I’m attending the Haitian Studies Association meeting at Indiana University this weekend. IU boasts one of the best African Studies Programs in the nation and a (if not the only) Haitian Studies Institute.
I am, of course, very excited to be here. I’ll be presenting my paper entitled “No Mangroves to Cross: Haiti’s Ecological Crisis in History and Literature” tomorrow afternoon.
My flight into Indianapolis from State College was very smooth. I came through Philly which I just learned is in the throes of a transit strike, now in its sixth day. One thing I will say about the international airport is that anyone who thinks that the problem of the color line has gone away need only look at the division of labor there. Who’s mopping floors and who’s taking tickets?
In order to get to Bloomington one has to take a shuttle from the airport. Well, while I stood in front of an unattended kiosk trying to figure out how to get the shuttle I made eye contact with a strikingly beautiful older woman who looked just as bewildered as I did. Turns out she was also on the way to the conference with her husband, Dr. Gerdes Fleurant, one of the founders of the Haitian Studies Association. They have a cultural center in Mirebelais (Centre Culturel Leocardie). We figured out how to negotiate the shuttle together and spent a wonderful couple of hours together waiting and talking about everything under the sun. Turns out they’re both be at the Ghetto Biennale Conference in Ayiti next month as well.
We arrived one hour after setting out, I checked in, found some pizza in the lobby and settled in after my very long day of traveling. Today is another day. I am well rested, I’ve downed several cups of coffee, the sun is shining and I can‘t wait to see what this place has to offer.