Pal franse pa di lespri pou sa*: Haitian Books & Proverbs

Pal franse pa di lespri pou sa*: Haitian Books & Proverbs
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Pal franse pa di lespri pou sa: To speak French doesn’t mean you are smart (For most Haitians French is a foreign language; a language for “putting on airs.” Thus the point here is: Fancy talk doesn’t mean one has the brains to go with it.)

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“When they were enslaved, our foremothers believed that when they died their spirits would return to Africa, most specifically to a peaceful land we call Guinin, where gods and goddesses live. The women who came before me were women who spoke half of one language and half another. They spoke the French and Spanish of their captors mixed in with their own African language. These women seemed to be speaking in tongue when they prayed to their old gods, the ancient African spirits. Even though they were afraid that their old deities would no longer understand them, they invented a new language our Creole patois with which to describe their new surroundings, a language from which colorful phrases blossomed to fit the desperate circumstances. When these women greeted each other, they found themselves speaking in codes.

-How are we today, Sister?
-I am ugly, but I am here.”

Edwidge Danticat, from Haiti, published Krik? Krak (1995) and Breath, Eyes, Memory (1995). She won a Pushcart Prize for a story in the Caribbean Writer in 1994 and also was a recipient of the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for fiction.