Arts, Culture & Media

Geo answer

Today's Geo Quiz takes us to a seaside village in the Caribbean.

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It's on the western coast of the island of Hispaniola. The village is a bit west of Haiti's second largest city, Cap-Haïtien.

Cap-Haitien: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:DoronCap-Haitien: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Doron

Lots of tourists get close to this village. That's because the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line takes them to a beach resort nearby. That beach shares the name of the village.

So get out your maps of the Caribbean...old pirate maps won't do.

Try to pinpoint this fishing village in northern Haiti.

Our Geo Quiz sent us in search of a small fishing village in northern Haiti.

The answer is Labadie.

Reporter Ruxandra Guidi paid a visit and sent us this story:

:: Labadie is a lot like many small fishing villages in the Caribbean. When the sun comes up -- men go out to sea to catch fish, women cook and watch the children. What makes Labadie a little different is that it has no beach of its own. That's because its shoreline belongs to the Royal Caribbean cruise line.

Twice a week, an enormous cruise ship docks at Labadie Beach. Tourists are greeted by a sign that reads Welcome to the island of Hispaniola. Tourists visit the beautiful Labadie beaches but they rarely venture beyond to the nearby village. And they have very little idea what life is like here.

Leonisse Myrbel is a 65 year-old Labadie resident.

"In Labadie life depends on God's help and on your neighbors and friends, because without them you can't survive here. I'm too old to get a job, and my children haven't been lucky enough to get jobs at Royal Caribbean."

Even though some locals work for Royal Caribbean the village remains poor. But there's another way the village is a little different. People here got together to find outside funding to pay for the services they need. They've been extremely successful. They got help to create an organization called Vwa Ayiti. Their first project? A composting public toilet that turns waste into fertilizer. Docteur Veniel is Vwa Ayiti's project coordinator. He lives in Labadie.

"People used to go up in the woods to pass stool, so it was a very important thing for them to have a toilet here." (So what do you do when it's full?) "We have a composting thing so we will take what's inside and turn it into fertilizer. We've just begun."

Veniel takes me across a soccer field and past the river to the first toilet they built a couple of years ago. It's a simple room made of concrete, with a door, and a window.

The waste is collected in large wooden bins. When they're full, people carry them to a composting unit in the back of the village. Kino is a 26 year-old volunteer who helped build the village's four public toilets. He says the public toilets and the other services they've managed to provide have given people here a new sense of dignity and independence. And that's made people like him want to stay in Labadie.

"I don't want to leave Labadie for nowhere even if we have problems in town, nothing is going to happen in Labadie."

And not much does happen in Labadie except a large cruise passes the village by twice every week. But the residents here have a plan to develop their village on their own. They've secured funding for a water treatment system. And they've been asked to help other villages build their own composting toilets.

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