Cultural Information - Haiti | Centre for Intercultural Learning
Join the #1 trusted Christian dating site in the US. Register for free today to The eharmony membership pool is a diverse group of individuals. Your someone. Syncretism (the merging of religion and traditional beliefs/practices) is very common. Who you know, particularly senior members of government and politicians, Another significant population group in Haiti's capital is essentially Haitian. Each local interest group exploited its position at every opportunity to achieve .. Haiti is famous for its popular religion, known to its practitioners as "serving the.
In addition, social status is a key factor. Who you know, particularly senior members of government and politicians, is important. Haiti's upper class is made up of a very small minority but they control a great part of the wealth of the nation. The elite or upper class also include Haitians of Lebanese, Syrian and Indian descent who have become financially successful in the country.
Increased access to education had helped carry some individuals into the ranks of the upper class. The middle class can include public servants, moderately successful business operators including agricultural producersconsultants, technical specialists, etc. They typically are well educated, speak French and English and live in urban areas. The lower class, or proletariat, is socially very mixed poor peasants, poor urbans and it has little class awareness.
They can be the domestic workers, labourers, and the unemployed or chronically under employed masses. This class also includes a significant number of young Haitians.
Lower-class parents still make a real effort to keep their children in school throughout the primary curriculum. Ethnicity In Haitian language there are only two types of people in the world: Rather the term "blanc" is used universally for anyone who is not Haitian. Foreigners are given respect in most situations, but the term "blanc" can also be used as a form of mockery especially when one has little understanding of Haitian culture and language.
Another separate class of Haitians are the diaspora, Haitians who live abroad, usually in the U. All of these populations in Haiti are part of the wealthier classes and are generally held in higher esteem and carry most of the political power in Haiti. If one is visiting Haiti outside of the capital city these are the people who typify true Haitian culture. Gender Haitian culture is traditionally male dominated.
Men and women in Haiti in general have traditional gender roles. In rural areas, women are responsible for child rearing, cooking, cleaning and going to the market to either buy or sell goods. Men spend most of their time working the family farm. Normally, men will be the leaders in the community and women still tend to be submissive to their husbands. Haitians are predominately of African descent. There is a small portion of mixed European and African descent from the time of French and Spanish rule and as a result of a heavy international aid presence over the years.
Christianity is the most popular religion in Haiti with many Haitians donning their Sunday best every week to attend mass. The Voodoo culture is still present, with many Christians still participating in voodoo practices and rituals.
It is best to keep an open mind and respect the culture and beliefs of each individual. Gender roles are heavily visible if not discussed. Women often work stereotypical female roles such as house keepers, teachers, nurses and clerical jobs. More physically demanding jobs such as construction, drivers, and police are predominately filled by men. A high percentage of government and business positions are held by males. Gender roles within society can have an impact on work. Females working in a position of power must be strong and resistant to intimidation.
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Meeting gender equality goals in the workplace can be challenging based on the type of work. While Haitians are grateful for the assistance of foreign organisations, years of involvement of foreign governments has created a level of distrust of foreigners.
The issue often lies with the belief that foreigners are only a temporary presence and do not care about the long term wellbeing of the person or the country. Ensure that you are not making promises that cannot be kept. Haitians are respectful of foreign workers and the knowledge that they bring but are not hesitate to challenge a situation if they have a different idea.
Work with the local staff to achieve sustainable change. How important is it to establish a personal relationship with a colleague or client before getting to business? Haitians are warm and very particular about salutations. You are expected to exchange greeting when you join a group or meet someone, regardless of the location. The same is true when you leave a group or a public space where you were accompanied by other people, in which case you would usually say au revoir.
Relationships are very important in Haitian culture. Therefore, it is important to establish a personal relationship before getting down to business. This will help simplify all the formal procedures. It is important to be aware that your Haitian partner will talk business mostly after they are familiar with you. Business discussions should be saved until the end of the meal, or for later.
Take your time and be patient as the goal of your Haitian partner is to build a long-lasting relationship. It is not required to establish a personal relationship before getting into business, however there are benefits to taking the time to learn about colleagues or clients. You will better understand their knowledge and skill set as well as their motivation for doing business with you. Having good communication and understanding what is important to your colleagues will help you relate and know how to incentivize them for improved performance.
Haitians will work hard and go out of their way to help those who they feel are genuine and trustworthy. Cultural Information - Privileges and Favouritism Question: Would a colleague or employee expect special privileges or considerations given our personal relationship or friendship? Relationships plays a big role in the workplace. Special privileges may be expected in both business and personal relationships.
The fact that you are a foreigner will likely exacerbate this fact. A relationship, whether it is friendly or romantic, can always play a part in negotiations. Relatives and friends often come first when hiring decisions are to be made. People rely on family members to find a job. This is not uncommon in countries where hiring practices are not necessarily as formal and structured as in a Western environment.
