The Haiti I Knew

20 Jan

Licofén, Yeba, Margarito, Ño Antonio and Buba were Haitians who had come to St. Germain, Contramaestre and Marcané to cut cane, harvest coffee and do anything for which they were offered three Cuban pesos so they could eat.

Since then I have known their children and grandchildren, people so good that only think about working, loving life like God commands.  They, the Jamaicans and the Chinese are among the immigrants best known in Cuba for their decision to work in any job; their goal is to arrive at home in the afternoon with a mouthful of food for their families.

Makers of baskets, hats, and the backs of furniture.  Herb cutters, animal breeders and food and vegetable growers; from their hands comes delicious food like small coconuts covered in syrup, the most nutritious broths and a delicious liquor made from bee honey, sugarcane juice and alcohol.

Now the earth has parted like a jam under the life of the Haitians, right now from the east of Cuba, their descendents look with horror towards their unfortunate roots.

In those days, when the drums of the Bembé resonate to sing to Papá Legbá, the engunes (the dead) are crying out for life to return to the earth.

Translated by: BW

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