August 22, 2013– Just because Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries and is located in the sizzling hot Caribbean doesn't mean its people shouldn't be able to enjoy ice skating like the rest of the world! After almost a year of postponing "Haiti on Ice" will happen, but only if the ice doesn't melt!
Many Haitians have never seen ice larger than the size of an ice cube. On Tuesday night some people got a chance to play around on the indoor ice rink and had to take a few minutes to adjust to the new climate they were in! "In other cities, it's cold," said 21-year-old student Laila Bien-Aime. "In Haiti, it's very, very hot. These are two different worlds coming together."
A group of roller skaters got to test out the ice on Sunday and became naturals in only two days. "It's a glory for me to see myself skating," said 27-year-old Reginald Jean, the leader of the roller skating group. "We would like this activity to be long-term, to stay here."
The idea to create an ice rink in Haiti first came last year when Francois Yrius of Super Canal Prod, a Guadeloupe-based exhibition company who ended up organizing "Haiti on Ice," met Stephanie Villedrouin, Haiti's tourism minister, at a music festival. Villedrouin encouraged Yrius to create an ice show in Haiti no matter the cost or how much work it would take.
Since then the ice show had to be canceled more than 12 times. One reason was the flooding that Hurricane Sandy caused which placed the country in a state of emergency, another being when the FIFA president paid the country a visit in April and needed to use the stadium where the ice show was going to be held.
After so many delays the Haitian media had to laugh about it. Journalist Claude Bernard Serant made a joke about Haiti being a country "where the possible is impossible!"
But another big problem they faced was the fact that the ice kept melting! Yrius tried to hold it outdoors at first but eventually he and other organizers realized it was not possible. It costs $1,600 an hour to run the generator inside the building that keeps the ice solid, but if it doesn't break down then the show will go on this weekend!
Performers will include Russian, French, German, and British figure skaters and tickets will cost $4.50 for children. The best seats cost $50, an expensive price for most Haitian families who only make about $400 per year.
Yrius thinks that all the delays and struggles will be worth it. "People get to see something. They want to see something new," he said; and an ice skating show in Haiti will definitely get to experience that.