Friday, July 2, 2010

Grocery Shopping in Haiti!

I push open the car door and then wish I hadn’t. A heat wave hits me and for a second I close the door again. Not that the air conditioning in the pathfinder is doing such a great job, but compared to outside the car is much more bearable. Jason has already hopped out, so having no choice I get out too. Wow, summer in Haiti, it sure is hot! I reach behind me to unlock Jayden’s door and then pop it open. He’s fast asleep. What to do? With the car turned off it’s much too hot to stay with him in it, and since Eagle, the grocery store we are at, normally has air conditioning I decide to just carry him inside.

Jason meanwhile has already started walking down the aisles to check prices and pick out the few things we need so I trail after him, carrying my sleeping baby.

As I walk I am very aware of the grins everyone is giving us. Jayden really isn’t a baby anymore and since I’m pretty small myself, it looks and feels more like I’m holding an overgrown calf in my arms. At least I’m not sweating now, because the air conditioning is working today! I am so happy! It’s worth going to the store just to cool down, I decide. “Why don’t you go get a shopping cart for him?” Jason says, watching me struggle with my calf. “But he’s my little baby,” I protest laughing! “Okay, I guess he is getting heavy,” so still giggling I make my way back outside. By the shopping carts I spot one with a baby seat, and snag it! There, that one is perfect. I lay the over sized calf into the baby seat, and grin. He doesn’t even stir, and keeps right on sleeping. If we received stares before we receive even more now as I happily push him up and down the aisles.

Since our main goal today is checking prices for our cost of living, and we only need to buy a handful of things I let Jason do all the work and just wander around. Grocery stores can tell you a lot about a country I decide, as I take a snapshot of the massive display of pest control sprays and poisons!

Here you can buy every type of spray, trap, swatter, vaporizer mat, and poison possible. There’s lots of sprays and contraptions for cockroaches of course, but also for ants, spiders, rats, mice, and mosquitoes. You name it, they have it! Hmm.. I wonder what that says about Haiti?

I walk on and go to my second favorite section! The very, ahem, exotic meats! This one is really something I want to try!

Goat head, apparently quite delicious!

And I believe this is goat intestine, also very wonderful,

And while we are at it, why don’t we just eat the goat hoof as well!

I walk on to the seafood department and see some delicious looking caterpillar things!

Hmm, two boxes of those please sir!

I then walk on to the bread section.

Although, I have to admit, the bread dries out, or gets moldy within a day or two, at least we can buy it here!

I walk on to the till where Jason is paying and am glad that Jayden is sleeping.

Much to my annoyance, the bucket of lollipops is placed exactly at eye level for Jayden and whenever we pay he insists, (that’s putting it mildly) that he NEEDS a lollipop. A younger Chinese man that works at the store has since then decided that we must be horrible parents for not buying our wonderful little boy the lollipop that he so desperately needs, so to make matters worse HE buys the lollipop for Jayden! And what is going to happen if that man is not working the day we shop? I wonder. Now as Jason collects our bag of groceries, the Chinese man comes walking towards us. When he spots the sleeping Jayden he laughs. “No lollipop for you today!” he says grinning. I just shake my head as an oblivious Jayden continues to sleep. We say goodbye to the man and then put Jayden and the groceries into the car. Jason then starts the car and turns the air conditioning on for us as well. As we drive past the armed guard and hit the main road, I see a different kind of grocery store. Heaps of garbage, obscure the entrance of the market and even with the windows closed the smell of rotting vegetables, mud and manure hits me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the markets, but I sure am thankful we have a real grocery store we can shop at as well!


  1. Is this the grocery store that collapsed and is now rebuilt? Or is this an entirely different one?

    Henny Penny

  2. Hi Henny Penny. The grocery store that collapsed is still a big pile of rubble. This is a different one.

  3. Those candies that are eye level to Jaydens eyes reminds me of when Jason was little and the battles I would have with him, so if he didn't have the give me's he was allowed to pick a bearstien bear book,that really seemed to work.I even asked the cashier to remove them or I wouldn't shop there again. Tell Jayden that grampa will send some lollipops.

  4. Beware, you're going to have a psychobiologist living with you the next few weeks... and the only thing I think when I see that goat's head is: "Will the brain be still in there? I'd love to have a look at it." I've looked at the human, rat, mouse and shark brain, but never examined a goat brain, so...
    But don't worry, I won't do it, promise. ;-)

  5. This is fun for me to see - thanks for the pics! -Liz Schandorff

  6. I loved this post. I love how their exotic meat and catipillars are neatly packaged. :) Love to read your blog!

  7. Cornelia Van de BruinhorstJuly 9, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    The Grocery store looks a lot like our grocery stores here in Canada. Is the labels from the things you buy in English of not?
    How old is your little boy now ?
    I luv reading your blog very intresting.

  8. Oh how i have missed Eagle market in all it's glory! Those goat heads are just so tempting...

  9. does anyone know where to buy chadeque jam or preserves in the US

  10. Hello, not sure if your blog is still running. I am leaving for a 10 day trip to Haiti with a team from the US. We would like to be able to purchase some healthy snacks for the children of Haiti that we will be working around in Tent City. We thought of paying to take an extra suitcase and loading it up, but if we can purchase these items fairly inexpensively in Port-au-Prince where we will be staying then we would prefer to do that. Can you advise? Also, do the local grocery stores take foreign debit cards or would US cash work? Thank you.

  11. Groceries are havens that answer our basic needs for sustenance. A trip to the grocery may be stressful at times especially if you are on a budget,
    but just imagine how life in the pre-grocery era required buying.
    grocery convenience