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Photo-Essay: Haiti After the Earthquake, Part 5: The Fishermen of Cité-Soleil

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Veve of Agwe

Agwe is the Vodou loa of the sea, fish, and aquatic plants, as well as the patron god of sailors and fishermen. As you can see, his veve is a stylized boat. His companions are the whale, fish, crab, and the siren or mermaid. Immamou means, basically, "Holy" or "Sacred".

The sea has always been central to Haitians' livelihoods and sustenance, hence the importance of Agwe in their pantheon. One of his consorts is La Sirene, the siren of the seas, another one being Erzulie Freda.

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Click here for Part 1 of this series.
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
Click here for Part 4


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Georgianne, Andre and I continued to drive in our Dodge Raider down the ragged main boulevard of
Cite'-Soleil, with actual cracks and fissures in the road surface from the January 12th earthquake randomly appearing here and there, until we could actually see not only blue horizon, but blue ocean in the distance. Soon we were coming up upon the end of said boulevard and the beginning of a fair sized fishing pier. I was immediately mesmerized, for it was as if we had suddenly lept backward in time a hundred years. I was staring at antique-looking, rigged-sail fishing vessels moored at the pier in front of me, and to my left, was casting my eyes on fishermen in the distance wading into the ocean up to their waists and chests and dragging giant nets, a timeless method of fishing going back to Biblical times.

Cite'-Soleil, a giant slum of who knows how many hundreds of thousands of largely impoverished Haitians, sustains, I have read, some three thousand fisherman whose daily forays into the sea help nourish the population of Cite'-Soleil. Here then, is my homage to them in this photo-essay:

After I hopped out of the Dodge, I started getting my bearings, looking back down the road we had just come from. Already the kids had taken note of us and were on their way. You can see the large earthquake fissures in the roadway as well.

Looking to my right I spied this grounded fishing boat.

The kids are gathering around now,

and putting on quite a pose.

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A boat anchored near a seawall. Its owner is in the water I believe.


But I, being of a nautical disposition, wanted to see the fishing boats, so I walked down to the end of the pier. Three sailing sloops, I believe you would classify them, but correct me if I am wrong, were moored to the pier, several being off-loaded. In the foreground to the right are heavy stacks of coal sacks, coal being commonly used for cooking in Haiti.

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I am a student of history, religion, exoteric and esoteric, the Humanities in general and a tempered advocate for the ultimate manifestation of peace, justice and the unity of humankind through self-realization and mutual respect, although I am not (more...)

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