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Life Arts    H3'ed 6/1/10

Photo-Essay: Haiti After the Earthquake, Part 6: Life on the Street in the Heat and the Markets

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A young boy and some goats near the waterfront of Cità Soleil.

Veve of Ayizan:

"Ayizan is the wife of Loko, patron of healers and plants, she herself being the patroness of the marketplace and public spaces. But it goes deeper than that, because the marketplace in Vodou represents the entire Earth plane of existence.

To quote from the Sosyette du Marche website:

Where Loko Atissou is the father of all kanzo initiates, Ayizan is the Mother of all Initiates. Ayizan Velekete is her full name, and she is often seen as a very old woman, with an apron that has deep pockets. Ayizan is a root Lwa, bringing the mysteries of the Kanzo and of life and death to us here in the Marketplace. The Yoruba tradition refers to the earthy plane as the Marketplace, so it is fitting that Ayizan is the one who brings them down to us. She is the Lwa that tears into the djevo during the Chire Ayizan, purifying it for the hunyos (the spirit children), who will birth into Mambos and Houngans.

"Her veve is comprised of her initials, the "A" and the "V", intersecting across each other. The veve is sometimes further decorated with stars and whirls to imitate the royal palm frond, shredded and worn by every initiate of Vodou." (source)


Click here for Part 1 of this series.
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
Click here for Part 4
Click here for Part 5


If you have been following this series (or if not, click on the past posts above), Georgianne Nienaber, Andre Paultre and myself had been standing on the fishing pier at the end of the main boulevard of
Cità Soleil, so now we had just climbed back into our Dodge Raider for the plodding drive into Port-au-Prince proper from this giant slum-suburb of Cità Soleil, plodding because traffic promised to be heavy this time of day, early afternoon on Monday May 10.

It was quite hot and humid out and we could already see large clouds forming in the blue sky. This inevitably meant rainstorms would be coming later in the day, but for right now, everything was still dry and dusty, and that kept me reaching for my water bottle all the way back to downtown Port-au-Prince as I leaned out the car window shooting photos as we hurdled along. Or sometimes we would stop to go investigate something, and I would then take more shots on foot. As we reached the center of Port-au-Prince, I focused largely on some of the unbelievable earthquake damage.

What I, in essence, came up with was a potpourri of photos of Haitian life and death (there are still bodies under all the rubble) on the streets - streets and boulevards that are like the veins and arteries of the Haitian people, far more than just mere avenues of transportation, but veritable sources of food and necessities, community and information, particularly because prices in the grocery and other retail stores are too high for most of the citizens of this impoverished nation, So they barter and trade, sell and hustle right off the roads, in the hot sun, seven days a week.

So follow me again into the striking reality of the Haitian people:

Goats figure traditionally in the rites of Loko, consort of Ayizan.

Blue tarp tents for earthquake refugees are everywhere, including in Cità Soleil.

An open market where the only shade comes from patio-size umbrellas. In the background is a building that was blasted by UN forces during one of their brutal raids on Cità Soleil.

Better closeup of sales ladies of the marketplace

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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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