Daughter of Vodou

Summits Education
Nov 8, 2017 · 2 min read

A small creek and a field with tall grass but separates Katiana’s house from the Summits school in Guindette-Sarazin. Behind her house is a grove of banana trees, her father has just planted cassava and plantains. It’s the rainy season, and there are many mosquitos here.

In a second wooden house, much like the one where she and her younger sister sleep but bigger, her father is finishing with a client. When the client walks out, he has a list of things to buy, and what to do with them to make sure what he asked for happens. When Katiana’s father walks out, he slurs a bit of his words while reminding the client what to do, and when to come back. He’s been drinking Kleren, a pure alcohol made from sugar cane.

On Nov. 1 and 2 of last week, Haiti celebrated Fèt Gede, gathering at cemeteries to pay tribute to their ancestors. It was busy at Katiana’s house, with clients in and out, and a big celebration for the occasion. Dancing to twoubadou, dressed in white and purple, the skull of one passed before held over the palms of the living.

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Katiana is the daughter of the community Vodou priest. He is also a farmer. Her mother sells produce from their garden in the market. But Katiana, a 6th grader in the Summits school of Guindette-Sarazin, has hopes of being an engineer so that she can “build houses for [her] parents, and [her] community.”

In Katiana’s family, death is another lwa or spirit, a door that marks our passage in life. But even while overcome by Spirit, Katiana’s father talks mostly of his love for his daughter. His tone is impassioned. It’s a dream that doesn’t necessarily rely on Rasin Ginen: the hope that she receives an education, so that she can become what wants to speak through her.

With your support, you can help give an education: www.summits.org

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