I’ve learned so many lessons from people here: lessons in optimism, lessons in Plan B. (Haitians are experts in Plans B and C. Things never go to plan.) Grâce à Dieu — “Thanks to God” — is an expression that fits in every conversation.
Artwork is the pulse of Haiti: Caribbean Craft’s extraordinary papier-mâché, Pascale Théard’s beaded veve work, the beat of RAM’s Haitian drums, the adored songs of BélO, the PAPJAZZ festival every January. I go to Hôtel Montana Haiti from time to time for a drink at the end of the day. It has a beautiful sprawling terrace that overlooks Port-au-Prince. There’s something about the view: the palm trees as the light goes down, the airport’s small landing strip, and, behind that, the mountains.
The mountains are Haiti for me. When the sun starts to set, a slight breeze picks up and the leaves of the palm trees blow, and I just exhale. Everything goes quiet there. I close my eyes — a moment to be grateful: I’m here.