Although the political news continues to be dire — there are now no legally elected officials in the Haitian government, with the last senate terms expiring a few days ago — the country has been relatively calm around the holidays. The best hope still seems to be the Montana Accords group which proposes an interim government to stabilize the country. The self-proclaimed leader Ariel Henry continues to cling to power as the executive, but the widespread lack of support for him may bring that to an end, one hopes without violence.
Meanwhile, our friends at WORK reported good Christmas and New Year’s/Independence Day celebrations in the community they serve, along with this historical and culinary note:
January 1st not only marks the start of the new year but is Haiti’s Independence Day. On January 1, 1804, Haiti made history by being the first black republic in the world and the first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery. As a way to commemorate their independence, Haitians make and enjoy soup joumou (pumpkin soup). You can download Anne Milouse’s recipe and learn more about the history here.
Roadside cooks on the way to LoCorbe near Mirebalais, who would be serving Soup Joumou for Independence Day. And yes, for those of you who know me, that’s Marinad in the pot, and I ate that one. Plus a few more.
Haiti’s history is a proud and unique one, in which enslaved people obtained their own freedom and established an independent country. We hope and pray that the spirit which inspired them to obtain liberty in 1804 will inspire a new liberty in 2023.
I know many of us have been inundated with requests from Haitian friends to sponsor them for temporary work permits so they can live and work in the US for the next few years. The Haitian Times has an article with fairly complete instructions about how to go about doing that. Note that no one knows how long the process will take, and it could be quite lengthy. Being individually responsible for a person or a family may be beyond the means of most of us, but perhaps there are church or partner groups who might want to consider it. I know that if I lived in Port-au-Prince right now, I would be trying every avenue to get to safety. Here’s the article:
My fervent prayer for this year is that I will have good Haiti news to report!