Hi. For those who don’t know me well, or at all, my name is Kiel Bonhomme. I was born and raised in New York City, went to school in Manhattan and the Bronx, and travelled/moved a lot in between. My travels have taken me to a lot of different places – 4 of 7 continents and 16 countries – which is not too bad for a city kid. I think I have seen a lot and learned a lot about human capacity for survival, how the rich like to do it and how the poor seem to manage it, which has always struck me first whenever I’m in a new place. However, I have only ever travelled for leisure/vacation/springbreak/soccer, and my observations are therefore limited to the scope of being an ultimate tourist. Until traveling to Haiti I have not worked with or for the people I care to analyze, which means I probably haven’t known much about anything. Being able to live a provincial lifestyle with Haitians who make a living on the land was an amazing experience and a very rare insight into a country that is largely understood through the international media’s coverage of Port au Prince. The experiences and everyday conversations taught great lessons and I will try my best to relate these through this site.
Recently I took a job in Haiti and worked for a very special and dynamic woman who has been living in Haiti for a number of years, and has even more recently moved to the small town of Kabik. Sophie is an American who began her work in Haiti as a UN photographer, and discovered Kabik and moved from an overwhelming experience in Port au Prince. After the earthquake Sophie recognized Ayiti is as good a place as any to settle down and begin a life as a business person, teacher, and parent. Neighboring Jacmel is a town on the beach (sand/sun/fish) where kids play soccer everyday, and there is a dynamic art scene. Much of this site will be devoted to the developments of Jacmel as the small city receives more international attention as a tourist destination and cultural hub of Haiti.
I am half-Haitian on my father’s side, but this past trip was my first time in the country. He came to the US with his mom and little brother when he was three years old, and returned for summers to visit his father and grandmother Madam Lacroix. In the US he lived with his mother, aunt Solange and cousins in New York until his father passed away when he was 13. Afterward he, my grandmother and uncle moved into their own house in Queens, NY and became naturalized citizens of the US. Though we have vaguely discussed the reasons for not returning and the lifestyle he had there, it is definitely a place he has distanced himself from. This has left a hole in my sense of identity that has widened over time. In perspective I am a second generation half-Haitian who does not speak Creole, knows a tiny bit of French (thanks Rosetta Stone), and is largely out of touch with any extended family. My experience with Haiti was entirely novel and fresh, and I look forward to returning whenever I can.
Thirdly Awesome is that I made trip with my meilleure amie Lydia. We spoke nearly a year ago about going to Ayiti together, so its really incredible that all the pieces fell into place for this to happen. You can probably attribute any photo you actually like to her.
Tout moun se moun,