Jimmy Moise & Le P’ti Club

Before Jimmy Moise moved from Haiti to Florida twelve years ago, he was a senior air traffic controller with the National Office of Civil Aviation. Now, he works as an interpreter and translator for compatriots who have yet to speak English. In addition, Jimmy is immersed in a project conceived with preserving Haitian culture in mind: Le P’ti Club. Through this brainchild, Jimmy promotes Haitian music and other art forms.  “We have to preserve our culture for future generations,” he says. Read the InnerVIEW.

Jimmy Moise Photos




Love: There’s No App For That!

“Woy! Ou gen kisa?  Ou gen yon ti mennaj? Kote fout matinèz la? M ap fout fè w rete trankil, tande! A la traka!”— Madame Entèl

Many in the Dyaspora left Haiti at too young an age to have celebrated Valentine’s Day properly. At fourteen, sixteen, or even eighteen, parents did not allow their daughters to entertain certain. . .thoughts.  There was no such thing as dating—certainly not the kind that goes on now.   If you knew what was good for you, you did not utter the word boyfriend or girlfriend—unless you were certain your secret would be safe. If you were caught talking to a member of the opposite sex who was not a relative, there would be mountains of explaining to do. And still, love thrived.

Elizabeth LaFrance said: “February 14th was a day for lovers to show their true colors: If you were involved in a romantic relationship (and you were happy about it), you wore something pink. If you were very happy, you wore red. If you were not taken but hoped to be, you wore the color green. If a boyfriend or girlfriend put your heart in a slingshot, you wore yellow. Yellow is for betrayal. Trayizon.” 

A widower might wear a black or a white paper rose in his lapel. Depending on the situation, a widow wore a garland of red roses in her hair (and draped left-over flowers along the front porch).

Martine Vassor put it this way: “It didn’t matter how much money someone had. People celebrated love. Of course, we did. We do. Those who could buy breathtaking bouquets and chocolate for their betrothed flooded the stores. Others ‘borrowed’ blooms from nearby fields. Lovers ran far and fast to find one another.”

One Chance. One Dance.

Love can make you run—in one direction or another.

Love can make you run.

Love can stop you from downloading that book, and make you run to a bookstore to hear your favorite author read. You’ll run to the music place for that new song, too. Wait, do they still have music stores? Okay. . . Love can light a fire under your feet, and take you to that kitchen for that one special dish. Love can put you inside that airplane and take you home. This time to stay. You don’t know love until you know Ayiti.

And there’s no App for that.

The original prenuptial agreements were carved on tree bark with two names inside carefully drawn hearts; arrows shot through those hearts, warning potential happiness-wreckers to watch their bones. Wi, malfezan, veye zo w!

She/He’s mine. Mine. Mine. Mine . . . Folk used that word then, and no one got offended. That’s just how it was. He/She’s mine. Mine. Mine. . . even before the preacher said: What God has joined together let no man put asunder.

Love: It’s 2012 and there is still no App for it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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What’s on Jany Tonba’s Bookshelf

InnerView with Maryse Noël Roumain

«J’écris pour dire, j’écris pour me souvenir. »  – Maryse Roumain

« Nous sommes capables de démocratiser et de moderniser notre système économique et politique. »

“I write to tell. I write to remember,” writes Maryse Noël Roumain. She is a prolific writer, a psychologist, an activist, a wife, a mother, a grandmother—not necessarily in that order.

This VoicesfromHaïti InnerView with Maryse gives us a glimpse into the life of an exceptional and deeply spiritual Haitian woman.

Read Maryse Roumain’s  InnerView in English