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Wanament / Wanamèt
Official seal of Ouanaminthe
Ouanaminthe is located in Haiti
Location in Haiti
Coordinates: 19°33′0″N 71°44′0″W / 19.55000°N 71.73333°W / 19.55000; -71.73333Coordinates: 19°33′0″N 71°44′0″W / 19.55000°N 71.73333°W / 19.55000; -71.73333
Country Flag of Haiti.svg Haiti
Department Nord-Est
Arrondissement Ouanaminthe

Ouanaminthe (Haitian Creole: Wanament or Wanamèt; Spanish: Juana Méndez) is a commune located in the Nord-Est Department of Haiti. It contains about 100,000 people including immediate areas. The Massacre River is located between Ouanaminthe and Dajabón in the Dominican Republic. The border crossing to Dajabón is one of the four chief land crossings to the Dominican Republic. Ouanaminthe has several elementary schools including "St-Francois Xavier","St-Francois d'Assise","CFCP", "Sur le Rocher" and "L'institution de l'Univers" congreganist schools. Also, there are over 10 secondary schools, including a Lycée, a public school, and a Law school (public university). Haitians living in Ouanaminthe are allowed to cross the border to Dajabón only two days per week, mainly for the market on Mondays and Fridays at Dajabón. Therefore, the Haitians are permitted to temporarily cross the bridge to sell their goods which mainly consist of the supplies donated to them by various organizations. In 2010, the new bridge and the new market store, funded by the European Union was opened.

Ouanaminthe has many small schools. The majority of them belong to churches. The Lycée Capois La Mort was located in the "Arobouk nan gran ri a" now move to "Sans". Most of the school are elementary. When students reach 7th grade, many move to a bigger city or to another school. Haiti's educational system is constituted of four parts.
1) Kindergarten
2) "Primaire" Primary school(equivalence U.S.'s 1st through 6th grade in the US)
3) "Secondaire" Secondary School (equivalence of U.S.'s 7th through 11th grade plus Rheto and Philo)
4) "Université" University

Currently there are five new primary schools under construction, funded by Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy) under the patronage of Jesuit Refugee Service as well as Solidaridad Fronteriza.

The local language is Kryol, although many Hatians learn French in school.

Local travel is by scooter or motorcycle. With the exception of the main streets, road surfaces are dirt, with numerous pot holes. Driving is not done on the right or left, but by weaving around potholes. The most important part of a Hatian motorcycle is the horn, which is used frequently. Cars are very rare in Ouaminthe, and there is no indication of a taxi service. There is an intra city bus station in town.

TOURISM From a tourism perspective, Ouanaminthe doesn’t have very much to recommend it. There are hotels in town, but there is very little information available about them. As of the forth quarter of 2015, there have been several multi-day strikes that close the border to any traffic (see ECONOMY below).

Tourism information is difficult to come by. Since Haiti has relatively little internet access, there isn't much information about Ouanaminthe on search engines. For example, if you use a search engine and look for hotels, listings will be shown for Dajabon DR hotels. Maps and Satellite images are also problematic. Google Earth satellite pictures are five years out of date. Open Street Maps[1] shows the most detail in the Humanitarian and Standard layers, including hotels, water points and washrooms. For iPhone users, MotionX-GPS is a low cost app that can store these maps for offline use, thus avoiding mobile data charges. If you do find a local website that uses Google maps, the location shown may not be exact, so you should write down the street address or intersection, as well as the GPS coordinates.

MEDICAL Although both Ouanaminthe and Dajabon have 'hospitals', there is no indication of accreditation or hours. Unconfirmed reports are that sterilizing medical instruments is optional in this part of the world. IAMAT, Canadian and U.S. embassy lists of medical facilities have no entries within two hours drive of Ouanaminthe. Even then, vehicle travel at night may be more dangerous than local medical treatment. Local airports have short runways with no ILS instruments, making air ambulance evacuation impossible in marginal weather or at night. Border hours may delay land based evacuation to DR hospitals and airports. There is no '911' service, and no ambulance service exists in Haiti. The fire department runs an ambulance service in Dajabon. There are ongoing concerns about malaria and cholera.[2]

Because Ouanaminthe is very densely packed, water wells and latrines or septic pits are very close together. This situation leads to contaminated water. At a local hotel, a towel was left under a dripping tap, and the next morning, the towel was stained brown. Tap water is only useful for flushing the toilet, and washing very dirty laundry. If you wash your hands before eating, you should still use hand sanitizer.

COMMUNICATIONS As a general rule of travel, the least cost method of wireless communications is to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive. There are two mobile phone companies providing services in Haiti, Digicel or Natcom.

Digicel[3] is a multi-national company in the Caribbean and Pacific, so if you are doing multi country travel, this may be the better approach. Unfortunately, they have no presence next door in the Dominican Republic. Digicel's local office is on the main street, east of the park at Place Notre Dame.

