BLOG DAY 2: Tigoave Screenings Begin

Ladies of Petit GoaveFriday, July 23, 2010

We are live from the Food for Souls Tour showcase in Petit Goave (Tigwav, in Creole), Haiti. The show is underway, and the crowd is a happy one. They're participating, loving the opening that Michou and Welele performed for them, she on the guitar, he on the drum. We visited the team's camp site earlier. It's waterfront and appears safe, although we heard the "hotel" grounds they're staying in is actually a house of ill repute, if you know what we mean. A FastForward Haiti team member told us the owner and chief pimp was nearby, watching the team's men for interest. That type of activity is off-limits in the Sinema Anba Zetwal (SAZ) world, though. The crew's just happy to have a safe and dry place to camp in.

We had an animated ride from Port au Prince to Tigoave, care of Claudi and the Food for Souls tour's three emcees for the weekend: Maritza, Steve and Gregory. We spoke about life in general, what we knew (or didn't know) about Tigoave, and the beautiful scenery that was just outside our truck windows.

We saw a man selling a rooster on the side of the road in Carrefour. The animal's right leg shook as he was presented to the potential buyer. After a "no sale," the rooster's owner placed a dirty sport sock over its head. Commerce on Haiti streets can be a little harsh.

On our way to the Sinema anba Zetwal location we passed a funeral procession. It was like what you can imagine seeing in New Orleans, complete with brass band and mourners walking woefully behind the hearse that holds the coffin. Except instead of a hearse, a Suburban did the dead the honors on this late afternoon. The mourners were in their best black outfits. We took no photos out of respect, of course.

The people of Petit Goave are a lot more easy going compared to residents of the capital. Tatiana from FastForward Haiti tells us that people from the provinces tend to be more laid back than those live in Port au Prince. The children we met were boisterous and unafraid to say hello. No begging and not a lot of staring, just a flash of amazement every time we showed them their photo on our digital camera. We met a great group of girls through the fence. They posed for our camera like pros, first one then the next. We were happy to run into them during the screenings later that night.


It's going to be a good series of shows, here in Tigwav. The entire GFF crew, including founder Dorothea Green, will be here for the Saturday event. Our prediction is good weather, good vibe and good eats for the many souls who perished here six months ago. And maybe a light soul-snack for our GFF group too.

Thursday was a day of culture, conscience and celebration. The team visited several art galleries and artist's studios, attended some high-level meetings, and celebrated Mrs. Sheila Roy's birthday with dinner and a party.Birthday of Sheila Roy in Haiti

GFF president Kimberly Green assembled a great crowd of friends to honor Mrs. Roy. The group met at Mosaic restaurant, where it was seafood night. It seemed as if all the oysters in the house made their way to our 10-person table. We drank wine and beer and enjoyed Mosaic's food -- fresh and done right. We did wait a very long time for our appetizers, though. But that did nothing to dampen the party spirit. We're not exactly sure how the party game began, but we went around the table, each telling the best advice that our mothers gave us. Or gives us. It was a fun and touching exercise that united us in human spirit, memories and good intentions. One love, as Prestige beer's slogan says.

The restaurant's lights dimmed all at once. For a moment, we all looked around at each other. Wondering if the power had gone out, not an uncommon happening in Haiti. Just then, a Creole version of "Happy Birthday" rang out and our server appeared with sparklers and a lovely dessert tray to present to Mrs. Roy. Sheila-fest was in full effect.

We departed Mosaic and headed to Quartier Latin for their weekly Thursday Cuban night. Melao Latino is the name of the band. The trumpets were wailing, the piano bouncing and bright. The sounds of Melao are probably what attracted the Brazilian UN peacekeepers who swarmed  a delighted Mrs. Roy in flirty fever, before turning their attentions to the rest of the ladies at our table.  The band sang "Happy Birthday" to Mrs. Roy, and another dessert was had. Then came the magic. Sheila, we now know, is an amateur magician. She thrilled so many people, especially children, while in Haiti. She's sly and believable, just as any good magician should be.

And boy can she dance. She hit the floor with our executive director, Anthony Colon. His dance training was no match for her flourish and smooth moves. "If you're gonna dance, dance." That's the advice Mrs. Green shared with us, the advice she got from her mother.

We couldn't agree more.

Also see Petit Goave Blog Day 1 and Petit Goave Blog Day 3