As we all know pretty well, Haiti has a serious image problem. It seems like every time Haiti makes headlines, it’s for a negative reason, whether it’s political unrest or devastation from a natural disaster. And these stories are never complete without photos of chaos in the streets and the not-so-subtle implication that despite the … More Chaos for a Cause?
Decorative metalwork is one of Haiti’s most distinctive art forms. Ask anyone where you should go if you want to find great metal art, and they’ll direct you to the Village Artistique de Noailles in Croix-des-Bouquets (Creole: Kwadèbouke), a commune about 8 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince where young artists go to apprentice themselves to master … More The Story of Haitian Metal Art
Buying plantains in an American grocery store can be a challenge, especially if you aren’t sure how to tell whether a plantain is ripe. For one thing, (depending on where you live) store associates might not be very knowledgeable when you ask for help. They may not even know what a plantain is. I was … More A Plantain Buyer’s Guide
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?”