My Mom came to Haiti last week for her first visit, something that I was a little apprehensive about as Haiti is hard to swallow, but we ended up having a really great time. We toured the countryside on our trusty stallion, Pinotage, went to the grocery store (which is something she likes to do in foreign countries…), and just sat around and talked. It was really great to have a sliver of home here in Haiti, a small sense of normalcy in a place that can be constantly uncomfortable.
But on her last day here we went to Men Nou, which is a Haitian art store in Petionville, close to where Jillian and I live. As my Mom was purchasing her pink flamingo metal work for her “completely sustainable garden” back in the States, I sat down next to the counter and started flipping through this book while I waited:
You don’t need to know French (or Kreyol) to know what “Interieurs d’Haiti” is all about. Each page has a panoramic view of some of the most beautiful interiors in the country. As I was looking at it I mentioned to my Mom, “this is a really cool book!”, and then gasped…
On page 33 is none other than the first floor of OUR ti kay!
So after freaking out in the middle of the store as the employees looked at each other awkwardly, my Mom bought two of the books and gave us one! We traveled back to our house, and as we were walking in the front door our landlady looked down at the bags we were carrying and exclaimed, “I see you got my book!”
I was confused, “Your book?” I said looking at her inquisitively. “Yeah, my book,” she explained, “my husband took the pictures and I did the writing. Our picture is on the back.” And sure enough, we turned the book around and on the back is a picture of her and her husband! The house that we are staying in used to be her mother’s, and our landlady had done the decorating, so they decided to include it.
It’s pretty cool to have this book, knowing that our ti kay is eternally emblazoned in the history books as one of the beautiful interiors d’Haiti. And it’s interesting to see what the house looks like now compared to when it was photographed. The whole layout is different, and even some of the walls have changed color. Here’s what it looks like now:
Jillian and I like the way the house is decorated in the book, but will we change it? Of course not. That would require work, and let’s be honest, when Jillian gets home that time is strictly dedicated to eating cup o’ noodles and watching seasons of TV shows on the computer. A truly Haitian tradition for a beautiful Haitian house.