Planning trip to Cap Haitien the end of August 2011. Any current information about safety (do's and don’ts) for American citizens and sightseeing must would be greatly appreciated. Also any job opportunities, I would like to become involved in the local community helping rebuild and foster economic revitalization.
Two absolute must-see places near Cap Haitien are the Citadelle and San Souci Palace. These are ruins, but magnificent ones. They are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The path up to the Citadelle is steep and rocky. You can rent a horse (guided) and that might be the easiest way to do it. You can walk back down or ride. The fellow who guides the horse appreciates it if you ride both ways; it's his living . . . and tip generously.
If you want to work while there, you probably would do better to contact an organization before you leave. Realizing you are leaving fairly soon, I'll suggest you contact local aid organizations including churches when you arrive if you can't do it beforehand. Doctors Without Borders works there. The Episcopal Church and Baptist Church both have active missions there. I'm sure there are many other organizations too.
You will meet other volunteer workers both at your hotel restaurant and in various places around town. It's a small town with an active ex-pat community. Everyone is very friendly so it's easy to make connections. I will add, though, that most of these aid organizations do not want to pay you; they want you to volunteer and also to pay your own room and board. If you can do this, please do so the aid organizations can use their money to help the Haitian people which is why they are there.
Cap Haitien was relatively unscathed by the earthquake. As a matter of fact, the harbor there has been used to receive earthquake relief materials. Many of the middle class and wealthy families from Port au Prince who lost their homes to the earthquake have moved to Cap Haitien to start (or continue) their businesses. Therefore, if you truly want to be of service rebuilding the earthquake-ravaged country, you might consider volunteering in Leogane (the epicenter) or Port au Prince.
Just a thought. Enjoy Haiti; it's a beautiful and very friendly country.
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