There is some expectation of special treatment given personal relationships or friendship but one should never feel pressured to do anything they feel unethical. Opportunities are hard to come by for locals and they will look to leverage any connection. Most Haitians understand the constraints foreigners are working under and will understand if their requests cannot be accommodated. Take the time to explain any refusal for assistance in a calm and logical manner.
I have a work-related problem with a colleague. Do I confront him or her directly? People do not like to be confronted or criticized in public but are more likely to accept it when done in a private discussion. Confidentiality and discretion is very important. If you are in a position of authority, employees and subordinates will be reluctant or unwilling to discuss issues or grievances if they concern you directly. Therefore, if you are their manager, you will have to know your colleagues and be very perceptive; watch for changes in behavior towards you or other subtle differences in their comportment.
These cues will provide some indication if there is a problem. Frequently, you may be approached by a third party to broach the subject. When looking to confront anyone you must assess the situation. Some Haitians have a more volatile personality which can make confrontation a risk.
Haitians are a proud group so when confronting a colleague, do not do so publically as this can be perceived as an insult and will embarrass your colleague. If you are concerned about confronting a colleague, consider using a respected local staff member to help convey the message in a language that is more relatable to the colleague.
What motivates my local colleagues to perform well on the job? Good salary, good working conditions and professional satisfaction are important factors in on-the-job performance and achieving optimum productivity. Cordial employer-employee relations that make employees feel as if they belong to the same family are strong motivators to having a devoted and loyal team.
Again, relationships are key in motivating colleagues to perform well on the job. Motivation is very different for each person. Most colleagues are primarily motivated by the opportunity to make a steady wage. Especially in a contract situation, staff will work hard to get an extension.
Small things such as covering the cost of transit and providing coffee or a meal at training sessions or meetings is greatly appreciated and in many cases expected. Make sure the goal of what you are trying to achieve as a team is clear and let colleagues know how they, their families and their community will benefit.
As with all people, make sure to recognise the hard work of local staff and provide positive feedback often to motivate staff. People make a crude but highly nutritious sugar paste called rapadou. Haitians generally eat two meals a day: The afternoon meal always includes beans or a bean sauce, and there is usually a small amount of poultry, fish, goat, or, less commonly, beef or mutton, typically prepared as a sauce with a tomato paste base.
Fruits are prized as between-meal snacks. Non-elite people do not necessarily have community or family meals, and individuals eat wherever they are comfortable. A snack customarily is eaten at night before one goes to sleep. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Festive occasions such as baptismal parties, first communions, and marriages include the mandatory Haitian colas, cake, a spiced concoction of domestic rum klerenand a thick spiked drink made with condensed milk called kremass.
The middle class and the elite mark the same festivities with Western sodas, Haitian rum Babouncourtthe national beer Prestigeand imported beers. Pumpkin soup bouyon is eaten on New Year's day.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. It is a nation of small farmers, commonly referred to as peasants, who work small private landholdings and depend primarily on their own labor and that of family members. There are no contemporary plantations and few concentrations of land.
Although only 30 percent of the land is considered suitable for agriculture, more than 40 percent is worked. Real income for the average family has not increased in over twenty years and has declined precipitously in rural areas. Since the s, the country has become heavily dependent on food imports—primarily rice, flour, and beans—from abroad, particularly from the United States. Other major imports from the United States are used material goods such as clothes, bicycles, and motor vehicles.
The Haitian has become primarily domestic, and production is almost entirely for domestic consumption. A vigorous internal marketing system dominates the economy and includes trade not only in agricultural produce and livestock but also in homemade crafts. Land Tenure and Property.
Land is relatively evenly distributed. Most holdings are small approximately three acresand there are very few landless households. Most property is privately held, though there is a category of land known as State Land that, if agriculturally productive, is rented under a long-term lease to individuals or families and is for all practical purposes private. Unoccupied land frequently is taken over by squatters. There is a vigorous land market, as rural households buy and sell land. Sellers of land generally need cash to finance either a life crisis event healing or burial ritual or a migratory venture.
Land is typically bought, sold, and inherited without official documentation no government has ever carried out a cadastral survey. Although there are few land titles, there are informal tenure rules that give farmers relative security in their holdings. Until recently, most conflicts over land were between members of the same kin group. With the departure of the Duvalier dynasty and the emergence of political chaos, some conflicts over land have led to bloodshed between members of different communities and social classes.
There is a thriving internal market that is characterized at most levels by itinerant female traders who specialize in domestic items such as produce, tobacco, dried fish, used clothing, and livestock.
There are small gold and copper reserves. For a short time the Reynolds Metals Company operated a bauxite mine, but it was closed in because of conflict with the government. Offshore assembly industries owned principally by U. There is one cement factory—most of the cement used in the country is imported—and a single flour mill.
