I lived in California for nine years, before my father convinced me to come down and share his experience in hell with him, so I moved here to Florida. I was astonished at the population of Haitian who were already established here. I would soon discovered, that the vast majority of those who lived here, originated from the Countryside of Haiti. Although, I’m originally from Haiti, my siblings and I were not accustomed with the unpolished manners of those who lived in the outer Cities, the countryside of Haiti. So my uncle who lived here, being aware of my limited experience with my people, and my passion for writing told me one day: “I’m sending you to a place in Little Haiti. When you get there, I want you to stand there just for a few minutes, and by the time you leave, I guarantee you a nice theatrical script. So make sure you go on a Saturday, and “THEY” will all be there.”
“Who will be there?” I had asked him. “THEY” are your people. The raw country folks from Haiti, straight from the Country side; believe me, you won’t get them any purer! In fact, even in Haiti, I doubt if there are any more of “those types” left there. But I’m warning you though; leave your “French” at home. In fact, lock it up in a suitcase before you go there. Because if you forget, and go show off speaking French, those country folks will reap your heart apart, then turn you into a horse to ride to Haiti.”
I knew my uncle had a great sense of humor, and he enjoyed a great laugh. So I went there with great expectation. Oh boy! Zubi Market, was the place to be on a Saturday morning.
It was about nine Nish when I arrived. My shock started from the parking lot, when I heard everyone speaking creole, loud. When I finally made it near the meat section, I had to squeeze, push and dove myself through the crowd, just to obtain a number from the dispenser, near the glass counter. It was a delight to see I was number thirty four, while the last customer being called was seven, so I knew I would be there for a while. Apart from the Clerks who were Cuban, the whole store was crowded with Country Haitian people. My uncle was unquestionably right; “creole” was all I needed. The majority of them were speaking LOUD, with the familiar unpolished creole language. Many of them were dressed with combination of colors which, “ I swear on my Grand-mama’s grave, whom I loved dearly” I never even dreamed my people would have the audacity to wear. Mixtures of orange and purple, lime green, and hot pink, white and red, you name it, they had it on. I think that’s when my “Fashion design” inspiration flew away. Hey! “rayi chien, di dan’l blanc” Which means in creole: “hate the dog, but at least admit his teeth are white.” I said that to admit I loved how they tied their hair beautifully with colorful scarf, which made them all look beautiful. So, while I was there, I stayed focus while looking at them upward, and tried not to look down so I would not be hypnotized, with their definition of fashion. Oh! I forgot to mention about the gold they wore as well. Between their large gold earrings, pure gold watches, bracelets, and rings with every kind of stones in existence, were enough gold to rebuild the whole temple of Jerusalem, and the streets of gold they mentioned in heaven. I stood there while observing their interactions, their face gesture and body languages, then smiled, while thinking to myself “this is the place to be!”
“THEY” Are my People:
She was a dark skin heavy set women, and “let’s just assume she was pregnant, if you know what I mean.” (But she was not.) She had a purple heavy poly pleats skirt, and a bright hot poly pink shirt, with a green scarf. To complement her fashion statement, she had “red shoes, red purse, and enough gold to open her own jewelry shop. I heard her talking to the clerk, while pointing with her fingers:
“Yayayy! Tis one I said! Non. Non. Tis! Tis! (tis meaning “this”. non, meaning “no”).
Apparently the clerk was not getting which one of the hen she wanted. Finally she got so angry and started to curse him in her impression of the English language:
“Tis man never know what I talk abot. Look at his stomach looking like an eggplant with indigestion!
Tha why I donn like to get him when I come herrre.”
Translation: “This man never know what I’m talking about. “Look at his stomach looking like an eggplant with indigestion! This is why I don’t like to get him when I come to here.”
“So If you never knew, an “eggplant can have indigestion? Well! Today you learned something new. “
Meanwhile the poor Cuban guy was losing his patience. So he started saying something in Spanish, like: “Quequeque…calambaclamba………; I don’t’ speak Spanish, but I knew they were not good words, when all the other clerks behind the glass counter were laughing with him. So she drew herself closer to the glass. We all though she was getting ready to jump over the counter. So we all took a few step back in order to capture the moment. BUT she did not. I took a deep breath, like a “heeew!! As I placed my right hand on my chest.
Then she said: “Listen to me, you thef! I want that chik- end with the “tou piti neck” You pople stole all the chi – end necks, only that one has one tiny neck to it. I never saw before a chik- end without a neck, so don make me angry ok.”
Translation please: “Listen to me, you thief. I want that chicken with the tiny neck. You people stole all the chicken with the neck, only that one has a tiny neck left, and that’s the one I WANT! I never saw in my life, a chicken without a neck. So don’t make me angry, ok?”
That’s when I was ready to sacrifice my soul for my people, after I stepped up to translate to the clerk what she was saying: So I politely greeted the clerk, as she turned and gave me “the look.” It was more like “do you have a problem with the way I’m handling things here?” Before she said anything, I decided to plead for my life. So I smiled at her and whispered in creole: “He’s too stupid, he doesn’t get what you are saying. Let me tell him something.” She was satisfied with my pleading, as she smiled. Now that I felt like I was a member of the club, I told him what the “fat mean lady” was saying. I was surprise at the way he reacted. He stood there for a second, like he was thinking, then he said:
“Ohhhhh! You right mamita, I know what you mean. “In Couba (Cuba) the thicken hath legs, neck, aaand, what’s dyu call it? What’s dyu call what inside againain? All the others from the back answered: “gizzaaa, eet liva, legs… “we even get the caca too!”
And they all started laughing, including myself and all the other customers. Then the same butcher continued,
“But hee? I donno wa happen? You right mamma, I like ever thing in the thicken.”
The Haitian lady was starring at him, with her hands crossed over her fat stomach. Everyone could tell she was getting annoyed, and ready to explode. He was the only one who did not see what was coming.
So I turned to the right to confirm the temperature I was I getting. The lady on my right said “he doesn’t’ see it coming either!” When I heard that, we both coincidently stepped back, just in case. Then like a balloon she finally exploded, as she yelled: “You talk tou much, hairy up! Ohoooooooh!. Wat man talk talk talk! Ohohohoh! I fire you! “
“Ok! Ok! “He answered. “You wantt tis one? Got it!”
So He finally picked the right chic- end (chicken) for her. After she brought the whole meat department which took about an hour, she finally left. .