Naomi Osaka may play for Japan, but she makes it clear that she’s also representing Haiti. The 20-year old rising tennis star was born in Osaka, Japan, but she now lives and trains in the U.S. Her breakthrough came in 2016 when she advanced to the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open and was … More Haitian athlete to watch: Naomi Osaka
The other day, a friend of mine shared a Haitian proverb with me that her mother often uses: “Se grès kochon ki kwit kochon.” Translation: “It’s the pig’s own fat that cooks it.” I love trying to figure out the meanings of proverbs; they’re like riddles. So I thought about it for a few seconds, … More Haitian Proverbs: Worth a Deeper Look
Eight years ago today, I went downstairs to the living room and found my parents perched on the edge of the sofa, their eyes glued to the news report on CNN. One of my mom’s hands hovered over the telephone, and the other was clasped in my father’s. I remember noticing the way my parents … More Eight Years Later, What Can You Do?
This month I wanted to write about what Christmastime is like in Haiti. But it’s been a long time since I’ve lived there and my childhood memories are pretty fuzzy. So I sat down with my good friend Réyina Senatus, who is from Port-au-Prince and goes back each year for the holidays, to talk about … More Memories of Haitian Christmas
Last week, my dad told me that he and Mom had been asked to speak to a group at their church who are going to Haiti for a week this winter. They were supposed to talk about “Haitian Culture,” and they were each given ten minutes to speak. Of course, twenty minutes is not enough … More Haitian Culture Crash Course?
Haiti has a complicated relationship with its own official languages. On one hand, it has French: imposed by colonists, spoken by the educated elite, and the language of instruction in most Haitian schools. On the other hand, it has Kreyòl: born out of slavery, understood by every Haitian, but rarely printed or read. And they … More Haitian Creole: Mark of shame, or symbol of pride?
There’s more than one way to speak kreyòl. But then, you knew that already, didn’t you? There’s more than one way to speak any language. Think of all the different ways people speak English — with accents, with local slang, with different levels of vocabulary. After hearing someone speak for the first time, you can … More Why are you speaking that “kreyòl rek?”
“You talk too much.” I’ve heard it all my life. How then did I come to make such a significant error of silence? Let’s ask my 88-year old mother. On a recent trip to Winnipeg, Canada to visit Mom, I flounced up the stairs and held it out to her…the holy grail, the crown jewel…my … More What my (European) Mom taught me about learning Creole
2016 has been a very eventful year in Haiti and around the world. As the clock ticks over to 2017 we can only wonder what’s in store for the year ahead. Here’s a list of things to keep on your Haiti radar from sectors as diverse as Creole language, to politics, to culture, and more. … More Haiti in 2017: Six Things To Keep An Eye On
BOOK REVIEWS by Sylvia Elias, British Columbia, Canada I’ve come to believe that Haiti provokes passion like no other place on earth. To support this, I give you two stunning novels by highly diverse authors: Claire of the Sea Light, from the brilliant mind of the venerable Haitian-born writer Edwidge Danticat; and Hold Tight, Don’t … More Haiti Through Literature: A Book Review