Tag Archives: Haiti

Happy Haitian Mother’s Day 2017!

Bonne Fête des Mères to all Haitian Moms at home and in the Diaspora!

Without you, we would not be. We love and honor you.  You are the backbone of the family; the beacon, the beam and the column, the foundation, the scaffolding—the potomitan, keeping the feeble structure called life from disintegrating around your children. You are our treasure.  We need you.

kdu photo

Christianne D.,  a very special Happy Mother’s Day to you today!

Wearing an emerald dress and turban the color of lilac, Christianne looks positively regal.  Her painted fingernails shine like rubies.  She glows.  A girl only turns 102 once.  Let the fun begin!

Christianne has to be one of the wisest persons on this planet, yet she is unassuming and humble. She gives advice, only if you ask for it.

For many years now I have asked her the secret to longevity. Her answer never varies. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn everything you can. Don’t talk too much. Live simply. Avoid negativity. Wise people don’t go around telling everybody how wise they are; fools do.  Don’t waste time.  Stand up for yourself. 

Christianne leads by example. She laughs a lot. Laughter is the only medicine without a long list of terrible side-effects. And it’s free. Try it.

Happy everything, young lady! You are a veritable treasure. Many happy returns!

 

 

Bois Caiman 2016 – by Jason Harris

Rara IronworkLong past nightfall, deep within the Massif du Nord, we still hear Dutty Boukman exhorting us towards a new day—as he did once before.  His prayer, our prayer, is old yet new, its words ever relevant to the task at hand: << Bon Dye ki kreye la tè a. Ki di solèy la klere. Bon Dye ki bay lanmè a tout dwa li merite. Ki pèmet loray gronde. Bon Dye ki gen zorèy pou li tande. Ou menm ki kache nan nwaj yo. Kap gade. Siveye. Fè yo sonje la verite: dènye sa ki te dèyè gen pou pran devan ! >> The last shall be first.

<<  Pa lage nou nan mitan tanpèt la . >>  Keep us safe from the storm. << Pwoteje nou anba maladi etranje yo pote pou nou. >> Spare us from diseases which strangers bring to us.  << Pa kite kolon yo pwoche peyi nou . >>  Keep the colonists away from our land.

<< Sezi lang tout moun k ap niche bòt rayisab yo . >>  Take the tongue from those who would lick the boots of our oppressors.  << Anseye san-konprann yo; di yo dlo pa kouri nan je Ayisyen pou  moun swaf ka plen vant yo . >>  Teach the strangers that our tears are not to satisfy their insatiable thirst.

<< Nou pa ka pataje lanmou pandan nou antere anba dekonb arivis. >>  We cannot share love, when we are buried under the rubble of their greed.  << Koute vwa libète k ap rele anmwey andedan kè nou. Doulè ki pa janm ka fin blese n; doulè ki pa janm ka fin kase kè n. Pran doulè sa yo pou nou . >>  Take away the pain that wounds our broken hearts.  Delivre nou, Bon Dye .>>

Birds flying togetherWe do not send up prayers blindly.  It seems that our simplest of prayers–to live with dignity as full members of the human village–has been reduced to absolutions mounted atop the wings of the obscene. Subsisting on the dark side of an island haunted by double consciousness, we are the last of the Original Suffer heads.

According to Europe, the wages of our freedom is the boot of submission.  Found guilty of freedom gained, we are currently serving a sentence of a life of pain.  Was this not our lot according to the deeds of the colonizers?  While they and the rest of the world proclaim us the lowest of low, we know better, for Boukman’s words dance on our lips.

Know this:

We do not want your factories and their slave wages.  We are not the training ground for your ruddy-cheeked millennials. You can take your Cholera back home with you; we are finished with it.  You say you come here to work with us; yet every time you swing the machete, the blade cuts our electricity, spills our blood, dries up our water, and breaks our bones.

Rara IronworkThe world bottles our tears and drinks deeply. It is an abomination to us that you seem to find satisfaction in sitting so far from suffering, in the opulent confines of corporate cocoons, spinning threads to wrap around the necks of children.

You come here and hide tools and machines on the island that should be used to rebuild our cities and only bring them out to insure your own comfort.  You are the monster.  Ayiti’s suffering is a referendum on your humanity.

Only when Ayiti is free of tormentors will we be able to deal with the vicissitudes of Mama Earth, be it weather or earthquake.

The challenge of rebuilding is no greater than the challenge of gaining freedom, and it is that knowledge that keeps the light shining in our hearts in the midst of pain.   Even with all that you have done to us, we are willing to share the vision of our beautiful future.

Be clear that you can no longer march in with starched collars and pressed sleeves and order us about.

Ousmane Sow's Louverture (kdu photos)

Ousmane Sow’s Louverture (kdu photos)

If you are not willing to have the same dirt under your fingernails and the same scrapes on your knees—as it is with our brothers and sisters who scratch out life from the hills of Jérémie, Chantal, and Les Cayes each day—then this is not the job for you.

Ayiti will be free of all that ails her, with or without your help.  Bondye te delivre nou yon fwa deja.  Delivrans nou sou wout.

 

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Photograph Courtesy of Jason Harris.

Photograph Courtesy of Jason Harris.

Baltimore-based writer and 2015 Kimbilio Fiction fellow, Jason Harris, is the editor of the speculative fiction anthology REDLINES: Baltimore 2028, as well as the author of the soon-to-be-released novel Fly Girl.  His work can be found at www.newfuturism.com

May Belongs to Haiti

Dream Haiti: Acrylic on Canvas by Jean Claude M.When rain falls like a song on the roof, and ocean breezes caress the curtains until sunrise, sleep is sweetest.

This morning, the bedroom window proffered an invitation to behold nature and take from Her all I required: rest, renewal, and inspiration galore. If it’s a happy heart you need, the rain said, I have one for you. Look at the flowering trees. See how their branches are heavy with promise. The rain-washed leaves shone like precious stones.

IMAG2583I awoke with the expectation that every seed I planted will germinate: corn, eggplant, tomato, onions. In two or three months, we will harvest enough fresh vegetables to feed several families. We will share with the neighbors, in accordance with our elders’ teaching: Those who never eat alone never go hungry.

I awoke with mist in my eyes too, knowing how the sky covering Haiti can be tightfisted and the clouds stingy. Sometimes rain stays away so long that farms become like the Sahara.

May 1st, Agriculture and Labor Day, is just the beginning of why this month is particularly portentous to Haiti and Haitians. Let the celebration of our rich culture begin.

READ THE TEXT CREOLE HERE

Li Teks la an Kreyòl

mIAMI MY GRAND MOTHER AT THE HOSPIRAL ORLANDO-001

 

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

It tDesktop1ook Zora Neale Hurston seven weeks to pen one of the most important works in literature, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in Haiti.  That country just fills you with inspiration. Spend a few days or weeks there. And who knows? The next great work may come from you. Get to know Zora!