Haitian: Haitians have a certain look?
My first Sister City experience
My biggest fear made itself visible in a strange and nauseating blur.
It wasn’t disease, it wasn’t death.
It was realizing that within the first hour of arriving to Haiti, I probably wouldn’t be able to shoot.
My eyes moved heavily from the stained bare mattress in which my head was resting upon up. Then through the mosquito netting above me revealing a swaying silhouette of someone claiming the title of “doctor” in Creole.
When I managed to stand, I saw the coral- eaten flesh of my back in a reflection juxtaposed perfectly to the cursive ink on my ribs reading “why not” in French.
Even in this delusional pain, I couldn’t help but laugh.
I’d do it again.
I thought those five words as I remembered my fragile body surrounded by the unpredictable and angry sea. Remembered looking up at the walls of the cliff I had just jumped off of peppered with grazing cattle and more than a thousand shades of green. I’d do it again.
Within the hour, I was on a beach enjoying a meal of cracked conch and picklies. Despite the nearing evening of a bedless outdoor slumber, the approaching days of hiking to waterfalls and clawing my way through the masses of Kanaval, I shot. Every second.
Jacmel, Haiti, known largely for it’s arts and French Colonial character, is considered a Sister City of Gainesville.
About three days prior to the trip, I met one of the founders of the initiative while buying an IPA at the Midnight. He informed me of the Sister City’s documentary and of the trip approaching to film Kanaval.
I bought a plane ticket while at the bar.
The organization had spent 13 trips to Haiti on a immersion of the arts initiative between artists in Haiti and in Gainesville empowering the pride and culture of both cities.
The paralleled sense of like-mindedness of nearly everyone I met over these five days was beautiful.
I think it’s easy to forget the potential and similarities that might exist among human beings after being jaded by exposure to constant negatives.
I left with the single goal of creating images that illustrate the culture, pride, and joy that prevails in one of the most “devastated” areas on Earth.
I came back with so much more.
A life-changing First Rodeo.