I have not been to Haiti, but I have been to several places in Africa.
|Quoting luckyone (Reply 11):|
As for food, unless you have a cast iron stomach a good rule of thumb is if you didn't see it come off the heat source do.not.eat.it unless it is a fruit. Even more important is only drink bottled water. Spend the extra money on it. Several friends of mine never had problems eating whatever they wanted and drinking water straight out of the tap. I myself had several nasty bouts of Montezuma's revenge until I adopted my heat-source rule, and I never could adjust to drinking the tap water.
This is good advise - to add to it:
Avoid ice cubes in drinks - you dont know where the water came from
Avoid salads or anything else maybe washed in water - as above
Look out for bottled water with broken seals - not unheard of for bottles to be reused and filled from dodgy sources
Get immunized against every disease known to mankind... have the shots at least a week before you go, they can make you feel pretty rough
There is no vaccine for malaria (AFAIK, maybe that has changed in the last couple of yeras) but consult your clinic on the best tablets. There is nothing that can offer 100% protection, but I took malarone, which I think is 95%
Buy a strong deet bug repellent - dont let those mossies get to you in the first place
Bring or buy a bottle of strong liquor like brandy - take a swig each night, its a natural bacteria killer
Do not wear a watch or jewellery or carry any valuables you dont have to - they are not out to get "white guys" or Americans but they are so poor that in desperation they may see you as a source of a quick few bucks
Be wise when giving out cash - $5 may be pocket change to us, but they can go nuts with that sort of money handed to them and the chances of them spending it wisely are not guaranteed. If possible, see if you can buy something for them they need rather than giving out cash
Stay with your group or at least a trusted local who knows the ropes - dont venture off on your own, particularly at dark
These people are very poor, so remember they have none of the luxuries you have - even nice clothes, particularly obviously designer brands and any show of "wealth" can be offensive. Forget about not having the latest Xbox or even movie on DVD - a lot of these folk dont have electricity.
Life is very simple but I found while they do not have the quality of things in life, many do have quality of life inasmuch as they value what they do have so much more like their family, community and natural surroundings far more than we do (speaking for myself anyway).
Enjoy - it will be an amazing experience and one you wont regret if you are sensible, above is all common sense stuff.