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
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
For those looking for a refresher, you can find our previous article on Haiti’s 2016 Presidential Election available here. With this post, we’re picking up with the most recent events, and then going back to Haiti’s foundations to explore the tumultuous path towards Haiti’s current democracy. Haiti Presidential Election Update: After Haiti’s Congress failed to … More Haiti’s History With Democracy : An Update on the Presidential Election
If you follow the news, or run in circles where Haiti is at the forefront of people’s minds, you’ve likely already heard that the United States has a significant peanut surplus; and we’re trying to send 500 tons of it to Haiti. (That’s something like 160 million peanuts.) While sending these peanuts to Haiti is … More U.S. Peanuts Don’t Belong in Haiti
I once had a professor tell me that Americans in particular are really good at getting a job done (referring specifically to projects overseas.) While a hard-work ethic can be a great thing, the single-mindedness of the “getting the job done” mentality can easily take over our experiences in Haiti (Which is exactly the point … More A new look at Haiti: When a Volunteer turns into a Visitor