Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Citadelle et Sans Souci

Before we share about our trip, let's clear the air...

Dear Ugly Commenter,

I guess we need to say that our blog's subtitle "A Haitian Vacation" was meant to be ironic. I mean, we thought it was pretty obvious to anyone who's been reading that this time in Haiti has been slightly less than glamorous- amazing, transformational, meaningful, yes, but not exactly luxurious. Upon further reflection, we feel that the subtitle may now be insensitive in light of the tragedy, so it's removed.

Secondly, you called us "classic vacationaries" with "hollow motives" because we chaperoned the senior trip to north Haiti. Ouch. We were asked by our boss to chaperone this trip, and it was a delightful last-minute assignment. As chaperones, our trip cost was provided by the school. Pretty sweet deal for the chance to invest in 8 seniors who just lived through an earthquake and had their entire lives turned upside-down, since, after all, our students are our primary ministry focus.

Whew. On to happier topics....

The first day of the senior trip we visited the famous Citadelle near Cap Haitien. The Citadelle was built by the first free leader of north Haiti, Emperor Christophe, after the slave uprising that overthrew the French colony to make Haiti the first free black republic. The Citadelle is a giant fort meant to help protect against an attack by Napoleon in case he ever came back.
B does not like small planes. At. all.
Sans Souci Palace is near the base of the mountain that leads up to the Citadelle. It was Emperor Christophe's home, and it was destroyed, ironically, by an earthquake in the 1800's. Now it is a ruin, but it is said to have rivaled Versailles in its prime.
Sans Souci
Emperor Christophe
Beautiful little church. They were having a Catholic service inside when we arrived.
I'd love to know what this says.
The drive up to the Citadelle revealed rural poverty.
We rode horses up the long trail to the Citadelle. Fabrice loved the ride.
The Citadelle! Every stone and cannonball was hand-carried up this hill. It took over 15 years to complete and 20,000 men died during its construction.
Mildew is pretty.
Ben explaining cannon mobility.
Historynerd Heaven
Students afar. The Citadelle is huge.
Peeking over the ledge. It was many stories tall, and you walk on the top with no rails!
Cannonballs just stacked and in the open. I know a couple of people here who have cannonballs from the Citadelle.
Our talented resident photographer, Josine
Insert joke here.
Little house on the way down.
"Give me one money," he yelled as we passed.
Laundry day
Sans Souci from the back

We have a few more photos from Sans Souci to come tomorrow, including some surviving sculpture, "the Hanging Tree", and the original 19th century toilet. This whole site is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it rivals Stonehenge and Chichen Itza in my opinion. It's incredible, and I'm so grateful we got to visit.



  1. Bienvenue a tous = welcome to all.

    Glad it was fun!

  2. Ignore the commenter...those who have never actually lived outside their home bubbles never see the lonliness, the frustration of trying to learn a new culture and language, and a billion other things. After all, "real" missionaries live in mud huts and should be delighted with that bag of leftover bits from bars of soap that I sent them!
    Investing in the lives of those 8 teenagers is the single most important thing you could have done last week, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    I leave in 6 weeks to go back to teaching in a Christian school in Africa...reading your blog has been tremendously inspiring these last few weeks!

  3. LOVED all the pictures! I know it was probably uncomfortable with the heat and the horse riding and all, but it looked amazing!

    So did the kids shout "Give me money" to all of you, or just the white ones of you? Just wondered.

    And as for the comment from a heckler (which I didn't see. did you remove it?). DON'T GIVE IT ANOTHER THOUGHT! Good grief, anyone who is really reading your blog or who really cares will know the truth. And Truth will stand on it's own!

    God is doing wonderful things through you because of your obedience and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Keep up the great work!

    And we'll see you in a few weeks! :) :) :)


  4. The pictures were excellent. And what a great opportunity to invest more into the lives of these young people.

    And ignore the idiot commenter. Some people just get their panties in a wad about the most ridiculous things.

  5. Wow, that looks amazing! You mentioned this rivals Chichen Itza and Stonehenge. I've been to both of those and IMO the Citadelle looks a lot more interesting and intriguing - so stunning too. Thanks for sharing all those pictures.

    I didn't see the drive-by troll's comment, but smart move on removing the post. I used to be a moderator of a public forum and dealt with those types of issues from time to time. Ugh.

    Glad you all had a good time and made it back okay! :-)



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