Saturday, September 30, 2006

HAITI

Things I think I saw. #2

Day 3, Sept. 9, 2006. This morning I woke to sounds of goats. Goats and donkeys, roosters and women.

A small Amish missionary girl climbs a small tree.



A fisherman with string between his toes repairs his nets. He works much faster than his two brothers. He says he can make 2,000 gourdes per day during the four good fishing months of the year. Some fish are as long as his arm, some only up to his elbow, the ones the size of his hand he throws back into the blue-blue water with a disdainful flip of his fish-measuring hand. Fishing runs in his family, he says, but his father was a bad manager – he spent the good fishing months money on women and beer. Our fisherman is different, he says, with a flash of a full-set of off-white teeth, he never asks for money: he flashes us a couple thousand gourdes. We wish each other bonswa and we are off in our country-improving foreign kind of way.

We ate fish in a restaurant in a red village, surrounded by red dirt, covered by red rocks and red children. The fish had been rubbed with lime and been given the right amount of spices. It was delicious. We ate it while a French trained woman sang the same song over and over in slow jazz style, her Creole tremulous, over the cardboard radio speaker behind my left ear. It was perfect.

Sunday. Day 4. Haitians sing like a fully-blown pipe organ. They hit the first chord hard and fast. Their song rises in a crescendo that never reaches its culmination. Their right side is filled with God according to the Creole Psalmist – this is the part that is always on the rise. Their Spirit loud and fast – fast not in terms of speed, fast as in secure. It is secure in its uplift, its lightness. It is not ephemeral in as much as it is clairvoyant. It is at once present and eternal. It is upward. Tight-limbed and smooth-skinned women, gently rocking, fill in the high parts at the proper place. Mothers hiss their white-eyed children into obeisance to its Spirit, men form the resonate laconic foundation of this God-worship. "Thank you for the chanti belle" the man prayed in the mint green and white shelter from the bleaching of the ultra-violent glare of the Caribbean sun.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Terri and Josh said...

nice. wish i could hear the singing.

12:21 PM  

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