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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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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Cap Haitien: Can overseas flights make an airport ‘international’?

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2014


Cap Haitien “International” airport opened in northern Haiti on Thursday, with an American Airlines plane flying in from Miami. Using the hashtag #“PwomesseDet” (a promise is debt), President Martelly tweeted the moment. Undoubtedly a significant moment for Haiti, the first arrival of a major commercial flight in any Haitian city other than Port au Prince. … Continue reading “Cap Haitien: Can overseas flights make an airport ‘international’?”

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Port au Prince: Bad roads, worse driving,appalling arrogant UN vehicles

by Rashmee

Posted on February 27, 2014


Yesterday, we drove to the supermarket near our house and unusually, were back home in just 25 minutes flat. (That included whipping in and out of the supermarket in a mere five minutes). It was a strange and glorious red-letter day. Let me explain. Belmart Supermarche, Tabarre, in the Haitian capital, is a 10-minute walk … Continue reading “Port au Prince: Bad roads, worse driving,appalling arrogant UN vehicles”

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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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The Burns Blessing for Port au Prince, Haiti: fare thee weel awhile

by Rashmee

Posted on January 25, 2014


Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, And sae let the Lord be thankit. – The Selkirk Grace or the Burns Blessing, which Robert Burns was said to have delivered at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk Burns Night in … Continue reading “The Burns Blessing for Port au Prince, Haiti: fare thee weel awhile”

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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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Anything in English is ‘world music’; everything else is niche

by Rashmee

Posted on October 16, 2013


It is always amusing to hear people talk about “world music”. By definition, world music is anything but popular across (or accessible to) the whole planet. It is not world music at all, but a niche compilation. Common sense suggests that the only music that can justly be branded ‘world’ is that sung in English, … Continue reading “Anything in English is ‘world music’; everything else is niche”

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