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Mexico City: Flores y Colores

This technicolor dream post is brought to you by the marvels in and around La Ciudad de México and by sunflowers. I’ve grown a love of sunflowers. In recent years, they seem to cross my line of vision everywhere, and when they don’t, I often find myself seeking images. I like how, when seen up close, their […]

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The Arab Spring Break: Egypt Edition

“I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it…My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” — Langston Hughes This promises to be a long post.  I’ve tried hard to condense it, but this experience is resistant to brevity.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t attempt to encapsulate a trip of this length or magnitude in […]

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The Arab Spring Break: Jordan Edition

Checking in luggage is the rookiest of rookie travel moves.  I did it, and paid for it. Blindsided by an overzealous agent at the EgyptAir counter at JFK, who insisted on weighing my prized koi fish orange spinner carry on, and finding it five kilos overweight (EgyptAir has a strict 8-kilo carry-on weight limit), I […]

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Shall We Gather at the River?: Gullah Voices and Echoes

  “My tale begins just before the rising of the sun…Dayclean, we call this, when the day is new and the world is made fresh again.” —from God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man by Cornelia Walker Bailey Katie Underwood is ten years old. Named for the intrepid midwife who delivered countless babies in the Gullah […]

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Lost and Found: What I Learned from this Sojourn

  Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has one of the most powerful endings in literature. In this novel which chronicles the dramatic rise and ultimate downfall of Okonkwo, a black Ibo clansman, the story is literally and figuratively taken over in its final chapter by the District Commissioner, an unnamed, incredibly minor white character, who […]

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Beneath the Mountains Lies Pleasure Valley

Deye mon gen mon (Beyond the mountains, there are more mountains.) —  Hatian proverb I now know that I needed to come back because my childhood memories of Haiti never included mountains. As a literature teacher, I make it a point to emphasize the importance of context in a piece of writing–historical, cultural, and political, […]

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Hot and Cool in Jacmel

  I’m writing this post perched on a canopied four-poster bed that rises so far off the floor that, at 5’4″ tall, I either need a running start and a leap, or a chair to climb into it; Ive opted for the chair. The yards of thick mosquito netting that normally drape down from the […]

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Art and Craftsmanship: Port-au-Prince Day 2

  This will likely not be my last post about art and artistry in Haiti. Art, of both the high and low varieties abounds, and surrounds you even along the dusty, ruined streets that must have once had sidewalks. Artists display their originals, or original copies, on everything from clothes lines to fences. The ubiquitous “Loto” […]

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The Magical History Tour: Port-au-Prince, Part 1

  We spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday, our first two days, reuniting with friends and family who had either never left Haiti, or who had chosen to return out of love, for work, or both. Among the former group, were my aunt, and three of my mother’s cousins, the aforementioned pressers of uniform pleats, […]

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Homeward Bound

Back in February, I found myself uttering the words “We should go to Haiti” on a phone call to my sister, with whom my parents were staying for the week. To understand the magnitude of this proposition, and the ultimate decision to embark on this family pilgrimage, you need a little background. We are Haitian […]

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