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Developing Economies

Lonely And Rich: American Life As Seen By A Haitian Visitor

"It' s so amazing how people can be so lonely in the U.S." Sebastien Narcisse hide caption

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Sebastien Narcisse

We've spent a lot of time reporting in Haiti this year. Sebastien Narcisse has been our driver, translator, photographer, and friend during our visits.

Sebastien recently completed his first trip to the U.S., and we figured it's only fair to give him a chance to report on life in the U.S. from a Haitian perspective.

I expected most of his observations to be about the vast differences in wealth between the U.S. and Haiti. But that's not what was at the top of his mind.  —Adam Davidson

It's so amazing how people can be so lonely in the U.S. You can be living in a neighborhood without seeing the neighbors at all. Your closest friend or family  could be several miles away.

It's also amazing how automated things are: ATM  bank machines, highway toll stations without cashier, gas stations without pumpist, or a car wash station without car washers.

Some people go out so underdressed! Guys wearing sandals and shorts to go to work, eating and drinking while waiting for a bus or while walking along the sidewalks.

Some people are full of debt, taking loans to pay other past credits. They might have a nice fancy car (Mercedes or Jaguar) but live in a few-meter-square apartment.

Walking through New York City, I felt freshness, challenge, knowledge, technology, improvements,cultural exchange, power, greatness, happiness and above all prosperity. I wonder how was it before the economy weakened?

In Los Angeles, I appreciate the fact that people don't need to know each other to start whatever conversation that comes in mind. I like that social exchange, between two strangers. It happened to me three times already.

One other thing I discovered is that the USA is so big that you might see someone somewhere, you have less than a one percent change to see him or her again. I understand why so many casual sex have been registered.

In America, there is no difference between daytime and nighttime; it's busy all the time. People can be living in the same house, but not see each other, because their schedule is different. They don't have enough time to catch up, no time for cooking. It's where the fast-food business comes from.

I definitely fell in love with America. I didn't have the chance to visit any other country yet, but I don't think there is any place like the USA.  If you have the chance to live or study there, America will transform you to your optimum capacity.