[Blackstudies-l] Tales of Port-Au-Prince: Letting Haitians Speak for Themselves

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sat Jun 3 18:57:17 EDT 2017

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New post on *Repeating Islands*
<http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/> Tales of Port-Au-Prince:
Letting Haitians Speak for Themselves
ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>

*[image: jalouise]*

*As a follow-up to our previous post
on the book Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince, ed. Peter Orner
and Evan Lyon (Verso, 2017), here are excerpts from the Foreword
by Edwidge Danticat, which was published by Literary Hub
(23 May 2017):*

It is the morning of the feast of Corpus Christi, fête Dieu, in
Port-au-Prince. The sun rises early and fast, along with a chorus of voices
singing hymns. Altar boys in flowing white robes and girls in long,
spotless communion dresses weave rosary beads through their gloved fingers,
or adjust crowns of white flowers on their heads. The parents walk at their
children’s side, their beaming faces glowing in the hot sun. “He must be
present in my life every day,” they sing. Fòk li prezan chak jou nan vi

Corpus Christi processions are meant to commemorate Christ’s body, in pain,
but Haitians have plenty of their own pain. The procession circles a
makeshift displacement camp where mothers are bathing their children in
buckets of cloudy water in front of the layers of frayed faded tarp they
call home. Before entering the crowd with her grandmother, my six-year-old
US-born daughter, who is returning to Port-au-Prince for the first time
since the January 12, 2010 earthquake, repeats something she’s told us many
times since we landed in the city. “I thought everything was broken.”

Built for 200,000 people yet home to more than 2 million, Port-au-Prince is
a city that constantly reminds you of the obvious, as though you were a
six-year-old. No, everything is not broken. And no, not all the people are
dead. Every person in that procession, and every person living in the city,
bears that communal testimony, and Port-au-Prince is a testimonial city. It
is a city that everything—fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, political
upheaval—has conspired to destroy, yet still it carries on, in part due to
the resoluteness of its people, a few of whose stories you will read about
here. [. . .]

See full foreword at http://lithub.com/tales-of-port-au-prince-letting-

See more on the book here: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2391-lavil
*ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>* | June 3,
2017 at 6:03 pm | Tags: Edwidge Danticat
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/edwidge-danticat/>, Haiti
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/haiti/>, Lavil
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/lavil/>, Port-au-Prince
<http://repeatingislands.com/tag/port-au-prince/> | Categories: Literature
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/literature/>, New Books
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/new-books/>, News
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/news/> | URL: http://wp.me/psnTa-vLh

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