Thursday, December 13, 2007

Haitian art is kickin’

The uniform winners!

Haitian art is lively! I love the colors. The same applies for the kids’ school uniforms. All Haitian kids who go to school are required to wear a uniform. Here’s my favorite ensembles I’ve seen thus far:

3rd prize: Kelly green shorts/skirts (Girls always wear skirts!) with pink shirts. (The boys looked macho.)

2nd prize: Kelly green shorts/skirts with pink, green, and brown plaid shirts. (Uber-macho.)

Grand prize winner! Red shorts/skirts, orange shirts, and the yellow socks-plus-hair-ribbon combo! ALL Haitian school girls under about age 12 wear hair ribbons—LOTS of them, sprouting from all over their heads! They are cute like I never was and never will be. Socks are typically white and frilly. How can you argue with yellow knee-high socks as part of this overall warm-color scheme?

The bus combos

How many nights did I wait for the 14th St. bus in DC for 20, 30, ++ minutes, impatiently craning my neck into oncoming traffic, hoping to spot my ride home approaching in the distance? Well nothing would have put a smile on my face like a Haitian bus! DC has yet to catch on.

First, no neck craning required. I’ve never been to Vegas, but these busses must put on a comparable light show. You can spot them from 9 blocks away. Reds, blues, flashing white lights. Little lines of lights dancing up and down the sides. I did think the police were coming after me the first few times they approached from behind. And what do they light up, you ask? Let me just tell you my favorites. I was coming through the suburb of Carrefour one evening. The traffic was a nasty stand-still, but bus-watching was spectacular. The richness of bus art comes from the combos. The aim is to assemble all the things that interest you, and draw them on one bus. Step 1: Pick your biblical character of choice. A bloody Jesus, a friendly Jesus, Moses with Commandments. Next, pick your favorite modern-day luminary. Could be Michael Jordan, Matadona, Che Guevera, or Shaq. You can even make Jesus and Shaq shake hands. Also spotted is the full ensemble from the Lord of the Rings. I personally would choose my mother. So do many Haitians! A wife or significant other is likewise an acceptable motif for the large empty space in the back of the bus. And if you can’t get enough of yourself, sure you can just draw yourself on your bus, too. Last step: if you’re really inspired, paint a motif on every window. No worry that passengers get no view, the view is on the outside looking in! A “♥ Jesus” in every window is a winner every time. If the bus crashes, guaranteed direct ascent to Heaven for driver and all passengers*. You better believe that’s my bus!

*Mom, I’m not a heathen yet.

PS—I’ve made amends with little Lovelyn who lives behind me. She and her sister Katolyn were back to frolicking and flopping around on my couch last weekend, until I let them know it was time for me to get some work done. When Katilyn saw me at my computer, she was curious. I pulled up some maps of Haiti online, and showed her where Louisiana was, too (of course!) We also had typing 101; good times with a keyboard!

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