I recently discovered a wonderful blog (published through France Info) that provides anecdotes, testimonial writing, and spectacular photographs of daily life in Haiti. Jean-Marie Théodat, associate professor of geography and conference master at the University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, lived over thirty years in Paris. After the earthquake, he decided to return to Haiti to help with rebuilding efforts, in particular, the restructuring of higher education. He moved to Port-au-Prince in April 2010. Through his blog, he narrates his resettlement and day to day observations.
I was deeply moved by this blog and its fresh perspectives on life in Haiti—including the joys, tribulations, and simple pleasures of daily endeavors—and was personally struck by his latest post. Here, as he observes Haitians and foreigners working together “in a sympathetic blend of sounds, languages, and colors” from his window facing the ocean, he wonders what made him choose a life of letters over a life at sea: “Sitting at the edge of the water, I wonder what fate kept me from being a seafarer. I know that it is too late and that I am permanently lost to sea life, attached as I am to the port. But I do not speak only for myself. Among my classmates, no seafarer, no fisherman, no trans-oceanic passenger for the long haul: all beings of the land, civil servants, pen-wielders, and doctors. No admiral, no captain, no sailor, etc. [. . .] How I would have liked to hoist the sails, climb to the top of the mast and hang from the ropes, grazing the waves in the storm!” [My (rough) translation from the original French text.]
Born in 1961, Jean-Marie Dulix Théodat was previously in charge of curriculum development at the École Normale Supérieure and professor of history and geography at the Alexandre Dumas Lycée in Port-au-Prince. He is a member of PRODIG (Pôle de Recherche pour l’Organisation et la Diffusion de l’Information Géographique) and was co-founder in 2001 of LAREHDO (Laboratoire de haitiennes et dominicaines), which specializes in transnational exchanges between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He is author of Haïti-République Dominicaine: Une île pour deux 1804-1916 (2003).
See Jean-Marie Théodat’s blog at http://radiofrance-blogs.com/radio-ibo/