Windows on Haiti is indeed a family, much more than an accidental community. The love has been pouring in the last few days.
At times, I felt alone. Moreover, I had no time to prepare for a celebration. In addition, the news coming from Haiti was grim. Would people care to mark the occasion? But, as the saying goes, "Dizan se pa di jou" (ten years is not the same as ten days). Out of respect and genuine devotion for the community that has nurtured my soul for the past 10 years of my life, I decided to take the basic steps to facilitate an anniversary get-together and hope for the best. The success is now virtually assured, in spite (maybe, because) of the spontaneous nature of the occasion.
Soon, the calls for reservations started coming in: 5 people from Canada, at least 2 from Boston, 2 from New Hampshire, 2 from Maryland, and many others...
Knowing that the costs of coming to New Jersey would be significant, I decided to assume the costs of the reunion, and decided not to ask for contributions... other than the usual pitch to help Windows on Haiti whenever you can.
Then someone local called and offered to bake a cake. "Great!," I said. That was just the beginning. Another member offered to bring chiktay, two more... rice and beans (I had to cancel one of them), another... soup joumou and fritay, still another... wine and kola. Hennessey was even offered, and I refused, not willing really to take it to that level of sophistication. A bottle of Rhum Barbancourt should be enough. It's a good thing I had already ordered the Haitian beef and fish patties, because otherwise I would not even have to participate in bringing any food whatsoever. I would have been left out. I did not want to be. I will also bring the cutlery and dinnerware (made from the most precious plastic and paper stocks, of course). Almost all set to go... though no one has talked of fruits or greens yet. Nutrition, it seems, is for the birds... In any case, we will not worry about it. Not on this day. Perhaps, the day after.
But, sorry, no "mayi moulen ak sos pwa". Unless Tidodo or Leonel have arranged for a surprise delivery. The two of them are always up to some "mayi" trick. They appear not able to stop talking about it.
Wear something Haitian, if you can. [If my wife is reading this, please remind me to wear my Haitian flag pin! I almost always wear the same boring clothes, I don't think I have anything typically Haitian... except for that T-shirt, I was forgetting, the one that says simply "heal haiti"... the one that Fanfan gave me. If you remember, wash it for me, darling. You KNOW that I'll forget.] But, for the rest of you, remember : it's casual... Windows on Haiti casual... or be very sexy if you like. There will not be any penalties.
Talking of T-shirts, I will have commemorative ones, with a Windows on Haiti 10th anniversary logo. Unfortunately, they will not be given "free", as I will have to recover the costs of printing them as well as the room reservation in this very elegant hotel (one that has been the overnight stay of several U.S. Presidents while visiting Newark, NJ). So, whether you can make it to our anniversary get-together or not, consider the acquisition of a T-shirt or two (4 or 5 is not out of the question) for an "in kind" donation.
Also, be ready to talk (very briefly) about your individual projects if you like. As long as they have something to do with Haiti. No real estate deals in Florida, please.
There will be some light entertainment. Steve Polanve has promised to bring his drum. I hope that someone else will bring his guitar along. And who knows what else will happen when Leonel begins his round of "off color" jokes. Someone will have to stop him. I am putting Anacaona up to the task. She is the most innocent among us.
See you soon, Jaf, Manzè Choublak, Palmis, Kaptenn, Marlene, Anayiz, Shelony, Anacaona, Tayi, Marilyn, Dave, J-Man, Fanfan, Fafane, Leonel, Ketty, Nunee, Alta, Barnabas, Serge, Rachelle, Pressman, Wanda, Phopho, Chris, Lisa, Juny, Tammy, Steve, Buyu... and all others who have made a commitment to come and grace us with their presence.
I have looked at the horizon and I predict a gloriously beautiful spring day, perfectly tailored for the 10th anniversary of our Windows on Haiti family.
Guy S. Antoine
P.S. The picture on my website was taken many, many years ago. So, there is no need for wisecracks. You'll get where I am too some day... If you have not met me yet, just look at my picture, and transpose "grey" for any trace of black. No matter, I still look good...