Welcome to MCC Haiti.

Favorite Kreyol phrases and misadventures

It’s time that we share some of our most amusing moments in Haiti and favorite Kreyòl phrases thus far:

He must really love you!

One night, during our home stay in Dezam, we sat on the front patio with our host parents and a 19-year old friend, Vernard, a flashlight faintly illuminating our faces from its position on the ground in the middle of our circle. We were having a ti koze (a small chat) in the cool nighttime breeze. In the conversation, Ted mentioned that he is 29 years old, and I asked the others to guess my age (not thinking that they would guess I am one year older than Ted.) I was right; Vernard started off by saying, “Well, you must be younger than Ted, so…” and I think they may have guessed 26 in the end. When I revealed my true age, Vernard’s jaw dropped; he let out a loud laugh and clapped his hands in surprise, exclaiming “Wow, he must really love you!”


Our friend Vernard, pictured on the right.

Fè Dezòd

"Fè dezòd" is an expression that means literally “to make” (fè) “disorder” (dezòd.) Children often do this: “Ti moun yo ap fè dezòd!” (Those children are making disorder!)

One friend, also in Dezam, was a 6-year-old boy named Migerson who was often engaging in the activity of “fè dezòd,” so much so that our Kreyol teacher and distant relation to little Migerson also gave him the nickname “Tet di” (hard head) – this also came about because Migerson continued to climb on the grape vine from which he had fallen one morning, bumping his head pretty badly on its roots.

Migerson

"Radyo 32"

This is one of my favorites. Over staff lunch one day, we came across a term for gossip called “teledjòl.” Ted had heard it before so inquired further about its meaning. It’s apparently not a very nice way of saying “hearsay” or to refer to unreliable news you simply “hear on the street.” A young co-worker of ours, Fania, had another great expression for it: Radyo (Radio) 32. The 32 refers to the number of teeth in our mouths, and so Radyo 32 is her way of referring to gossip - love it!

Our great Port-au-Prince ekip - team

There is a dead chicken in your yard

Last Monday morning, the woman who works at our house two times per week - Madam Amid - came to me in the kitchen and said, "You know, you have a dead chicken in your yard..." I did a double take, as I was attempting to track carefully with her Kreyol. "There's a what in our yard?" She took me out back to show me. Sure enough, along our back wall and in plain view is a chicken hanging from a string attached to its foot, dead as a door nail. I asked her, "Poukisa li la??" (Why is he there??) This made absolutely no sense to me. Madam Amid explained that it, surely being a neighbor's chicken, had attempted to fly away but its string got caught on the nails and glass bottles protruding from the dividing wall between our yards. Oops! She then commented, "I tried to take him down last week but the smell was so horrible I couldn't go near him." Again, I had to do a double take. "The chicken was here last week, and I didn't see him??" "Yes," she tells me, "he's been hanging there for about two weeks!"

In memory of the departed (note: this photo was taken by Ted this summer of a chicken
that still lives, happily settled in her home in Davis, California)


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