Marmelade, Land of Coffee and Bamboo

Marmelade, Haiti

The Haitian town of Marmelade, known as Mamlad in Creole, is best known as the boyhood home of Rene Preval, past president of Haiti, who succeeded the troubled and turbulent presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. During the era when the island of Haiti (known as Hispaniola then) was ruled by nobility, Marmelade was recognized as a duchy.

Situated high in the Marmelade mountain range between Cap Haïtien and Saint Marc, it overlooks the jewel-toned, aquamarine Atlantic Ocean, which lies 17 miles northward. It is also bounded by the equally breath-taking Caribbean Sea on the westward side.

Marmelade, referred to as Marmeiade or Marra Town by its 7,000 local residents, is a Christian community that is predominately Catholic. They attend baptisms, holy communions, weddings, funerals, and Sunday masses at St. Martha Catholic Church, 18 miles from Cap Haïtien International Airport.

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The City of Saint-Marc in Haiti

Saint Marc, Haiti

Saint-Marc Arrondissement, Sen Mak in Creole, is a city-ship in the Artibonite Department of Haiti, along with La Chapelle and Verrettes. The capital city of Saint-Marc lies on the coast of Haiti with port accessibility to Haitian cities in the region.

Saint-Marc is a tableland ringed by mountain ranges. Of the many beaches grazing the coastline of Saint-Marc, Amani-y Beach remains the most-visited. Besides its rich marine life, many exploration areas exist, which make for good scuba diving.

Saint-Marc residents are so noted for their warmth and hospitality; their voices frequently sound as if they are yelling and angry. This love of life translates into a passion for everything, especially music. If they are voodoo believers, you will most likely find them listening to Haitian folk songs. Otherwise, they prefer Troubadou, or American pop music.

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The Haitian town of Cerca Cavajal

Cerca Cavajal, Haiti

Cerca Cavajal is a city-ship in the Hinche Arrondissement, part of Centre Division in Haiti. A small town located in the hinterlands, it has 40,000 residents. Cerca Cavajal's remoteness is magnified by difficult terrain a traveler must navigate to get there. A trek across a limestone path on the embankment of a barren valley is necessary to reach it. Streams along the way contaminated with debris, are the only source of drinking water for people and work animals. Cholera bacteria lurks in the water, and the absence of cholera anti-prevention kits perpetuates high rates of infection.

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Haitian Town Cerca la Source working toward Modernization

Cerca la Source, Haiti

Cerca la Source, known as Sèka Lasous in Creole, is a city-ship part of Cerca la Source Arrondissement. A small city of 40,270 residents, it is located close to the Dominican Republic border.

Cerca la Source, founded in 1898, is a strong Catholic community. But it still practices animal ritual sacrifice for holiday celebrations. The religious life of the community revolves around St. Francis of Assisi Church, with religious feasts and holidays, retreats, conferences, and education seminars taking place at the church.

The government of Haiti has given little attention to Cerca la Source, leaving the task of developing the city to non-government organizations. With city government allocations, NGOs have built and installed solar street lights, put a cell phone tower up in town, and made road improvements.

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The Haitian Town Of Desdunes

Desdunes is a small town that is part of Haiti's Artibonite department. It is a home for about 27,000 people. It was originally called Ti Desdunes and it is 54 miles from Port-au-Prince while 12 miles away from Gonaives. Moreover, the distance between the northwestern part of the town and the Caribbean Sea is some 10 miles. As a matter of fact, people can already see and witness the beauty of the Caribbean Sea when they are in Desdunes.

Because the town of Desdunes is so small, the supply of clean water and basic medical services are not enough for the residents. Given this, various organizations are working to provide the necessary assistance to the townspeople. The Operation Blessing International's local arm called Operation Blessing Haiti Relief is just one of the groups helping Desdunes. The organization reached out to Desdunes residents last year, when they launched a clean drinking water and medical program. Under the program, residents received free supply of clean water, as well as medical assistance in a span of 10 days.

