A tap-tap, loaded with items to sell on market day in Lacroix, outside Jacmel, in January. Photo by Garlyn Casimir

I have enjoyed the haphazard community created in the back of a tap-tap. Despite bumps of a mountainous road, babies fell asleep in my arms while I held them for a watchful mother. Teens, who wanted to practice English, chatted with me. And toddlers looked at me with fearful eyes, not wanting to sit next to my white skin. But by the time the ride ended, they were convinced I wouldn’t eat them while playing “peek-a-boo.” 

I’m an international policy reporter for The Haitian Times, living in the U.S. I’m well aware of changes in Haiti during the last few years — I watch U.N. Security Council meetings, sift through economic projections and write articles detailing U.S. sanctions on Haitian leaders. 


Memories of a tap-tap ride fuel the author’s appreciation for the strength of the Haitian community that, despite present difficulties, suggest Haiti will endure.

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.