Léonce of Dame-Marie,Haiti: A True Free Man
Something from the ocean, something from the hills
By Marcel Duret
Co-author: Kettly Mars
It was four o’clock in the morning, pitch black, cool, and we were about one hour early. When our driver turned off the car’s engine, life seemed suspended to the songs of crickets and the spicy smell of mountain vegetation. It was an eerie moment for a city man like me who is intoxicated with artificial noise day and night. Léonce had promised as a farewell gift to end my three-day stay, that he would take me to “Planò” Hills, a few kilometers south of Dame-Marie, to see where the earth and sky become one. We waited in the darkness, using our cell phones when we needed light, talking and sharing the cassava, avocados and bananas that the generous old man had brought.
Léonce does not remember when he became a fisherman. He was born a fisherman; his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather were men of the sea. The salted smell of the ocean has always impregnated his days. His livelihood depends on the high or the low waves. Some days are good, others are bad.
Léonce’s voice seemed timeless. During our wait in the crew cab, I looked back at the last days spent with my old tour guide in this incredibly beautiful Haitian town nestled between sea and mountains. tj
The complete article can be found in Issue #274 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.