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7080: Archim translation of proverb (fwd)
Key words and expressions: lavalas, flood, disease, destruction of property,
Regarding your translation of "Ansanm, ansanm, nou se Lavalas" into
"Together, together, we will clean things up".
Let me tell you what I remember lavalas to be.
As a child growing up in Port-au-Prince I spent a great deal of time with my
maternal grandmother who at that time resided at rue de L'enterrement, a
stone throw from the soccer stadium, across the street from a place called
"chez Akim" which sold wholesale blocks of ice and sodas (cola for Haitians).
>From time to time during the rainy season the whole area would be flooded by
rushing rain and sewer water. That rushing rain and sewer water is what
Haitians call lavalas. The appropriate expression is "lavalas envahi nou"
meaning we have been flooded by lavalas.
That real lavalas did not clean anything at all. Au contraire!
In fact it destroyed most things on its passage. It inevitably left property
fences and wooden houses badly damaged. It killed all domestic animals on its
path: chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats, cats, dogs, etc.. It uprooted trees and
bushes. It rushed indiscriminately into people's homes and destroyed
furnitures, food reserves, clothing, pictures, etc.. It contaminated drinking
water. It filled backyard latrines and spilled their contents everywhere.
People had to quickly reach high ground if they did not want to be seriously
injured or killed.
When its fury finally subsided and the water level went down, it left behind
piles of junk, diseases, dead livestock, mud everywhere. It created a
complete disaster for the people caught by its power and violent nature. For
days afterward the whole neighborhood was numb and disoriented, with everyone
trying to put their life routine back together without any help from any
government. I am sparring you the gory and unsanitary details.
So when I read that lavalas means "together, together we will clean things
up" I say to myself "this guy does not have a clue."
J-R. B. Auguste