Natcom [4] is based in Haiti, and reputed[5] to be less expensive. Prepaid voice calls seem to average 4.5 HTG (about US$0.09) per minute for local calls plus another 4.5 HTG for long distance calls to the U.S., Canada and the DR. There are various complicated savings schemes available. Prepaid data is available for 24 hours at a time. 10 MB of data costs 4.5 HTG, while 90 MB costs 9 HTG (US$0.18). You can purchase a SIM at their local office, just off the main street, at 10 Rue Espagnol Prolongee (19o 32.8963' N 071o 44.0650' W)

ECONOMY Ouanaminthe was not affected by the 2010 earthquake, so it does not receive much of the international aid that Port-Au-Prince receives. However, Canada has recently paid $4.2 million for the renovation of the police station.[6]

The town's primary economic activity is trade with neighboring Dajabon (pronounced “Da / ha/ bo”). However, relations with the Dominican Republic are turbulent, due to a number of trade irritants.

•The Dominican Republic has recently deported approximately 4500 Haitian's who were living illegally in the DR. So far this year, the DR has caught 80,000 Haitian's[7] trying to enter illegally.

•Haiti banned the import by truck of 23 objects, including drinking water and noodles.[8] This caused a strike [9] that closed the border. Requiring these items to be imported via ship will raise the prices that ordinary Haitian's have to pay for some necessities of life.

•Dominican truckers struck in response to the violence and property damage[10] that occurs when driving in Haiti. This strike closed the border and Haiti's manufacturing sector due to the lack of raw materials.

HAITI BACKGROUND: Ouanaminthe is impacted by the general situation in Haiti.

•98% deforestation [11] and multiple earth tremors per month cause flash floods and mud slides resulting in deaths during the rainy season.

•11% annual consumer price index inflation,[12] at the same time that Canada and the US inflation rates are under 2%.

•Lack of political consensus, resulted in 54 candidates for President in the Oct. 27 elections. With under 30% of eligible voters casting votes, there obviously isn't a lot of faith in the electoral process either. The Miami Herald ran an article discussing various theories about the corruption in the election.[13] And as a further complication, some of the political parties have religious affiliations.

•Election violence [14] is almost a requirement. After donating five million euros to the election process, 'Vincent Degert the new Ambassador of the European Union (EU) asked about his possible concerns about next Sunday's elections, responded "If you present me someone who has no fear for Sunday, I'll be happy to meet him."'[15]

•“Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas[16] and one of the poorest in the world <split> more than 6 million out of 10.4 million (59%) Haitians live under the national poverty line of US$2.42 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day”. According to one charity,[17] the average wage in Haiti is US$1.33 per day.

•Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for 2014[18] ranked Haiti the most corrupt country in the Caribbean region, ranking 161th out of 177 countries. “There are persistent allegations that some Haitian officials use their public office position to influence commercial dispute outcomes for personal gain.”[19]

•HIV infection rates are the highest in the western world, and only surpassed by parts of Africa.[20]

Multiple western governments have travel advisories for Haiti. In November 2015, the Canadian advisory said “Exercise a high degree of caution. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Haiti. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates in various parts of the country and ongoing political tension”.[21] They add that travel by local bus or taxi services should be avoided.

Notable natives and residents[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.openstreetmap.org/node/1941767255#map=17/19.55721/-71.72448&layers=HN
  2. ^ http://www.travmed.com/pages/haiti
  3. ^ http://www.digicelhaiti.com/en/
  4. ^ http://www.natcom.com.ht/
  5. ^ http://ryanalberts.com/494/natcom-haiti-phone-setup/
  6. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-3586-haiti-security-a-new-police-station-for-ouanaminthe.html
  7. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15633-haiti-security-more-than-80-000-undocumented-haitians-have-been-arrested.html
  8. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15156-haiti-notice-import-ban-by-road-of-certain-products-from-dr.html
  9. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15497-haiti-flash-resumption-of-commercial-activities-in-dajabon.html
  10. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-14686-haiti-flash-dr-will-stop-supplying-haiti-in-3-days.html
  11. ^ http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=2640
  12. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15513-haiti-economy-inflation-surpassed-the-11.html
  13. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article41860518.html
  14. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15567-haiti-flash-delay-fraud-moderate-violence-many-arrests-haitielections.html
  15. ^ http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-15536-haiti-elections-optimism-very-reserved-for-the-european-ambassador.html
  16. ^ http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/haiti/overview
  17. ^ http://loveandgrace4haiti.org/about-us/our-team/
  18. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/haiti/corruption.htm
  19. ^ http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
  20. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/globalaids/Global-HIV-AIDS-at-CDC/countries/Haiti/default.html
  21. ^ http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/haiti

External links[edit]