Haitian Studies Association (HSA) 2005 Conference - Day 1

Prof. Jn-Marie Theodat, University of Paris.

Beating the Rain

  • It rained cats and dogs in New York yesterday and I assumed my bus trip to Boston to this year's HSA 2005 would be impossible, but to my surprise, I got to Boston 4 hours to departure on the dot and for $15! Plus, it hasn't been raining nonstop in Boston like it has in New York, and arriving to a drier port was quite a bit of relief!

A Documentary by Tristan Parry

  • After welcoming remarks by Professors Marie-Jose N'Zengou-Tayo and Marc Prou, the conference opened to a screening of Deye Mon Gen Mon by Tristan Parry of the University of Paris on Kenscoff and Seguin peasants and their fruit and vegetable markets.
  • Kenscoff and Seguin are two mountain towns in Haiti, the first being close to Port-au-Prince, the latter being much farther (in distance and up the hill) but promising to supplant Kenscoff.
  • Indeed, Kenscoff 's output of fruits and vegetables is dwindling due to a confluence of factors that include increased competition by cheaper, more tariff-protected Dominican goods and gentrification of the area by richer Port-au-Princians seeking cooler weather and wishing to flee the city's overpopulated squalor. (Theodat estimated that Port-au-Prince now has over 2 million and possibly 2.5 million inhabitants.)
  • Unfortunately, Seguin suppliers have to walk 8 hours to P-A-P to supply the goods because a road in making for decades has not materialized due to various factors, not the least of which is Seguin's altitude...
  • An animated dicussion ensued, moderated by Theodat, Parry's prof at the University of Paris, (Parry himself did not make it) in which several conferencegoers offered their own experiences working with farmers in the area as well as some of the history behind Kenscoff's current plight. Theodat intends to show yet another documentary today.

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