I suppose it seems morbid to post about something like funerals. They seem to happen a lot here, even before cholera came to town. Since it’s pretty rude, disrespectful, and just lame to take a photo of someone in a funeral procession, I have not. However, today I was sitting on the roof and I heard them coming down the street, so I ran and grabbed my camera, and real sneaky like got a few photos.
Haitians do death differently than we do. For one, they sure do see a lot more of it than we do, or at least than I personally have. And let me tell you, and because of it they are a tougher and more resilient people. One big difference is they are very open about their crying and weeping. They carry on with loud moaning and wailing right after someone dies, and do this for most of the day. At first, I found this display of wailing and crying disturbing, and it made me so sad. But, I have to say, after living here for a bit, I have come to accept this new way of doing things, and rather think it’s more normal to express the awful way you are feeling inside when someone you love has just died. It seems rather more awkward and abnormal to sit quietly at a funeral and try not to make a peep.
Funerals and such are very important to most Haitians, and they often spend a lot of money on them. If they can afford it (or even when they cannot), they put on a huge funeral procession. They lead a large procession down the street from the church,or the place the person lived, to the graveyard. There is a marching band in front, followed by the vehicle with the casket, followed the family walking behind it crying or wailing, and then all the friends after that. A lot of money is spent on the casket-often putting families into debt-which when lowered into the ground is cracked, so that no one will steal the casket. There sure seems to be a lot of funerals here, but maybe I just notice them more than at home cause it’s such a public thing?