Published: February 25th 2012February 23rd 2012
a little concert put on at the soccer field next door. konbit mizik is an organization where haitiens can have access to recording equipment.
Well, the festivities started close to home - in fact, at the soccer field next door where Konbit Mizik was putting on an evening show. Konbit Mizik is an organization making available recording and sound equipment to music groups and individuals so I got to see a variety of haitians performing mostly hip hop, rap, and reggae. My favorite was watching an 8 year old tear it up on the mic.
So 2 friends Nick and Vincent are pioneering the first LGBT cultural center and cafe in homophobic Haiti, which is rad! You can view their project (called Kouraj) at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1515852513/kouraj-presents-haitis-first-lgbt-bar-and-cultural
. They threw their kickoff party last week and it was the funnest time I had dancing so far in Haiti, shaking my booty next to the drag queens and glitterfied people. There's something to be said for strutting your stuff and getting down on the dance floor without the fear of being hit on (my case) or beat up (their case). Their "mesisi" (homosexual) declaration is posted here. I'm wishing them all the best of luck with this project.
So then a few days later I went with Nick and Vincent to Les Cayes where
LGBT kanaval party!
the funnest time i've had dancing in haiti so far among the "mesisi" (homosexuals) - it's so freeing to be able to shake your booty among people and not feel in danger of being hit on. this paper is their declaration.
Kanaval was being held this year. It's 3 days of craziness: crowds, floats, parades, music, dancing! We only went for one night, dancing til the wee hours with thousands of Haitians. I didn't take anything with me, not even my phone as I didn't want to be a pickpocketing target, so unfortunately there are no pictures that I took from my night adventures, but I posted some pics from other sources that represent pretty accurately my experiences. I don't think I've ever been part of a parade before, but those that wanted to dance went to the middle of the street dancing in between the floats, and those that wanted to watch stood on the side. It was an amazing feeling to really connect with the emotions of rejoicing and celebrating with all the Haitians around me through dance. So fun!
We stayed pretty close to a particular float, though it was playing the same 3 theme kanaval songs over and over. When we wanted to move to another one, we tried to move forward but it was so crowded it was claustrophobic, and there were drunken fights breaking out everywhere - it was like being in a mosh
Mountains beyond mountains
it's so great to get outside of the city! it's so beautiful here in the countryside
pit. Retreat! So we went to explore the floats in the other direction and found some more space with different music. The next day Nick and Vincent went on to travel to other nearby places, but I met up with another friend and travelled back to Port au Prince. The bus system is such that you get on and wait til it fills up, and then wait some more as they put more benches in the aisles to add more people (definitely an evacuation hazard...), then put more people, babies, and chickens, and then go!
Well, I'm being sent up to Cap Haitien for 1-2 weeks to help at the office up there until the new director arrives (she's been sick in the U.S.). I'm excited to see another part of Haiti, another town, and see the countryside along the way. I'm taking a bus so instead of the 4 hour ride I had earlier this week, it'll be 8 hours....goodness. More later - A pi ta!
There are more photos below