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Intercultural Similarities: Rwanda and Haiti

Week 2 Heading link

plate of food

Paolina Guerrier, MS Student

Following a similar vein as my previous blog post about my experience with Rwandan cuisine, I want to draw attention to the similarities that I have noticed between Rwandan culture and the culture of my ethnicity, Haitian.

Food-wise, there are a lot of ingredients that both cultures use: white rice, plantains (or green bananas in Rwanda), methods of cooking meat (chicken and beef are the major contenders, closely followed by pork, fish, and goat in this particular order). Although, with Haitian food, I see a much larger variety of rice, but I have yet to see the same for Rwandan dishes.

The first image to the right of this paragraph is my own image of a Goat stew with sweet plantains and Isombe (mashed cassava leaves).

The second image is from a Haitian food blog, and it’s a simple dish of beef, fried plantains, and pikliz (pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, Scotch bonnet peppers – very spicy).

plate of food

Both Haiti and Rwanda were previously occupied by French-speaking nations; thus, French is one of their official languages. Interestingly, both countries have their native languages: Haiti with Haitian Creole (a pidgin language with elements of French) and Rwanda with Kinyarwanda as the national and first language of nearly the entire country.

Many other similarities between the two countries are apparent, but they tend to be so fleeting that I don’t catch all of them. Geographically, both Haiti and Rwanda are lands with hills and the beauty of nature dominating the scenery. Respect towards elders and strangers is apparent in certain ways we greet each other formally, and the temperature is always between the 70s and 80s with near-constant sunshine (except Haiti gets the occasional earthquake and hurricane as it is an island).

Basically, I feel like I am right at home.


Paolina Guerrier is currently a second-year student of the Graduate-Entry Nursing Program, with a previous Bachelor’s in Psychology from DePaul University. Future plans include either becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner or Midwife (possibly both) and expanding care to women and children globally.

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