In the s, the country exported wood, sugarcane, cotton and coffee, but by the s, even the production of coffee, long the major export, had been all but strangled through excessive taxation, lack of investment in new trees, and bad roads. Recently, coffee has yielded to mangoes as the primary export.
Other exports include cocoa and essential oils for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Haiti has become a major transshipment point for illegal drug trafficking. Imports come predominantly from the United States and include used clothing, mattresses, automobiles, rice, flour, and beans. Cement is imported from Cuba and South America. There is a large degree of informal specialization in both rural and urban areas.
At the highest level are craftsmen known as bosses, including carpenters, masons, electricians, welders, mechanics, and tree sawyers. Specialists make most craft items, and there are others who castrate animals and climb coconut trees. Within each trade there are subdivisions of specialists. Social Stratification Class and Castes. There has always been a wide economic gulf between the masses and a small, wealthy elite and more recently, a growing middle class.
Social status is well marked at all levels of society by the degree of French words and phrases used in speech, Western dress patterns, and the straightening of hair.
Symbols of Social Stratification. The wealthiest people tend to be lighter-skinned or white. Some scholars see this apparent color dichotomy as evidence of racist social division, but it also can be explained by historical circumstances and the immigration and intermarrying of the light-skinned elite with white merchants from Lebanon, Syria, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, other Caribbean countries, and, to a far lesser extent, the United States.
Many presidents have been dark-skinned, and dark-skinned individuals have prevailed in the military. Both music and painting are popular forms of artistic expression in Haiti. Haiti is a republic with a bicameral legislature.
It is divided into departments that are subdivided into arrondissments, communes, commune sectionals, and habitations. There have been numerous constitutions. The legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code, which excluded hereditary privileges and aimed to provide equal rights to the population, regardless of religion or status.
Leadership and Political Officials. The Duvalier reign ended after popular uprising throughout the country. Infive years and eight interim governments later, a popular leader, Jean Bertrand Aristide, won the presidency with an overwhelming majority of the popular vote. Aristide was deposed seven months later in a military coup.
The United Nations then imposed an embargo on all international trade with Haiti. Inthreatened with the invasion by United States forces, the military junta relinquished control to an international peacekeeping force. The Aristide government was reestablished, and since an ally of Aristide, Rene Preval, has ruled a government rendered largely ineffective by political gridlock.
Social Problems and Control. Since independence, vigilante justice has been a conspicuous informal mechanism of the justice system.
Mobs have frequently killed criminals and abusive authorities. With the breakdown in state authority that has occurred over the last fourteen years of political chaos, both crime and vigilantism have increased. The security of life and property, particularly in urban areas, has become the most challenging issue facing the people and the government. Social Welfare and Change Programs The infrastructure is in a very poor condition.
International efforts to change this situation have been under way sincebut the country may be more underdeveloped today than it was one hundred years ago. International food aid, predominantly from the United States, supplies over ten percent of the country's needs. Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations Per capita, there are more foreign nongovernmental organizations and religious missions predominantly U.
In both rural and urban areas, men monopolize the job market. Only men work as jewelers, construction workers, general laborers, mechanics, and chauffeurs. Most doctors, teachers, and politicians are men, although women have made inroads into the elite professions, particularly medicine.
Virtually all pastors are male, as are most school directors. Men also prevail, although not entirely, in the professions of spiritual healer and herbal practitioner.
In the domestic sphere, men are primarily responsible for the care of livestock and gardens. Women are responsible for domestic activities such as cooking, housecleaning and washing clothes by hand. Rural women and children are responsible for securing water and firewood, women help with planting and harvesting.
The few wage-earning Haitians expect to haggle when making a purchase. In marketing, women dominate most sectors, particularly in goods such as tobacco, garden produce, and fish. The most economically active women are skillful entrepreneurs on whom other market women heavily depend.
Usually specialists in a particular commodity, these marchann travel between rural and urban areas, buying in bulk at one market and redistributing the goods, often on credit, to lower-level female retailers in other markets. The Relative Status of Women and Men.
Rural women are commonly thought by outsiders to be severely repressed. Urban middle-class and elite women have a status equivalent to that of women in developed countries, but among the impoverished urban majority, the scarcity of jobs and the low pay for female domestic services have led to widespread promiscuity and the abuse of women.
However, rural women play a prominent economic role in the household and family. In most areas, men plant gardens, but women are thought of as the owners of harvests and, because they are marketers, typically control the husband's earnings.
Marriage,Family, and Kinship Marriage. Marriage is expected among the elite and the middle classes, but less than forty percent of the non-elite population marries an increase compared with the past resulting from recent Protestant conversions.
However, with or without legal marriage, a union typically is considered complete and gets the respect of the community when a man has built a house for the woman and after the first child has been born. When marriage does occur, it is usually later in a couple's relationship, long after a household has been established and the children have begun to reach adulthood.
