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#3809: "Se bon Ki ra" is not a Creole Proverb : Grey responds
<< Yet the fact that the expression is used means that someone either
invented, or learned and taught it in turn to someone who uses it. And
for all of them, it means something. Whatever! The contract is between
them, and it does not matter to them that the saying makes no sense at
all to Haitians. It is not a language problem. >>
Makes no sense to Haitians! What on earth are you talking about?
Okay, folks, this is getting silly. Here is a factual and objective account
of how I became familiar with that proverb. In our peristyle, we have a
Haitian man who is very versatile, he serves as la place and as drummer. He
is Houngan sur point.
Now, we were talking one day about the difficulty of obtaining quality goods
and services, nice beads for our sacred kolye (necklaces worn during the
kanzo ceremony), an adequate supply of certain leaves and botanical items,
you know... and in the processes people started to laugh and say, "eh byen,
se bon ki ra", oh well, it is good which is rare, as literally as I can give
it. Pepe is easy to find, but se bon ki ra.
You know, when there is a shortage of something or other, "li vin ra", it
becomes rare, but not that the thing itself is rare upon the earth, just that
it is in short supply. And I had heard this phrase once or twice before in
other places, but I didn't really note it.
So anyway, to continue - over the following days, this phrase was applied to
riding horses and especially to Houngans, talking about how hard it is to
find a genuine Houngan and a good, happy house will strong energy, and we
went on and on laughingly, until our laplace said proudly, you know, my nom
vayan is Se Bon Ki Ra, I am the good which is rare!
I don't know where these people are coming from who say this is not real
Creole! This is the poetry which rolls naturally off the lips of rural
Haitians! Just because Port-au-Prince Frenchified Creole might not give it
that way, they might go the long way round with this "difisil a jwen"
business... ! LOL! There is of course more than one way to say the same
You know what else? There is a strong grammatical tie between Haitian Creole
and Jamaican patois, not the words but the grammar. For example, reflexive
A walk me de walk, man.
Mache m tap mache, gason mwen.
And for another, stringing verbs together:
Pote ale bay... (tel moun tel bagay)
Carry go give... (such and such a person such and such a thing)
And "se bon ki ra" is even easier to give in Jamaican patois than standard
English, "is good wha hard fe get", instead of the longer standard English,
"it is good which is rare".
So I really hope we can calm down and stop making assertions that the actual
words spoken by Haitians in Haiti speaking Haitian Creole are not actually
Haitian Creole understandable to other Haitians! LOL, really!
Peace and love,
Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
"Se bon ki ra",
Good is rare - Haitian Proverb
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