The village of Kabwa is located on the outskirts of the capital city. It overlooks Petionville, Marlique, and other areas. A lot of the people living there are my relatives. It’s where my mother is from and currently resides. The people are known as the people from the mountains. I haven’t been there in over 20yrs just to give you some background information. Driving up to Kabwa, you either need a Truck or SUV with 4 wheel drive or a motorbike/dirt bike. Part of the roads are paved on the way up and the majority of it is dirt and rocks that formed into a road as trucks and local villagers walk down to the city. There’s no guardrail to keep you from falling off the edge. Speeding is not advised. If you walk the path, you better adjust your body weight accordingly or else you will feel pain. Walking to the city takes about an hour.
With that being said, the area is very beautiful and well maintained. Deforestation doesn’t seem to be a problem. Which each step that you take, you will be amazed by the view of the city, the ocean, and the mountains across the way. As I walked through the path, I just wanted to take a moment and take it all in. I wondered if the villagers even bothered to take notice of the beauty in front of them anymore. After awhile, they probably get used to seeing it and it becomes mundane. With me seeing it for the first time, I stopped and take it all in. I take a few pictures and move on.
Homes are build all over these mountains. They are mostly made of concrete and stone from the neighboring rocks. Goats are walking around freely, dogs, cats, chickens, cows, all taking the same path or stopping by to eat. Farmers were tending to their flock and their land, growing corn, and whatever else they needed to get by. Some of the homes had outhouses a few minutes away, some were connected, the roofs were made from metal and wood, others were made from cement. There was no need for carpet or wood floors. Just cement, easier to clean and didn’t deteriorate as fast over time.
The people were humble and welcoming. Everyone knew each other in this small community. Neighboring houses were build only a few meters from each other and some hundreds of yards away. They welcomed me back into their community as if I had never left. As each person came by, they all greeted me and introduced themselves as my cousin or a family friend. It was great to be around family. My mother made me go from neighbor to neighbor introducing myself. Some of them told me stories of my father and other family members. Some of the best stories I’ve ever heard.
Cooking in this area was done through wood burning outside of the house. This is something that the people in this community, my relatives, have mastered and passed down from family to family. My mother had a gas stove that she only used for emergencies. All sorts of fruits bore from the trees which the people ate and sold down in the city. When people cooked, they ate every last drop, there were no left overs to keep in the fridge for the next day because there was no fridge. To many blackouts happened in this part of the country. The hustle and bustle of the big city took all of the power. Things like fridges, HD television, and the internet, mostly resided in the city limits. The blackouts prevented the people of Kabwa from heavily relying on such things, so they created and maintained alternative methods, such as gas lamps, battery operated flashlights, to help them see through the dark nights.Amazingly, cellphone reception was great in the area. I can’t even get my network to work in my suburban neighborhood in the States.
Life here was much simpler and I enjoyed the escape from technology driven world. I didn’t have to check my Facebook, email, text messages like my life depended on it. I was back to using things that were necessary. But I couldn’t help but think if the people were happy the way they were or thus just learned to maintain. I was visiting, so of course I could maintain this lifestyle for a week and possibly a few months. I don’t know if I could do it for years. There was a constant struggle in my head. Should I feel guilty about missing the advancements that the U.S had to offer, should I strive to get these items here to make my vacation more comfortable. I chose to shut up and live the way my mother and my other family members have lived for more than half a century. I started to get used to the lifestyle, eating what they grew, and only using the things you need. Buckets were used to hold water, cups were used to poor water on your body to bath, empty cans, sacks of rice, were further used to carry additional loads. Laundry was done outside by hand, with boiled water and cold water, and hung up to dry with the sunlight.
Meanwhile, I was wondering, why haven’t the roads been paved to make it easier for the villagers to walk to and from the city, why haven’t they maintained the conditions of the homes they build. My family owns a lot of land, more so than I could imagine. I kept wondering what will happen to the future of the land, will foreigners come and take it over, or with the continuing overcrowding of the cities, will the government find a way to seize the property and claim it as their own. Countless times in history we have seen this happen, greedy officials and greedy foreign investors plotting to take the land from the people living their and not paying them the value of that land.
If you are ever in Haiti, do visit kabwa and see what it has to offer. I guarantee you will be amazed by the view, the people, and the pristine condition of the land. For the price of
$10-25 Haitian Gud, less than $1usd you could get a ride to the mountain top. As progress continues in the inner city, Kabwa and nearby villages will become hot spots for tourists and citizens of this great country to escape the city life and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the mountains.