Busy building work makes Port au Prince a damn sight better than Kinshasa

Port au Prince's magnificent Neg Mawon could be the image of building a powerful brand identity synonymous with re-building, rebirth and renewal

Port au Prince’s magnificent Neg Mawon

What were your first impressions of Port au Prince I asked a young man newly arrived in Haiti to ply his trade.

“That there’s a lot of building work underway,” he replied. (He was right, of course, but that’s another story.)

I thought the answer was apt, if probably strange to many ears, especially those who compiled the 2014 Mercer Quality of Life index. After a study of more than 200 cities, they ranked Port au Prince, Baghdad and Bangui as the very worst places in the world to which to move. But the young new arrival mentioned nothing of the trials and tribulations of relocating to Haiti. His circumstances made him accommodating. An engineer from India, a country of 1.25 billion people, many of them university graduates, he made a living in fairly difficult parts of the world. Kinshasa was his most recent posting.

Is it about perspective, not place? An expat friend who’s lived and run a thriving business in Haiti for 25 years says “recruitment strategies should only encompass people for whom Haiti is a step up.”

Or comparable. That could only be Baghdad and Bangui according to the new index.

Or Kinshasa, if you go by the newly arrived young Indian’s apparent nonchalance about life in Port au Prince.

Jack Kerouac

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac