Sunday, November 21, 2010

Golden Nuggets IV

Golden Nuggets is a term I am borrowing from my friend Sini who is spending her senior year of high school in Indonesia as a foreign exchange student. She calls all the random facts she's gathered about the country she's now living in Golden Nuggets. In that vein, I am going to periodically share Golden Nuggets about Haiti. 

  • While every plot of land in the U.S. has a designated address, specific addresses don't really exist in Haiti. For example there is a main road leaving Petionville (kind of a wealthy suburb of Port au Prince) that goes up the mountain to another town called Kenscoff. That main road is called Rue de Kenscoff. It's a very winding road with turns every few hundred feet. In fact it feels like it's just a big series of S turns. Along Rue de Kenscoff there are areas, or neighborhoods you could say. The first area is called Pelerin. Every street off Rue de Kenscoff in this area is called Pelerin followed by a number. Evens are on one side and odds are on the other. The Pelerin roads start at 1 and go up to 9 I think. After Pelerin comes Laboule. The numbers in Laboule appear to begin at 9 and go all the way to 25. After Laboule comes Thomassin, where I live. However, Thomassin is a big area. It goes all the way from 25 to 60. But the thing is, the roads are not even spaced. Just whenever there is another road leading off Rue de Kenscoff it has the next number. Anyway, every plot of land has the address of their street name and number. So my address is Thomassin 40, but the other 8-10 houses on our very short street also have that address. Willem and Beth live at Thomassin 48, which encompasses a very big area. There are numerous streets leading off of Thomassin 48 and there must be 50+ houses/businesses with the address of Thomassin 48! Occasionally the people living on a street will employ the use of gate numbers, but I don't see that very often. 
  • In addition to not having street addresses there is no postal system. Bank statements, utility bills, and the like are delivered by couriers hired by the businesses. Beth told me that if a courier doesn't know exactly where you live (you know, because the address is so specific), they just ask people on the street until they find your house.

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