December 3, 2014
Hola comrades: Does anyone remember the South African film by this name released in 1980?? A french version of the film popped on when the power suddenly returned in a bedroom where I was staying in Port au Prince last week. It cracked me up. The film is described by Wikepedia:
Xi and his San tribe are "living well off the land" in the Kalahari Desert. They are happy because of their belief that the gods have provided plenty of everything, and no one among them has any wants. One day, a Coca-Cola bottle is thrown out of an airplane and falls to Earth unbroken. Initially, Xi's people suppose this strange artifact is another "present" from the gods and find many uses for it. (They employ it as a crafts tool, blow the top to make music, etc.) But unlike anything that they have had before, there is only one glass bottle to go around. With everyone wanting it at once, they soon find themselves experiencing envy, anger, and even violence.
The film might seem trite now, but one can't avoid noticing the loss of innocence replaced by technology and commercialization when you travel in this part of the world. We deplore the soot-spewing cars, trucks and motorbikes, mountains of Styrofoam and plastic, drab urban malls that we exported years ago to the likes of Santo Domingo or Port au Prince. We come to a Caribbean island looking for charm and simplicity but are dismayed to see our own culture's dirty face in the mirror!!
Luckily, the ingenuity of daily life here that continues to amaze and bewilder far outweighs the negative; the fabulous and funny things I see and love sharing with you, dear reader .
|Am I too old to learn how to do this?|
|Fixing a flat on my moto in Thiotte|
|Lost tongs replaced by kitchen knives on a marimba used in the merengue tipico I danced to last weekend|
I spent most of last week in a clinic run by Mennonites in the high mountains of Haiti, in a town
called Oriani. I had been there before, and deeply admire the commitment of the people that established this haven for the sick and super underserved. I was there to continue cervical screenings for cancer and follow up on some positive findings I had encountered there more than a year ago. I was happy that I had time to spend with the nurses there, teaching them the technique, and making plans for a collaboration with Fonkoze, a large and well-respected microfinance NGO in Haiti, who will be sending their women members from the region there for screening in the upcoming months.
|teaching Sonia and Githane the didactic part of IVAA, screening for cervical cancer using acetic acid|
Oriani is at 5000 feet, cool and green as you can see, full of plenty of nutritious food that gets sold every week at market to merchants who sell it in Port au Prince
|direct marketing - a soup made of beef and plantains|
|good green earth at 5000 feet|
|On the road to Oriani you transverse a 7000 acre reserve of pine forest|
|Each day at the clinic begins with a hymn and a prayer, led by a Haitian dok|
|Frere Keith with his peeps|
|Love always, Easy Rider|
Project Runway, Haitian school uniforms
|Modified sailor suits|
|It's blue in Thiotte|
|tangerine and melon are happening in Savanne Zombi|