Back at home, I always stay up on New Years’ Eve but we don’t really do anything special – maybe there are some extra treats on hand for eating. Even if I’d stayed inside this year too, it still would’ve been fantastic because I’d be doing it in Haiti: if you’d told me at the beginning of 2013 that I’d be ending it in Haiti, it’s not that I wouldn’t believe you, but I’d be really curious about how I ended up there.
Of course, I didn’t stay inside – since I’m here, I wanted the full experience. So Junior and I welcomed the New Year by watching fireworks and a parade from the park in Petionville.
Then, the next morning, instead of sleeping off the late night we went out to meet Junior’s family on the outskirts of town, in a community formed after the earthquake displaced so many.
There, I had my first taste of soup joumou (pumpkin soup), the dish everyone makes on January 1st to celebrate Haitian Independence Day. They created it back in 1804 to celebrate the uniqueness of the new country and to defy the idea that rich dishes such as pumpkin and soup were not appropriate for slaves.
For me, it’s a symbol that people can really bond over something that’s new and different, whether we’re talking about a country, a pumpkin dish, or a certain laptop project I’m fond of. It’s also just really delicious.