Spot the difference: Haitians believe God kills, not germs. For Americans, it’s God not guns

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2017


  Before I went to Haiti, my Kreyol instructor gave our class a valuable lesson in Haitian stoicism, immutability, and yes, ill-logic. “Mikwòb pa touye Ayisyen, that’s what many Haitians believe,” he said. “Be prepared.” What he meant was that a certain section of Haitian society was unwilling to believe that the cholera virus could kill and that … Continue reading “Spot the difference: Haitians believe God kills, not germs. For Americans, it’s God not guns”

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Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’

by Rashmee

Posted on March 20, 2015


“Korea and Jamaica a frien from long long time,” says the South Korean charge to the Caribbean nation. “It a gwaan since dem independence inna 1962 and we cooperate wid each odar pon nuff things. We help we one anoder,” he goes on to say, in presumably impeccable Jamaican patois. (Click here to read the … Continue reading “Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’”

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5 years after quake, Haiti has some hotels but too few hospitals and schools

by Rashmee

Posted on January 18, 2015


Whatever happened to all that aid for Haiti, Emily Troutman asked on the fifth anniversary of the January 12 earthquake. Why is it that there are so many more luxurious hotels and such few schools, hospitals and other basics? It’s a good question but the proliferation of hotels and absence of hospitals says more about Haiti’s dysfunctional … Continue reading “5 years after quake, Haiti has some hotels but too few hospitals and schools”

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Piers Morgan, the N-word & Haitian Creole’s cheerful use of ‘bon neg’

by Rashmee

Posted on November 15, 2014


The rather intemperate debate over Piers Morgan’s insistence that the onus of ending use of the N-word lay on African Americans reminded me of the way it is in Haiti. That is arguably the one place in the world that you can use the words ‘bon neg’ in regular conversation. In Haitian Creole. That said, … Continue reading “Piers Morgan, the N-word & Haitian Creole’s cheerful use of ‘bon neg’”

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90 degrees of shade: Haiti stars in new Caribbean photo history book

by Rashmee

Posted on November 10, 2014


It stands to reason that Haiti features prominently in the luscious new photography book ‘90 Degrees of Shade: Image and Identity in the West Indies – Over 100 Years of Photography in the Caribbean’. With a 10 million population, a stirring and inspirational history and a tragic contemporary story, Haiti looms large in any Caribbean … Continue reading “90 degrees of shade: Haiti stars in new Caribbean photo history book”

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How did the Caribbean begin to be seen as an earthly paradise?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 13, 2014


Speaking of tourism with a purpose (Porto’s ‘worst tours’) reminded me of Carrie Gibson’s remarkable analysis of how the Caribbean began to be seen as a tropical tourist paradise. In her BBC Radio 4 piece, ‘Four Thought: The Trouble With Paradise’, Ms Gibson, went through evolving ideas of the Caribbean. She should know.  She’s the … Continue reading “How did the Caribbean begin to be seen as an earthly paradise?”

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What’s next for Haitian tourism? An expensive London promotion office?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 4, 2014


Now that Haiti has its first foreign office of tourism promotion – it’s in Santo Domingo, next door – expect more of the same around the world. Next stop possibly London? Then, Paris? Let me explain. Back in June, as I travelled back from Cap Haitien to Port au Prince, I heard some unmistakably English … Continue reading “What’s next for Haitian tourism? An expensive London promotion office?”

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Port au Prince has resilient qualities, but it can’t really be a ‘resilient city’

by Rashmee

Posted on February 2, 2014


Can Port au Prince ever be a resilient city? I would argue that it already has resilient qualities, at least in the classic sense of the word, which is to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. But resilience also means recoiling or springing back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed. Port au … Continue reading “Port au Prince has resilient qualities, but it can’t really be a ‘resilient city’”

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Here’s how and why Port au Prince, Haiti, uses its head – of broccoli

by Rashmee

Posted on January 28, 2014


It was this recipe that reminded me I might have to wait awhile to roast a whole head of cauliflower with impunity. This is not a vegetable you routinely see in Port au Prince, except for relatively expensive, plastic-wrapped, imported heads in the supermarket. They rarely look very fresh and it’s discombobulating anyway not to … Continue reading “Here’s how and why Port au Prince, Haiti, uses its head – of broccoli”

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Kreyol notices in Broward County advertise Florida’s big Little Haiti

by Rashmee

Posted on November 25, 2013


It was only when I saw the kreyol notices in the bus that I remembered what everyone already knew – that Broward County, Florida, has a large Haitian population. How large is large? Big enough to warrant public directions in kreyol, one of just three languages represented. The others are English and Spanish. According to … Continue reading “Kreyol notices in Broward County advertise Florida’s big Little Haiti”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US