Dress to Impress!

7th May

Every day brings a new experience! Today we attended a funeral of a lady who lived quite close to where I’m staying and Sr. Rose and Sr. Nazareth (Naza) knew her.

Despite not being well off everyone who attended was dressed in their best clothes, much more respectable than generally seen at home! Looking at the congregation you certainly wouldn’t think the people were short of money, and there seemed to be a big coffin, which seemed to me to be spray-painted a lightish blue colour. The family of the lady who died were wealthy enough and one of the sons lives in Miami but had the body brought back to the home place for burial.

Just as well Rose and Naza had explained to me the ways of funerals in Haiti. The ‘wake’ goes on all night the night before, with lots of keening and howling and music, and we could here it right up to maybe 2 or 3 am as we’re close by. It was raining through the night and only for that the ‘wake’ may have gone on till morning.

At the funeral itself in the church the keening started again as soon as the priest finished the sermon, and spread among the womenfolk. Some of their singing drowned out the sound of the howling but not fully.

Afterwards a band leads the funeral procession to the cemetery which isn’t far away and the congregation walks behind, much keening and howling again, although the music is happy music and that’s important to the Haitians as they want to see their beloved ‘sent off’ happy!