[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

5519: Re: Subject:5433 Two Americans Injured in Haiti : an addendum (fwd)

From: Racine125@aol.com

I recently took two American Vodouisant initiates to Grand Cemetiere for Fet 
Gede, on November 2 of this year.  

I used to go every year, and I always had a ball!  There were drummers there 
sometimes, and Houngans and Mambos and hounsis, and just ordinary people 
serving.  There were food offerings of bread and coffee and boiled eggs, 
which were often shared with participants.  There were bawdy songs and wild 
dancing!  And I never, ever once felt afraid.  Things were kind of heated and 
one could expect to be jostled, but that was all.

This year, though, was horrible.  As soon as we entered the cemetery, we 
began to give gifts of money, mostly 5 gourde coins.  Instead of receiving 
the money, the people present grabbed my initiates by the wrist and ripped 
the money from their hands!  Oh well, we thought, bad manners.

We went to the Cross of Baron, and to my disgust instead of the usual 
humorous chants of "Zozo!  Coco!  Anba langyet zozo!" and other typical 
phrases, we were treated to a gang of young men yelling "Touye blan!  Kraze 
blan!  Touye yo!  Touye yo!"  My American initiates bravely completed their 
service to Baron, and we moved on to the Cross of Brigitte, where things 
calmed down a bit.  I met one of my "fiel kanzo", a godchild of mine (not an 
initiatory child) from Port-au-Prince, and we danced together.  A Haitian 
Houngan who accompanied us made a food offering of smoked fish and pepper, 
and from what I am told both Baron and Maman Brigitte manifested in my head, 
although of course I don't remember that part.

When we attempted to leave the cemetery after our service, though, the crowd 
surrounded our car and demanded two thousand US dollars to permit us to 
leave!  They tried to break the windows with their fists, they climbed up on 
the car roof and on the hood and the trunk.  One man thrust himself bodily 
inside!  My Haitian friends panicked, and I had to take the wheel.  I 
actually had to gradually accelerate the car and then hit the brakes to send 
our unwanted guests tumbling before we could depart, and even then the man 
inside the car kept trying to grab our things, and had to be evicted by a few 
strategic pokes with Baron's baton!

It was revolting.  I can't imagine ever taking anyone to Grand Cemetiere 
again, and this was supposed to be one of the highlights of my program (for 
which these two brave souls paid money, by the way).  I noticed that there 
were almost no Haitians in the cemetery cleaning up family tombs, I saw no 
visits from Haitian Houngans or Mambos either.  In fact, in contrast to 
previous years, no one was parked outside, we had all the streetside to 
ourselves.  The whole place was taken over by these little gangs of junior 

I do understand how Haitian Vodouisants may be weary of photographers and 
videographers who don't give much in return for what they take, but this sort 
of aggression has nothing to do with Vodou, and everything to do with a sort 
of "politik anti-blan" apparently being promoted by the Lavalas party 
nowadays.  Considering that a whole lot of "blans" sacrificed a lot of time 
and effort, not to mention risking their lives, to bring Aristide back into 
Haiti, I think this sort of scapegoating is absolutely revolting.

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

"Se bon ki ra", 
     Good is rare - Haitian Proverb

The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html