A few weeks back we wrote about a Symposium we attended at York’s Glendon Campus focusing on the complex issues between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Hispaniola 2011 symposium served as a great networking opportunity for Sway and I as we are able to talk enthusiastically about Local Buttons with many a perked ears.
Following our morning of panel discussions, music by Haitian jazz band, Groupe Révélation and delicious Creole food we sat in on a final panel discussion. We chose to engage in the topic of engaging with Haiti following the January 12, 201o earthquake. Professors from Journalism, Political Science and Geography all spoke on to the earthquake from their professional backgrounds. To close we heard from PhD candidate, Clare Payton, who created the Haiti Memory Project.
As described on her website the project:
‘The Haiti Memory Project is an online archive of oral testimony about the January 12, 2010, earthquake and post-earthquake life. The Project assumes that earthquake is a point-zero in the lives of individual Haitians and in Haitian history; it is a moment that divided time into “before” and “after”. The project is an attempt to document that change. The result is a collection of over one hundred audio-recorded interviews with Haitians in Port-au-Prince in the summer and fall of 2010. The interviews offer Haitians the opportunity to represent themselves and present their own narrative about what has happened to their country. While nearly all of these interviews include stories from the earthquake, most of them tend to focus on post-earthquake life, particularly life in the refugee (IDP) camps. The interviews invite the listener to engage with the intimate and unexpected details of life in Port-au-Prince and to explore Haiti in an entirely new way. While Port-au-Prince is by no means representative of all Haiti, it is the home of millions of Haitians and the majority of those directly affected by the earthquake. The experience of those in the capital city is crucial to understanding the immediate impact of the disaster.’
The interviews range from 3o minutes to 2 hours, often in French or Creole, with a few in English. Clare lived for
months in Haiti learning Creole and meeting with people in order to create this continually evolving project. We were so inspired to meet another young woman working in Haiti, and can only hope to continue our dialogue with Clare. Especially as we plan another trip to Haiti to create the production model for our clothing to be made!
We encourage you to take a look at Clare’s site, it’s a different and unique way of learning about the earthquake and the challenges and triumphs locals have dealt with following.