Articles

Jacmel, Sursum Corda

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Hello, the text that follows will illustrate the vision of two young writers who by mutual agreement decided to make you discover Jacmel. Not having the same literary style, they will try, in their way to take you to Jacmel or rather to bring Jacmel to your screen. The texts will be available in both English and French. Good reading.

Meet the writer

My name is Muhreah. I’m a young Haitian blogger/writer who was born and raised in Jacmel.  May 1, 2018 , is the day of the two patronal saints, (St Jacques & St Phillipe), and it’s a particular day in our lives as Jacmelians. It has inspired the trend “Ann Al Jakmel 2018” launched on April 28th, 2018. I’m using this opportunity to bring Jacmel to you, and anyone unable to physically experience what it’s like to be in Jacmel on this eventful day. Therefore, I present to you this short documentary based on our beautiful culture, our history and our love for Jacmel.

History and Culture

“Founded in 1698, the town of Jacmel was a very prosperous trading port at the time of French colonization. At that time, the company of Santo Domingo exported by the port of this coastal city, an important production of sugarcane, coffee and essential oils.

The Cathedral of St Jacques and St Philippe erected in 1709.

After 1804, Jacmel also played a leading role in the history of the Liberation of Latin America, as it first welcomed Francisco de Miranda, who created the Venezuelan flag and later Simon Bolivar the liberator of Venezuela.”

During the second half of the 19th century, Jacmel experienced a great period of prosperity. Its port quickly became a hub for export. Especially the exportation of coffee and other essential oils that were mostly going to France. The rich traders decided to turn the city center into a trading center after the huge fire in 1895. They imported many architectural elements from Europe to build warehouses for their business, but also for them to reside in. Many traded on the ground floor while they lived above.

“Later, in 1925, Jacmel was the first electrified city in Haiti and the entire Caribbean.

In 2010, the city of Jacmel was once again struck. This time it was an earthquake that destroyed many colonial houses and damaged important symbols of the heritage of the cultural capital of Haiti.

In addition to its remarkable history, the chief place of the southeast Department is known for its cultural richness marked by many artistic personalities, such as the writer René Depestre and the poet Alcibiade Pommayrac whose famous phrase “Jacmel, Sursum Corda” still resonates today in the hearts of the Jacmelians who never let themselves be slaughtered.”

Jacmel is also known as a festive and artistic city. The Jacmelians are well known for their sense of celebration. Our carnival has long been the best. The troops that were prepared for the long year, handmade their mask made of “Papier-mâché” (chewed paper). They worked meticulously to make us live a memorable carnival. During the carnival period, the effervescence is uncontrollable in the city. Many masked troops parade. Foot bands made us dance with upbeat sounds. Jacmelian artisan products are colorful and vivid. And it’s also part of the city’s economy. Moro Baruk is say one of the fathers of the artisanal community. Him and his wife had established a Bahai community for the people. who has enlarged over the years.

We must not forget to underline the fauna of Jacmel. This small town is a paradise for surfing. The waves are perfect for practicing this sport, and the beaches are very beautiful. You cannot go to Jacmel without being able to spend a day at the beach. Be it “Raymond les bains”, “Kabik” or “Lasalin” for the younger people who’ll want to hang out to have fun and enjoy life.

kanaval 2
Source: Yolo Ayiti
kanaval 1
Source: Yolo Ayiti
foire 1
Source: Patrice Dorleans

There is also the Michel Divers museum which is located on the road of  Cyvadier. The museum was created in 2013. It used to be called “Carnival Museum” which was renamed “Museum of Michel Divers” in tribute to its founder. The museum presents a permanent exhibition with the theme “in the footsteps of Michel Divers”. You should also know that at the beginning, Michel Divers displayed his personal collection in the museum and it offers thematic exhibitions twice a year.

F1BFA543-9191-4EED-B0EB-F5A037BCAAB8
Source: Christfort Photography
912FF649-E620-46CB-840B-F85AC8B97D98
Source: Christfort Photography

“Ann Al Jakmel 2018”

This week a new trend is born. If you’re on Twitter, you probably saw the hashtag #AnnAlJakmel. It is an initiative of a young man from Jacmel, who like many of us would like to see things move towards the positive and share his experiences as a resident and his love for Jacmel. Read along and find out who the person behind the trend is.

Muhreah: Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Doug W.: I am Doug Williamson (Prestans), I am a young rapper and entrepreneur of 28 years old!

Muhreah: Could you tell us about the “annaljakmel2018” movement?

Doug W.: #AnnAlJakmel is a campaign to enhance the tourist attraction of our beloved city, an initiative integrating several other young people who believe that one day we will be able to give Jacmel back the tourist affluence of the past… we aim to promote Jacmel and the activities that are to be held there.

Muhreah: How did you come up with this idea?

Doug W.: It was inconceivable to me to see my hometown losing all its cultural and touristic aura. Our carnival, our “champetres” festivities are almost worthless! Which causes a considerable deduction of our small economy, which leads to the disadvantaged classes paying the price.

Muhreah: What is Jacmel to you?

Doug W.: In a few verses, I would say:

“Jacmel, ma terre

Mon cœur s’y perd, mon âme s’enterre!

