Stories: Haiti

  • FOR G-D SO LOVED HAITI

    It was a muggy autumn afternoon when I finally managed to squeeze my way to the front of a service at Shalom. I normally preferred to hang toward the back—the only foreigner, curious and awed by the crush of bodies pressed in together, sometimes as many as twenty thousand, though church leaders boasted of crowds twice that size...

  • The beauty and mystery of voodoo in Haiti

    Although it’s been long associated with the dark and dreadful, voodoo is very much a celebration of life and nature. And just like there’s another side to the age-old religion, there’s a vibrancy to life in Haiti that’s been overshadowed by its troubles. Haiti is in the midst of redoubling its welcome...

  • Why Vodou and lesbians get along

    When Marjorie Lafontant wants to reach the LGBT community, she grabs a megaphone and heads to a peristyle, a Voodoo temple. The leader of Haiti’s first lesbian rights organization starts her outreach efforts with the Voodoo world because, in her view, peristyles are the last safe spaces left in her home country of Haiti. We’re sitting...

  • Queer Haitians Find a Refuge in Vodou

    It’s just past 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning when Stephenson Meus tips back a bottle of Barbancourt. The rum comes out early in the 30-year-old’s congested Port-au-Prince neighborhood, but he doesn’t drink nearly as much as he pours into the sunbaked earth. A houngan, or Vodou spiritual leader, Meus isn’t talking...

  • The Inside Story About One of the Most Maligned Religions in the World

    From Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to Hollywood renditions of Haitian traditions, American media has often connected the Vodou religion to the darkest aspects of black magic. While the faith is closely connected to elements of the supernatural, it is also very much grounded in natural phenomenon. Many Vodou ceremonies honor the elements of air, water, fire, and earth....

  • Millions Face Starvation as Haiti’s Drought Stretches Into Its Third Year

    Mirene Raymond hasn’t seen a real downpour since last year. The 69-year-old rice farmer is one of millions at risk of malnutrition and starvation due to the combined effects of climate change and El Niño. “This is the first time in my life that I’ve seen things this bad,” she told ThinkProgress...

  • A Haitian artist fights to preserve the vodou religion

    Erol Josué is a dancer, a recording artist, a vodou priest, and an expert on the vodou religion's culture and history. "They beat me in the name of Jesus," Josué sings in one song. "They burn me in the name of Jesus." The lyrics of this old vodou song date back to slavery days in the 18th...

  • Who Is Michael Martelly and Why Is the Haitian Grassroots Movement Protesting Against Him?

    Today [the anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres (1803) in the war for independence] marks the second of a series of  planned street protests against the government of Michel Martelly.  The protest are organized by Fòs Patriotik ou Respè Konstitsyon [FOPARK] a coalition of pro Lavalas supporters, students, lawyers and  human rights activists. ...

  • Liberation Ecology: Poo to Compost to Nutrition and Sustainable Living

    World Toilet Day [on 19th November] reports that 40% of the world’s population do not have access to toilets, which is about 1 in 3 people. Sanitation and waste disposal is a human right, but like most rights it exists only on paper and in echo chambers of election promises, UN organizations, and NGOs. The consequences of this...

  • The Environmental Cost of the Construction Boom in Haiti

    The construction boom in Haiti--driven by Diasporan money, UN [MINUSTAH] and government funds--is destroying the local environment around the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Hillsides are being cut away and river beds decimated to feed the huge demand for rock and gravel for personal homes, warehouses and post earthquake reconstruction by the government–in short everything but low cost housing. I...