Day Breaks in Dezam
Mornings in Haiti are my favourite time of the day, because unlike the quiet suburban Canadian town I grew up in they are so vibrant, colourful, and alive. And even after two years of living here, I am often filled with wonder with how different the smells, sights, and sounds are from where I call home, and how it is that I ended up living in this town which seems to me like something out of a storybook. So one morning, I decided to write and share what my senses were experiencing.
Shh, listen, do you hear that? Close your eyes and take it all in.
It’s 4:30 am and you hear the sound of church choirs warming up, while off in the distance voodoo drums are beating to the same rhythm as your heart, and roosters are boastfully crowing while donkeys mournfully bray, and then the sound of lonely cooing doves comes in, while farmers walk to their fields calling out their "bonjou koman nwit la te” to each other. The tolling bells of the parish tell me it’s 5 o'clock.
And now breathe in and breathe out. There’s the smell of garlic and spices roasting over smoky pinewood fires, and wet earth from last night’s rain, and then in wafts the heady smell of orange blossoms drifting to the ground. You want to stay cocooned in bed but you get up because kitty’s incessantly meowing for breakfast in your ear.
So now it’s 7:30 am and the sounds are replaced by school children chanting their lessons, water buckets filling, shoe shiners roaming the streets ringing their bells, vendors crying out for you to buy their wares, and then there’s the chorus of tropical birds- the like of which you’ve only heard on school trips to the zoo, while the little girls next-door are singing gospel hymns, and wait there are young boys galloping past your gate on horses, and mother hens clucking and scratching the earth for their little ones, and trespassing baby goats leaping back home to the sound of their mommas bleating, while the smell of roasting corn brings a wave of nostalgia for freshly made tortillas.
And so another day starts in Dezam.
Raquel Conde grew up in Canada, where she studied international development at the University of Guelph and did her postgraduate studies in International development at Humber College. She is currently the planning and reporting assistant working on MCC Haiti’s Reforestation and Agroforestry program in rural Dezam, Haiti.