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#289: a Haitian after-life? (fwd)

From: jenny odonnell <jennyodonnell@hotmail.com>

     Greetings! I am an Anthrogolpgy/Religion student who has just returned 
from the most amazing journey of my life.  This summer I had the opportunity 
to study in Haiti for three weeks, and I have not been the same since. I am 
currently researching certain aspects of the Vodou religion, and was hoping 
some people out there would be able to open some new doors for me, or 
perhaps provide a few references.
     Before I was introduced to Haiti personally, I was told many things 
about the religious beliefs there.  I was told that the Haitians viewed life 
and death in the same light, one being the continuation of the other, a 
rebirth perhaps.  This facinated me because I realized that most of the 
literature dealing with Vodou rarely addresses the "afterlife" of 
Vodouisants. Maybe a paragraph dedicated the the soul's travel home to 
Ginen, but not much more. I never thought much about this untill I was in 
Haiti, and I saw the graveyards there. Beautiful. People build homes for 
their dead that are much more elaborate and sturdy than the homes they build 
for theirselves. There was a strong scent of spiritual immortality.
      In my research I would like to use literature, art, and personal
interviews to explore the realm of death in Haiti. Is there a unified belief 
in experience after death? How do these beliefs contribute to the lives of 
the living? What are the rituals and ceremonys for burials, etc? Do these 
beliefs contribute to the fear of zonbism?
I am not sure exactly where this will go.  I know the subject can also be a 
bit taboo. I would appreciate any responces, references or even personal 
opinions. It would be very helpful. Some of the literature that I have 
examined has been Jacques Roumain's work, Masters of the Dew, and Lilas 
Desquiron's novel, Reflections of Loko Miwa. Merci!
Jenny O'Donnell

Please respond directly to jennyodonnell@hotmail.com

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