Despite struggles and setbacks, an easygoing island puts family first

Haiti became the first modern country in the world to be independently governed by black citizens after a slave revolt achieved independence from France in 1804. To celebrate their Independence Day, January 1, Haitians gather for a traditional meal of pumpkin soup.

After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, an estimated 300,000 people died and one fifth of the country’s population was left homeless. Political and public health challenges have limited the rate of recovery, but reconstruction continues.

Haiti’s sandy beaches and crystal waters offset its rough mountainous landscape. The country generates income from agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism. Visitors enjoy Port-au-Prince art markets, palm-waving beaches and historic sites like the Citadelle Laferrière.

Rural farmers and urban workers approach life with an easygoing perspective and dedication to family. Younger generations show respect for their elders. Families attach tremendous prestige to education, although the quality of Haitian schools varies greatly.

Your participation with Missions Door supports evangelism, leadership training, children’s ministry and water projects in Haiti.

Cultural Snapshot

Haitians paint school buses and pickup trucks — called camionettes or tap taps — with colorful designs, often fondly giving the vehicles personal names.

Faith Fact

Roughly half the population of Haiti practices voodoo that blends Catholic, African and Taíno traditions.

Country Profile

Population: 10 million, 34% ages 0–14

Major Religions: 80% Catholic, 16% Protestant

Languages: French (preferred for commerce), Creole

Literacy: 60%

Poverty: 60%

People living with HIV/AIDS: 150,000