Nov. 25, 2012

The ocean north of Port-au-Prince (photo by Pia) taken from the truck on our way to Cap-Haitien.

I didn’t realize how repressed I am until I came to Haiti and observed these people who are so amazingly free and spontaneous.

I don’t care for most of the townsfolk of the world. The sedentary, careful people who seldom travel, and, if they do, are contained and insulated within their own little xenophobic bubbles… They are well-bred and trained like performing circus animals. Or ants. But less interesting.

I was one of them for a long time, long ago. My suppression of my natural energies comes from that period when I could neither be myself nor find my group. The group I was adopted by (Germans), and the group I was raised in (middle class New England) both rejected me. The Ugly Duckling.

Now, I am tending a small, quiet, inner fire. I’ve discovered who I am, and I’ve found my group (Travellers, Gypsies). I know the blazing passion that lies beneath my surface calm, and, for the most part, I keep it controlled and hidden. It’s the source of my power and can be used for good or evil; I try to not release that scorching blaze in anger or pride. Knowing the particular nature of my power, as well as how to control it and use it in a loving way gives me strength and confidence.

This is a photo Pia shot on her trip with Nico to a coastal village near Cap-Haitien. I was sick and came back alone to Port-au-Prince.

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52% of Haitians are very poor; about 7% are very rich; the rest are in between.

The very rich (as they do everywhere in the world) live their lives in luxury, never venturing near the communities of the poor people and ignoring the suffering of their poor neighbors. The very wealthy people of Haiti may have a huge house in Petion-ville’s hills, a house and yacht at the seashore here, and travel with internationally, always staying near other very wealthy folks.

In the mountains en route to Cap-Haitien.

This weekend, Ilona’s handsome, French friend, Johan Bourrier (from Paris) is visiting the guesthouse. He and Ilona work for Inter Aide, an international organization which, here in Haiti’s remotest areas, helps in the areas of health, water and sanitation, schools, and coffee-production. “Jo” has been here for four years; he often works in places that are an 8 hour walk from any road, up in the mountains or along the seashore. He said, “there are 1,000 different realities in Haiti.”

Pia got a package from her mom in Germany: it came fast (under 2 weeks) and cost little to ship here. On the other hand, Pia mailed a 10-page letter to Germany the other day, and it cost close to $20 US and may take two months to get there or may never arrive.

We went to Petion-ville’s huge street market a few days ago. The sidewalks, as I mentioned earlier, are crammed with women who are sitting on the ground with baskets of produce (too much to ever be sold). Ilona said most of these women buy the produce from farmers up in the hills outside P-ville. People pee (and I suppose poop, though I haven’t seen this or evidence of it) on the streets everywhere here. I was walking within 2 feet of women crouching to pee behind some trucks and men peeing, of course, everywhere.

The electric wires above some of the street-sellers were on fire in one place.

I bought some Barbancourt Rhum (made in Haiti) on the street for a little over $1 (for a small bottle) and some limes, and we made rum sours when we got back to the house. Added sugar and ice. Pia and I went to two banks near the street market, but I couldn’t change my Haitian Gourdes into Dominican Republic pesos. Will do it at the border Saturday.

We also went to the Rebo Cafe and used their Wifi. I got my first good coffee here ($1 USD or 40 goud). We sat around there for a couple hours and talked with Daniel, a guy here “on business” from Texas. The women at the street market often yell out to us, “Blond!” which means “white”, to get our attention; I bought some produce from them: beautiful little yellow potatoes, onions and garlic.

Women are shelling adzuki beans (a relatively new trend, sold in California;s natural foods markets) wherever they are selling produce. The gals here marry young (at least by 18), have babies and divorce. Most young men have children who live apart from them with the children’s mothers.

Pia, who volunteers in Natacha’s school here, told me the Haitians admire Hitler! (Pia is German and says that, of course, most Germans hate Hitler.) She said it seems to be because he was “a fighter who changed things, and they admire that.” Oh god! They also, she said, think Germans are racist. Go figure.

Pia on our Cap-Haitian host’s balcony, overlooking the street.

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I spend many days quietly “at home,” wherever I am in the world. I listen to the local sounds, write, observe wildlife around me, think, feel; then, I go to sleep early and dream. Last night, I dreamed of mountain lions stalking me. I just made it into the house, and, with a few other people, I was safe (although one mountain lion was sitting like a human, reading a newspaper on the couch in the living room).

Me, riding in the bed of Ilona’s truck, on the road to Cap-Haitien.

This afternoon, after church, Charlene’s son, Olivier, will have a birthday party at our guesthouse. (Charlene manages our guesthouse; Olivier lives at an orphanage during the week when Charlene is working at Natacha’s school. He comes to the guesthouse on weekends.) Olivier’s body is scarred from being under his collapsed house for two days after the 2010 earthquake. He’s a wonderful little boy (about 7-years-old). I got him a small box of crayons.He is nine, my grandson, Sam’, age. It’s wonderful to have a little boy to celebrate with since I can’t be with my beloved Sam right now.

I have just a little money left for street food. Saturday, Dec. 1, I leave for the Dominican Republic on Capitol Coach Lines.

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From the website Voodoo Authentica:

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First of all, since Catholicism and Voodoo are very much intertwined and have been since the time of the slave trade, the cross is a symbol used in both religions. In Voodoo, it has the dual meaning of representing the Voodoo Loa (Spirit), Papa Legba, the Guardian of the Crossroads. The color green is used to represent (most commonly) money, sometimes fertility and also, Ogun, the Voodoo Loa of Metal and Iron. In today’s world, it also is sometimes used to represent envy.

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From The Magic Candle by Charmaine Dey:

Green is the color of the Venus planetary influence, and also of the P_desc1ive meadows of the Earth. It therefore symbolizes Nature, and material gain, Fertility, Abundance, Good Fortune, Cooperation, Generosity, Good Health, and Renewal.

Green candles are burned to promote balance and harmony in any off-balance situation.

Pink is a color which generates affection, self-generosity, selflessness. It is an excellent choice for matters of domestic, or ‘true’ love, as it symbolizes Love, Honor, Togetherness, Gentleness, and Spiritual fulfillment.

Pink candles may be burned for some healings, especially of the SPIRIT.

Purple is the color of Power, Royalty, Dignity, Wisdom, Idealism, Psychic manifestation and Spirit contact. Therefore, it is used when great Spiritual Power is necessary. Purple is effectively used against Black Magic, demonic possession, and for Spiritual or Psychic healing. It is also used to throw up a veil of Spiritual protection.

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Babalu Aye

God of health and healing, the poor. His colors are black, purple, and brown. Identified with St. Lazarus.

Chango, Shango, Xango

God of thunder and fire, passion, power and music. He uses lightening to increase the fertility of the earth and his worshippers. His colors are red and white. Identified with St. Barbara.

Eleggua, Papa, Legba, Exu, Elegba

A trickster, God of travelers and small children. The one who opens the way for seekers, keeper of the crossroads between the natural and supernatural worlds. Pushes or tricks us beyond the limits of mundane existence, teasing and daring us to transcend. His colors are black and red. Identified with St. Anthony.

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Is Haiti becoming an oligarchy? Is it one already?

Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “a few”, and ἄρχω (archo), meaning “to rule or to command”) is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.

Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public servitude to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, but oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.

(from Wikipedia)

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