Monday, February 20, 2012

Karnaval Break and Oprah Visits

It's Karnaval! Like many other Catholic/Caribbean locales, Haiti is in party mode this week as Lent approaches.
"Ra-ra" bands travel through the streets
The parades and crowds are wild, massive, and dancing. There is a whole lot of drinking, sweating, and Haitian Kompa music. The US embassy sent a special email to tell us blan (paleface foreigners) to avoid the crowds- pickpocketing, drunkenness, fights, etc.

But my students are going. Lots of them. Nervous about it.

Will you pray for Haiti this week? For safety for my students at Karnaval events?

This is the BIG song right now in Haiti:


The artist, JPerry, went to our school. The title, "Dekole", means "take off", like "rise up". I do not understand all the lyrics, but it seems to basically be about Haiti rising up to progress and a beautiful future, along with celebrating the beauty of the island. One line says "Peyi sa twò rich pou-l pòv", which means "This country is too rich to be poor". I'm happy for our kids to have a song to jam to that is home-grown and celebrates the strengths and beauties that once earned Haiti the title "Pearl of the Antilles".

The video, however, is HIGHLY idealized: gingerbread architecture, idyllic rainforest-y waterfalls, rustic fishermen dancing joyfully in their wooden boats, clean streets, light-skinned women (including Miss Haiti) in couture walking carefree in the streets. No tent cities or street kids to be found. I wish that were the whole story.

In other news: Oprah made a visit to Haiti in December to film for her new OWN network. One of the largest segments in the two-hour show was on the Manasseros, who are one of our Quiqueya families. Ben and I teach the 11th grade daughter, and the father is on our school board.
The show aired January 30th, and we got to watch it last night. It highlights their ministry, Child Hope. They told post-earthquake stories of amputations on their kitchen table.

(Side note: my friend and fellow teacher Amber has a mother whose love language is care packages, as evidenced by the fact that she Tivos movies and anything on TV relating to Haiti, then sends them on DVD to Amber... after which they trickle throughout the staff. Thanks, Mrs. Amber's Mom!)

So our fellow teachers on campus gathered around to see Oprah in our neck of the woods. Here's the link to some of the show footage. We kind of giggled at the way she said "bonjou", and I related to the way she was shocked by the neat, pristine hairdos of Haitian little girls in dire poverty.

Oprah also interviewed a Haitian woman who is exporting crafts, art, and home decor items all over the world. Her artisans' products have been sold at Anthropologie and West Elm. The website where you can buy these items is here. Oprah also interviewed Donna Karan on her work in encouraging the export and sale of Haitian crafts. Her Urban Zen foundation is working to connect Haitian art to US markets, including retail stores in LA, New York, and Sag Harbor. Check it out here. 

Love,
Katie

1 comment:

  1. The jewelry in the Oprah/Donna Karan segment was from www.apparentproject.org and can be purchased at Urban Zen OR at www.markethaiti.com. Peace.

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