Benjamin Hebblethwaite

Hebblethwaite is a University of Florida assistant professor in Haitian Creole and Haitian studies.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Hebblethwaite a grant for an "Archive of Haitian Culture and Religion: Collaborative Research and Scholarship of Haiti and Haitian Diaspora". Hebblethwaite recently traveled to Haiti as a part of the grant to document voodoo.

Hebblethwaite: "I'm very happy and lucky to get the chance to know the real Haiti."

Hebblethwaite: "Haiti is a safe country but people have no idea."

Esther-Rose Safaite


Safaite is a 19-year-old University of Florida biology sophomore. She was born in Haiti but left in 2006 when she was 12.

What do you think about the American media''s coverage of Haiti before and after the earthquake?

Safaite: "Before the earthquake they were always negative you would never see any of the nice places in Haiti. In the media if they mention Haiti and they don't mention the poorest country in the western hemisphere they don't feel good."

Safaite: "And they always say that Haitians come here on boats."

Safaite: "I never see anything positive in the media for Haiti."

What did you notice about the media coverage of Haiti since the earthquake?

Safaite: "I haven't seen Haiti's presence much in the media since after the earthquake."

Safaite: "I was recently in Haiti. I was there for spring break."

Safaite: "I was at the airport their like redoing it and renovating."

Safaite: "The government is working on paving most of the roads."

Safaite: "Electricity is expanding to outside of the capital."

Safaite: "I didn't see any tents when I was driving on the roads when I had to travel to the city to the other side of Haiti. I was really glad about that."

What do you think the media could do to change the image they placed on Haiti?

Safaite: "The thing is they don't like to share the positive light so whenever there are positive things going on they won't mention it."

Safaite: "But when schools are being built, the government is building houses for people and the roads are being built they don't talk about that."

Naika Joachim


Naika Joachim is a 20-year-old University of Florida linguistics sophomore.

What personal experiences have you had with Haitian stereotypes?

Joachim: "My parents are Haitian my whole family is Haitian"

Joachim: "We were always referred to as boats even though I was born here and I was still called a boat"

What do you mean by boats?

Joachim: "Traveling to Haiti to America in a boat, so they referred to Haitians as just boats."

Joachim: "Kids at school were always saying that Haitians eat cats. There was always a negative stereotype in school"

Joachim: "But then its like in high school all of a sudden it became cool cause that's when the Haitians started becoming more and more self-stable and with rappers like Wyclef and the rapper that sings I'm a Zoe."

What did you think about the media's reaction after the earthquake?

Joachim: "After the earthquake I was like wow all these people are reaching out for my country that made me feel happy that people care for the little people."

Joachim: "They only want to express the sad story pull that emotional feel from people. Once they see that we're progressing and getting past the earthquake, I feel like the media feels like there is nothing to report on."

Joachim: "I feel like they think that Haiti is like living in a tent its still in ruins the earthquake happened years ago so were building back up."

Joachim: "We need to showcase that they're stronger than they were before."