Berceau de mon enfance,  mon doux marécage!

Même persécuté, je saurai mettre mon exil dans tes sillages!

Amour de ma vie”

Muhreah: What are your favorite places to visit?

Doug W.: Jacmel period fascinates me, but its beaches make me even crazier! Some of which you don’t know already exist, they are not as popular and accessible as Raymond Les Bains! #AnnAlJakmel and I will show them to you…

Muhreah: What would you advise someone who comes to visit Jacmel for the first time?

Doug W.: Entrust your stay to “Ann al Jakmel” and you will have the best time of your life!

Muhreah: Do you have any futuristic plans?

Doug W.: Besides my personal ambitions, I want to help young people who are committed to achieving our common dream of seeing Jacmel touristically well positioned on the global scale.

Muhreah: Do you think #AnnAljakmel could become an emblematic figure of Jacmelian tourism?

Doug W.: I believe in it and I’m working at it! Fortunately, I’m not alone! I believe in the team! One day, this simple hashtag will be known as a meaningful movement.

Muhreah: What are your tips for the younger generation of Jacmelians?

Doug W.: Do not be as stupid as those who have preceded us, it won’t be pleasant to live anywhere else but at home, Jacmel! So, let’s make this town our own house, stop treating it as if we were just for a stopover! Let’s act for the good of our town.

A big thank you goes to Doug Williamson for being so nice and answering all the questions.

d4759539-a112-4bbd-bfcc-1edc20bec7e5
Source: D.W

Jacmel through our lenses.

Jacmel is a beautiful town in Southern Haiti. It’s also the best vacation place for anyone yearning for a quick getaway, a breather. However, to me, as a young woman who was born and raised there. Jacmel isn’t just a vacation place, Jacmel is an experience. A feeling. But, don’t take my word for it. See and feel Jacmel through the others who’ve experienced it as habitants, or visitors. See and feel Jacmel through our lenses.

We decided to hear what others had to say about Jacmel. So we’ve asked a few questions to different people. Jacmelians and people who came to visit the city on various occasions. We asked them what would be the most important tourist places to visit in Jacmel and all their answers were similar:

-Kabik

-Raymond les Bains

-Bassin Bleu

– Congo plage (Lakou Nouyok)

“I have visited Raymond les bains , lakou New York , La saline, Bassin bleu , Marigot”  – Patrice Dorleans.

“If you want to party, go to Belvedere” – Marc A. Guillaume.

Bassin bleu, kabic” – Ritchy Olivier Saint Surin.

Dooley K. Andre is a 19-year-old Jacmelian, who now resides in Port Au Prince, Haiti. I knew Dooley since middle school, and when I told him about the short documentary, he did not hesitate to answer any of my questions. Read along to find out what he thinks and how he feels about his hometown.

Muhreah: What was it like growing up, in Jacmel?

Dooley K. Andre: Growing up in Jacmel was fun. Jacmel is a beautiful city. There are always new festivities yearly, and cool parties hosted by the young students of our town.

Muhreah: When and why did you move to Port-au-Prince?

Dooley K. Andre: After I graduated from High School, I moved to Port-Au-Prince in September 2017. I had to leave for college.

Muhreah: Have you been to Jacmel since? If yes, what made you go back?

Dooley K. Andre: Heck yes! Jacmel is my town. My soul. I come back whenever I can around holidays. Christmas, carnival and most importantly around May 1st. Those are the times where the city has the most visitors.

Muhreah: Where do you and your friends hang out the most?

Dooley K. Andre: My friends and I mostly hangout at the club. Le Belvedere. Before that, we used to go to Barak when we wanted to chill without a large amount of people around. We often go to the beach, Raymond les bains or chill at Lakou New York at Ka Chantal. We’d eat there, drink and talk. You know how we do.

Muhreah: What do you like the most about your hometown?

Dooley K. Andre: Well, we may be poor, have electricity problems and stuff but, we are very creative. We are the town of color, of culture. I like everything about Jacmel. The heat, the beaches, the people. Lastly, I like the fact that we always remain united in a way.

Muhreah: What do you think about the “Ann Al Jakmel 2018” movement?

Dooley K. Andre: To me, “Ann Al Jakmel 2018” is a way to manifest, to show the people around the country, around the world how proud we are of Jacmel and to show them what it has to offer. I think “Ann Al Jakmel” was a great iniative.

Muhreah: What would you recommend to someone who’s visiting Jacmel for the first time?

Dooley K. Andre: We have lots of places to visit. Such as: “Bassin Bleu”, “Raymond les bains”, “Lakou New York”, and let’s not forget “Le Belvedere” and “Barak” our most prestigious clubs. I want to invite your lectors, wherever they may be, to come visit. I promise they will enjoy their stay.

belvedere 1
Source: Yolo Ayiti
bassin bleu 1
Patrice Dorleans
lasaline 2
Patrice Dorleans

To all my fellow Jacmelians, enjoy the festivities. Celebrate as you know so much. Good day, Jacmel. I wish from the bottom of my heart that you start to shine again.

French version of this documentary can be found here: Jacmel, Sursum Corda

This was, Jacmel through our lenses.

Written by Muhreahwrites.

 

 

 

 

 

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