Posted by: mytriptohaiti | December 29, 2011

Holidays (not in Haiti)

For me, winter is a season of holidays and celebration. Having grown up in the southern United States without a winter of which to speak, the snow and cold weather season is by far, my favorite time of year. Marked by lights and scarves and warm beverages and singing. Not my singing, but singing, nonetheless.

On the way to visit a friend of Haitian Families First, we encountered a celebration of the town of Furcy, about ten miles from Port-au-Prince. But don’t be fooled. No one road in Haiti is straight. This ten-mile excursion took over an hour. Less than half a mile from our destination, we found a large crowd of revelers dressed in Sunday best, exiting a church and carrying their song and dance into the street. The only street leading us to our destination.

With not much else do to, we turned the car off and waited and watched. Little girls skipped by singing and dancing to the songs of elders celebrating the rich history of this town.

And just as quickly and to us, unexpectedly as it began, it ended. We started the car and drove through a dispersing crowd leaving behind girls in white lace dresses and men in ties.

________________

Upon arrival in Port-au-Prince, I was asked what I wanted to see most in Haiti. I knew right away. Thinking back over my nearly two dozen visits to New Orleans, one of my favorite events there, probably more a non-event, was of Haitian heritage. The impromptu drum and brass parade. “I want to see a parade!”

For no reason other than an empty street needs a parade, those with horns and drums would gather at the corner of a block and with the sound of a whistle or the wave of a flag, burst into song and walk until the music ended. Residents and shoppers along the route would often run outside and join in the parade, clapping and walking along. There’s just something about hearing brass and drums that gives me a case of the happies.

My last night in Haiti, on our way to find a restaurant with a television showing the Pittsburgh Steelers game, which we found, I got my wish. The impromptu, all-inclusive, flag-waving, people-clapping, drum-and-brass-playing, people-leaving-their-tents-to join, parade.

Call me cased with the happies.

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