When Joegodson Déralciné was still a small child, his parents leftrural Haiti to resettle in the rapidly growing zones of Port-au-Prince.As his family entered the city in 1986, Duvalier and his dictatorshipexited. Haitians, once terrorized under Duvalier’s reign, wereliberated and emboldened to believe that they could take control oftheir lives. But how? Joining hundreds of thousands of other peasantstrying to adjust to urban life, Joegodson and his family sought workand a means of survival. But all they found was low-waged assemblyplant jobs of the sort to which the repressive Duvalier regime hadopened Haiti’s doors—the combination of flexible capitaland cheap labour too attractive to multinational manufacturers to beoverlooked. With the death of his mother, Joegodson was placed in hisuncle’s care, and so began a childhood of starvation, endlesslabour, and abuse.
In honest, reflective prose, Joegodson—now a fatherhimself— allows us to walk in the ditches of Cité Soleil, to hidefrom the macoutes under the bed, to feel the ache of an emptystomach. But, most importantly, he provides an account of life in Haitifrom a perspective that is rarely heard. Free of sentimentality andhackneyed clichés, his narrative explores the spirituality of Vodou,Catholicism, and Protestantism, describes the harrowing day of the 2010earthquake and its aftermath, and illustrates the inner workings ofMINUSTAH. Written with Canadian historian Paul Jackson—Joegodsontelling his story in Creole, Jackson translating, the two of them thenreviewing and reworking—the memoir is a true collaboration, thestruggle of two people from different lands and vastly differentcircumstances to arrive at a place of mutual understanding. In theprocess, they have given us an unforgettable account of a countrydetermined to survive, and on its own terms.
Vilmond Joegodson Déralciné is a furnituremaker and writer who lives in Canaan, Haiti.
Paul Jackson earned his PhD in history fromQueen's University. His published work includes One of theBoys (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004).
Rocks in the Water, Rocks in the Sun
A Memoir from the Heart of Haiti
Vilmond Joegodson Déralciné
An Essay on Haitian Politics and History
Glossary of Haitian Terms
Pawol Granmoun/Haitian Sayings
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