One thing people can never understand about Haiti is how the cost of living is actually higher in some ways that the US. One example of this is groceries.
My friends Cornelius and Minday Broersma have written an excellent post about this, with price comparisons on identical items.
For my birthday last year, I asked for the expensive groceries that I never get to buy: $10 cereal, fancy American grated Parmesan, and frozen berries (more than $10 a bag).
Please go read the Broersma's blog for many more examples, and a look at their Haiti life.
When I was first coming to Haiti, I was emailing with a teacher who had recently left Quisqueya. She was generous enough to give me her budget, and I was completely floored by the line item for groceries. I thought, "Ben and I don't even spend that much TOGETHER, in AMERICA!"
She told me I'd see, and that things were really expensive, and that sometimes you're willing to trade money for a little home comfort.
I remained skeptical, and more than a little judgmental.
I was flat wrong.
Now, there are ways in which life is cheaper here. We don't spend money on shopping, movie theaters, gasoline, or lunch at work.
But groceries ain't cheap.
PS Hey, we leave for our third annual trip to Washington, DC tomorrow! Eleven kids plus me and Ben, stomping through Washington with museums in our sights. Woo hoo!