Today is the day of the dead. The day meant to honor those who have come and gone before us. Haitians respect that tradition. They also add to it or adapt it. They pay tribute to Baron Samdi, the father of the crossroads, the crossroads from which Haitians come from physically, Gine/West Africa and spiritually. As of late due to the recent hurricanes Haiti has many dead to honor, approximately 800.
But in Port-au-Prince’s main cemetery at 7 am this morning there was no sign of remorse for victims of the disasters. The level of desperation among Haiti’s poor, victim of the disaster or not is simply extreme. And although empathy exists it is the norm and dissipates among the cacophony of tap-taps in the streets with the louder concern for where the next days’ meal will come from. But this morning in the cemetery the dominant noises were the wailings, the ruckus and the requests to the Baron represented by a big black cement cross in the northeast corner.
Today like any celebration in Haiti was not timid. It was loud, it was animated, it was open, dirty, long, mixed with old ways and new and it was filled with a cornucopia of meaning and intent, none that I could explain but instead just witness. Look.