For years, the travel pattern of the Haitian diaspora was one of the few things that could be counted on despite unrest. Some people returned around February for carnival, others traveled with families during summer vacation and more still chose December to go see lakay for the holidays. And, of course, at any point during the year, family functions and emergencies might draw Haiti’s children home.
But that was way before. Before the devastating earthquake in August, before the assassination of the country’s president in July, before Covid-19 variants began spreading, before the gang activity and widespread killings became a fixture of daily life, before kidnapping-for-ransom schemes became the norm and even before peyi lok. Now, with numerous crises weighing heavily on Haitians at home and abroad, the travel pattern no longer seems to be a predictable part of life for some Haitian-Americans.
Travel to Haiti dropped precipitously from 2018 to 2019, the latest year data is available, according to the World Bank. In 2018, Haiti had 1.3 million visitors, the highest number ever recorded since data collection began in 1995. By the end of 2019, however, the number had fallen by nearly 400,000 to 938,000.
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