain or beach are encountered. Family is very important to locals and consider it a priviledge to be invited to family homes/gatherings. Many Haitians have very large and extended families of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.....it is not uncommon to meet new person that is related in some fashion to another Haitian you have met.

Socializing is generally out to resturants, or if you are invited to a home, large meals and wine or cocktails are the norm.

Sports are favored by many, with soccer/football (Haiti has an international soccer/football team) being the largest by far, though Haiti does like basketball, Boxing (Haiti does have ranked boxers)and many other common sports are recognized and enjoyed here.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Haiti is very poor. Unless you have verified commitment here....life is rough and not currently a place to excel unless you are invloved with third/fourth world development, and have verified commitment of employment.

Haiti can be a very good place to begin new international business. If you are a foreign company willing to establish new business in Haiti, there are many great incentives, tax breaks, etc. that attempt to promote foriegn investments. The business climate can be cumbersome to navigate, but there are very attractive terms and incentives for those that can prevail.

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