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5902: "Blan" (fwd)
Attitude, it's all a question of attitude. The attitude of any foreigner or
"Blan" in Haiti is the only factor that determines his or her acceptance into
There is a "zen" I heard during my last stay in Haiti that goes around most
hounfň in Port-au-Prince which refers to a "Blan" attitude which is
considered as deplorable, "culturally" speaking.
This "Blan" had decided, by ignorance or lack of respect, to preside the
culminating ceremony of all initiations, the "bule zen". By doing so, this
"Blan" was taking the place of the Houngan initiator. The hounsis removed
that "Blan" chair once, twice, three times.
Each time, the chair was found and reinstalled in the place where the "Blan"
wanted it to be. Finally the chair was totally confiscated and not to be
The "Blan" got hysterical, cursed at everybody thereby destroying the whole
sacredness of the ceremony.
The Haitian hounsis were just passing a message without confronting the
obviously unaware individual. The proper attitude would have been to think
about the causes of the disappearing chair. Hysteria instead of reflection
doesn't help anyone into being accepted in any society. This isn't only true
in Haiti; it's true anywhere around the world.
Each country has its customs that are learned with time by all foreigners
wishing to belong. Humbleness and desire to comprehend are readily accepted,
arrogance and "I know better" give rise to hostility, particularly in a poor
country proud of its rich culture, such as Haiti.
It's all a question of attitude.
Bébé Pierre Louis