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The Small Town Of Ennery

Haiti's Artibonite Department would not be complete without the town of Ennery. Located on the northwestern side of the country, Ennery is one of the municipalities comprising the Gonaives Arrondissement. It covers 217 square kilometers of land and houses some 46,590 residents. Also known as Ville de l'anse, the town of Ennery consists of several areas such as Pascal, Hamel, Boutique and Durand. It also has four communes namely Puilboreau, Chemin Neuf, Savannah Square and Queen Pass.

It might be difficult for some to get to Ennery because the town is hilly, meaning one has to hike in order to reach it. Air travel, however, is not that inaccessible because the town is not that far from Cap Haitien Interntional Airport, Toussaint Louverture Airport and Port-de-Paix Airport.

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Challenges That Gonaives Arrondissement Faces

Gonaives Arrondissement is a crucial part of Haiti's Artibonite Department. It has faced a lot of challenges over the years but it remained strong. Around 264,000 people live in this municipality, which is also the capital of the entire Arrondissement.

Located on the northern part of the country and 110 kilometers from the national capital of Port-au-Prince, Gonaives is an agricultural municipality. Cotton, sugar, coffee, mango, banana and cabinet wood are among its most common produce. It is a great municipality but it has gone through a lot.

Hurricanes and floods are common in Gonaives as it is situated in a valley with many hills and mountains surrounding it. Not only that, it is also adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. Different natural disasters have already wreaked havoc in the town. In September, a tropical storm named Jeanne hit Gonaives, killing over 2,500 people. The storm triggered floods and mudslides that affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

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The Town Of Gros-Morne

Gros-Morne is not just a town in Haiti's Gros-Morne Arrondissement. It is the entire arrondisement's capital and it is part of the country's Artibonite Department. It spans 397 square kilometers and is located 175 kilometers from the north of the national capital of Port-au-Prince. There are some 350 residents in every square kilometer, bringing the total population to 142,000. Several communes comprise the municipality and among these are Hanged, Acul, Richard Boucan, Ravine Gros-Morne, Mill, White River and Savannah Square.

Gros-Morne offers a beautiful view and atmosphere, thanks to its green mountains and geographical zone. People can clearly see the mountains covered in fog, which makes the view more exciting and fun.

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The town of Dessalines or as Marchan Dessalines

Dessalines, which is located in the Arrondissement of Dessalines in Haiti's Artibonite department, is known as the world's First Black Capital. It spans 259 square kilometers and is 16 miles from the Caribbean Sea and 51 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince. Around 13,000 people live in Dessalines, with some 280 people residing in every one square kilometer.

Dessalines is also called as Marchan Dessalines. It is named after a revolutionary leader named Jean Jacques Dessalines, who was the first person to lead Haiti after gaining its independence. Jean Dessalines loved the town so much as it became the capital of the First Black Free Country, which was established in 1804. He was a key figure in giving freedom to the black race by opposing slavery and colonialism.

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Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite and Its Significance

It may be a small town but Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite has a great significance to Haiti. Why? Because this is where the battle for Haiti's independence was fought. Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite is one of the four communes in Artibonite Arrondissement, the other three being the Dessalines, Grande Saline and Desdunes.

Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite is located near the east of Saint Marc. In 1802, Jean Jacques Dessalines led the forces of black people in a revolution against the French and defended the port of Crete-a-Pierrot in this town. The French colonial army under the leadership of General Charles Leclerc tried to take over the fort but Dessalines' forces held on and defended it. When the Haitian revolutionaries ran out of food and ammunitions, they were forced to leave the fort and pass through the French defense en route to Cahos Mountains. The French side then managed to gain control over the fort but with heavy consequences as it lost a lot of its people. The fighting then led to a deciding battle, wherein the Haitian revolutionaries drove away the French forces who decided to retreat.

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