Couples usually live on property belonging to the man's parents. Living on or near the wife's family's property is common in fishing communities and areas where male migration is very high.
Although it is not legal, at any given time about 10 percent of men have more than a single wife, and these relationships are acknowledged as legitimate by the community. The women live with their children in separate homesteads that are provided for by the man. Extra residential mating relationships that do not involve the establishment of independent households are common among wealthy rural and urban men and less fortunate women. Incest restrictions extend to first cousins. There is no brideprice or dowry, although women generally are expected to bring certain domestic items into the union and men must provide a house and garden plots.
Households typically are made up of nuclear family members and adopted children or young relatives. Elderly widows and widowers may live with their children and grandchildren.
The husband is thought of as the owner of the house and must plant gardens and tend livestock. However, the house typically is associated with the woman, and a sexually faithful woman cannot be expelled from a household and is thought of as the manager of the property and the decision maker regarding use of funds from the sale of garden produce and household animals. Men and women inherit equally from both parents. Upon the death of a landowner, land is divided in equal portions among the surviving children.
In practice, land often is ceded to specific children in the form of a sales transaction before a parent dies. Kinship is based on bilateral affiliation: One is equally a member of one's father's and mother's kin groups. Kinship organization differs from that of the industrial world with regard to ancestors and godparentage.
Ancestors are given ritual attention by the large subset of people who serve the lwa. They are believed to have the power to influence the lives of the living, and there are certain ritual obligations that must be satisfied to appease them. Godparentage is ubiquitous and derives from Catholic tradition. The parents invite a friend or acquaintance to sponsor a child's baptism.
This sponsorship creates a relationship not only between the child and the godparents but also between the child's parents and the godparents. In some areas infants are given purgatives immediately after birth, and in some regions the breast is withheld from newborns for the first twelve to forty-eight hours, a practice that has been linked to instruction from misinformed Western-trained nurses.
Liquid supplements usually are introduced within the first two weeks of life, and food supplements often are begun thirty days after birth and sometimes earlier. Infants are fully weaned at eighteen months. Child Rearing and Education. Very young children are indulged, but by the age of seven or eight most rural children engage in serious work. Children are important in retrieving household water and firewood and helping to cook and clean around the house. Children look after livestock, help their parents in the garden, and run errands.
Parents and guardians are often harsh disciplinarians, and working-age children may be whipped severely. Children are expected to be respectful to adults and obedient to family members, even to siblings only a few years older than themselves. They are not allowed to talk back or stare at adults when being scolded.Top 10 Most Beautiful Haitian Women 2018
They are expected to say thank you and please. If a child is given a piece of fruit or bread, he or she must immediately begin breaking the food and distributing it to other children.
Haiti: suffering and spirituality
The offspring of elite families are notoriously spoiled and are reared from an early age to lord it over their less fortunate compatriots. Tremendous importance and prestige are attached to education. Most rural parents try to send their children at least to primary school, and a child who excels and whose parents can afford the costs is quickly exempted from the work demands levied on other children.
Fosterage restavek is a system in which children are given to other individuals or families for the purpose of performing domestic services.
There is an expectation that the child will be sent to school and that the fostering will benefit the child. The most important ritual events in the life of a child are baptism and the first communion, which is more common among the middle class and the elite.
Both events are marked by a celebration including Haitian colas, a cake or sweetened bread rolls, sweetened rum beverages, and, if the family can afford it, a hot meal that includes meat. Traditionally, there has been a very small, educated urban-based elite, but in the last thirty years a large and rapidly increasing number of educated citizens have come from relatively humble rural origins, although seldom from the poorest social strata.
These people attend medical and engineering schools, and may study at overseas universities. There is a private university and a small state university in Port-au-Prince, including a medical school. Both have enrollments of only a few thousand students.
Many offspring of middle-class and The carnival that precedes Lent is the most popular Haitian festival. Visitors to a household never leave empty-handed or without drinking coffee, or at least not without an apology. Failure to announce a departure, is considered rude. People feel very strongly about greetings, whose importance is particularly strong in rural areas, where people who meet along a path or in a village often say hello several times before engaging in further conversation or continuing on their way.
Men shake hands on meeting and departing, men and women kiss on the cheek when greeting, women kiss each other on the cheek, and rural women kiss female friends on the lips as a display of friendship. Young women do not smoke or drink alcohol of any kind except on festive occasions. Men typically smoke and drink at cockfights, funerals, and festivities but are not excessive in the consumption of alcohol.
Men are more prone to smoke tobacco, particularly cigarettes, than to use snuff. Men and especially women are expected to sit in modest postures. Even people who are intimate with one another consider it extremely rude to pass gas in the presence of others. Haitians say excuse me eskize-m when entering another person's space.
Brushing the teeth is a universal practice.