What are you built for?: Prepping for Haiti

I am soooooo excited about my Alternative Spring Break that I can hardly focus on the work that needs to get done before I leave  (namely, a 10-page paper).

I travel to Haiti on next Sunday, March 10th through Monday, March 18th. This will be the first place I go where I officially don’t speak the language, and English is not very common there.

I can understand and say some basic French phrases, but not so much Haitian Kreyol (besides the ever-famous Sak Pase?!). Kreyol is one of two official languages in Haiti (the other being French). Kreyol is a mix of French, some African Languages as well as other languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese (according to Wikipedia.)

So, over the next few days I’ll be using YouTube and some Haitian friends to assist teaching me some conversational phrases. So far, I have:

Bonjou– Good morning

Mwe rele Tracey- My name is Tracey.

Mwe pa pale Kreyol– I don’t speak Kreyol.

Pa de kwa– You’re welcome.

Also, this week Howard welcomed Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat for a lecture entitled “Our Stories, Ourselves.” I got a chance to meet her, and was very excited since I am a fan of her work!

(L-R) Esther, Edwige Danticat, Dr. Elie, me
(L-R) Esther, Edwidge Danticat, Dr. Elie, me

In her lecture she told an anecdote of a time she was flying and her plane got hit by lightning. She said it felt like the floor was on fire, everything went black and there was silence.

Then the pilot came over the speaker:

Uhh..folks. Everything is fine. The plane was built for this.”

The question Mrs. Danticat took away from this experience, is one I’ve begun asking myself… I believe we are all built to withstand many things.

What am I built for?

What in life, were you built to endure? I believe many of us come to discover that, if we don’t already know.  I think Haiti might be able to help me with that answer.

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5 thoughts on “What are you built for?: Prepping for Haiti

  1. Sounds great to actually learn new languages or at least some of it. For some reason though, I believe that in Haiti, French is the official and dominant way of speaking. I don’t know if creole really exists opposed to other Caribbean islands like Dominica where they don’t speak French at all but creole.

    1. Hey, thanks for commenting. According to my sources, Haitian Creole French is the main language, and standard French has a higher social status. It is not used by the majority in Haiti.

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