Haitian Independence Day’s Eve

Posted: January 1, 2011 in Haiti, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Gad. I’m getting used to Haiti. Tonight found me in the back of a crappy diesel pickup truck with six people driving through the crazy back “streets” of the town on our way to a christening. We got off the only highway and drove through a crowded dirt track through the palms and improv shelters and toppled cinder block buildings to a church that seemed to be held up by faith alone.

It was covered by a tin roof on rough sawn sticks which were tied to the re-bar of a pre-existing building. The decorations were bizzarre- some balloons and taffeta paper bows hung on and around the pulpit. The priest looked nervous in front of a bunch of kids who didn’t speak Kreyol or French, but went on bravely about God knows what. The manager of our local crew translated the christening from Kreyol to Spanish so that some of us could understand what was being said.

With my rough understanding of romance languages I only understood about 5% of the words, but I think I got 100% of the intention. The two artists running the project have taken a vow to protect the child if anything ever happens to the mother. They became Godparents.

The ceremony took less than ten minutes. When it was finished there wasn’t much mingling to do because of the communication barrier, so we all shook hands and smiled and nodded and exchanged the few we knew mutually. We piled into the truck and drove back through the jungle town to the village where a supper was prepared to celebrate. We ate fried plantains and chicken at a table in the middle of the construction site under the light of a CFL drawing from an inverted car battery.

All told, it wasn’t nearly as strange or exciting as the voodoo ceremony that we attended on christmas eve. Nobody rolled around in a bucket of water and shredded leaves, but smiles were shared in celebration of two christenings. That of the child Betsy, and of the home that will be created for her and her mother.

To read more about the project, click the Konbit link in the blogroll at the top of this page. Our group is maintaining that blog collectively.

  1. ty says:

    Love love love these updates. You’re an amazing guy Jimmy James. They’re lucky to have you. Still can’t wait for you to come back safely. xx0

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