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Group Alchemy Publishing

Anse-À-Vodou: A Summer with My Father in Haiti

Anse-À-Vodou: A Summer with My Father in Haiti

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Anse- -Vodou: A Summer with My Father in Haiti is a creative non-fiction memoir focused on the author's personal experience with spirituality, paranormal and occult phenomena, and Haitian culture from a first-generation American perspective. The author's love for magical realism is apparent in her style.

Mary Gaetjens' father was a Haitian Vodouist from a prominent Catholic Haitian family. An extreme nationalist, he was in exile under Fran ois Duvalier's regime when Gaetjens was born in the United States. When he returned to Haiti post-Duvalier, his dream was to help bring about economic and politcal reform. He wanted nothing more than to see his beloved country thrive, her people happy.

Gaetjens' mother devoted her life to working for the greater good, always with equanimity, pleasure, and fearless abandon. Her passion for thwarting injustice rivaled her husband's. She didn't think twice about marrying a black man in a prejudiced blue-collar town in the 1960s.

Gaetjens' parenting encouraged her psychic gifts. At a young age she was exposed to Haitian Vodou and the indigenous practices of the Cherokee in northern New England. Both cutlures live with a holistic approach to the natural world that includes spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of existence, far more advanced than the ideals of Western culture.

Gaetjens' parents' belief that the secrets to a global utopian society were held in indigenous communities fueled her fervent interest in the plight of people living in service to the spirit of nature and her concern for preserving their cultures.

As an adult Gaetjens feels compelled to expose the appalling maltreatment of native peoples. She is passionate about shedding light on the beauty and purity of traditonal beliefs, customs, and relationships.

Gaetjen's Uncle Joe, though Haitian, scored one of the top ten soccer goals of all time for the U.S. in a World Cup game vs England in 1950. Though he'd no political affiliation, in 1964 he was assassinated during Fran ois Duvalier's regime by Duvalier himself, who killed him as a warning to families that opposed him. Her father was also assassinated in Haiti, in 1990, shortly after her twenty-second birthday and three months before she planned to leave for Haiti to work with him for political reform.

Gaetjens went to Haiti for the first time in 1989. She spent as much time as possible in various Lakou - the home temple grounds of local Vodou communities. She photographed ceremonies and learned as much as she could about her ancestral heritage. She traveled deep into the countryside with Konp Filo, a well-known Haitian activist, television and radio personality, and Vodou priest.

Woven into her book are her viewpoint as a young Western woman of her father's culture from personal experience with Vodou, a feeling of homecoming with ancestral spirits and an affirmation that others interacted with spirits, Haitian and American history, the story of her father's family, particularly his own and that of his brother Joe, and her self-healing journey. She began writing in 1989 and stopped after her father's murder in 1990, but never stopped thinking about finishing her book. She felt a haunting compulsion to make amends with the spirit she had spoken to on her first visit to Haiti, the spirit who'd prophesied her birth. "He told my father he had betrayed him by not writing a book on JFK twenty-five years ago.... To me he said, Do not betray me like your father did....honor the voice of spirits that hold both counsel and war in your blood.... The spirits gave you a connection between blan and Haitian...your own gateway.... a child of people born in slavery and aristocrats born in featherbeds.... Trust the path you have been given...."

Author: Gerard Ferere, Mary Antonine Gaetjens
Publisher: Group Alchemy Publishing
Published: 01/03/2018
Pages: 394
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.16lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.00w x 0.81d
ISBN: 9780985753221

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