Back when the world was simple the only gas station in Miragoane was a mile out of the city in Carefour Des Ruisseaux and was owned by an old white-haired Arab named Yesush but we all called him Jesu. His son Toufic , my friend all my life, had one of the few cars in the city, A Ford model T (Ford 4 pedales) We used to like hop in and didn't care where he was going. But Toufic never let anyone else drive it. Jesu forbade that; so we lived within that limitation, but we loved that car no less. (souvenir de J. Christian Sajous)
Les magistrats de Miragoane:
- Maurice Gousse (1919)
- Gerard Barthelemy
- Germain Guilliod
Les médecins/chirurgiens qui ont travaillé à Paillant durant les années de la Reynolds 1956-1982:
- Dr Symphar Bontemps
- Dr Raymond Pressoir
- Dr Fritz Jaeger
- Dr Remis Obas
- Dr Charles Pouponeau
Les équipes musicales de Miragoane d'antan:
- La Muse
- Les Melomanes
Les équipes de football:
- Fleche Royale
Prédécesseur Frédéric Doret
Successeur Louis Augustin Guillaume
Nom de naissance Pierre Fernand Hibbert
Date de naissance 3 octobre 1873
Lieu de naissance Miragoâne (Haïti)
Date de décès 19 décembre 1928 (à 55 ans)
Lieu de décès Port-au-Prince (Haïti)
Conjoint Marie François Pescaye
Profession Journaliste, enseignant. (J. Christian Sajous).
His name was Georges Mussott. In Miragoane, our parents called him "Tonton Georges". Never married, he was cousin of Tante Claire; he lived upstairs from her but almost never was seen at gatherings; not very social; he always wore a light colored suit and went for walks with a cane always at the same time every other day at dusk, weather permitting. You could set your clock by this man. He never smiled. Ever. I never once spoke to him, because we respected him to the point of never saying one word. Some of us feared him and dreaded doing anything of which he might not approve, like being too loud near his bedroom window or being unruly when he walked by. He always walked down the same street and back by the other. He tipped his hat only if greeted and went home without stopping by anyone or saying anything.
The most remarkable thing about him was that he played the piano for a short time every Sunday afternoon at dusk; same song, same time, same day, never changed. I always thought it was a Chopin prelude, but one day a few years ago while rummaging through Spotify's repertoire of Piano music I fell on the song Tonton Georges always played; Love Dreams#3 by Frantz Listz.
This revelation raises a question about Georges Mussott. I dare not speculate but I often wonder if this one song was reminiscent of a lost love for him. I don't know. Never will... I am not sure I want to know.(J. Christian Sajous).
Jeunes filles de Miragoane à un reposoir circa 1965.
Le reposoir: une tradition presque disparue à Miragoane. La fête du très saint sacrement appelée, dans la langue liturgique, la fête du corps du Christ et, dans langue populaire, la Fête-Dieu est l’occasion où l’église, notamment catholique rend les honneurs publics et solennels au seigneur Jésus-Christ dans la sainte eucharistie. Cette fête date du XIIIe siècle. À cette occasion, en Haïti comme dans d’autres pays de la planète, des fleurs sont répandus dans les rues et à l’entrée de certaines maisons, dont la devanture est ordinairement couverte de draps blancs et de feuilles de cocotier ou de palmier utilisées pour la circonstance. De petits autels sont dressés pour la dévotion des fidèles et des jeunes filles habillées tout en blanc presentent des offrandes.(Ralph Gousse)
I dream of buying that house again from whomever owns it and doing a fee-optional Bed&Breakfast and receive my childhood friends and/or everyone I knew for a few days in our home town; a taste
of Paradise again. What a dream that would be. Imagine that. (by J. Christian Sajous).
Miragoane had a French priest named Pere Bellamy. One day he got bored with the routine of his life and built a movie theater, practically across the street from us. It was there that I saw a movie for the first time. It was an Italian production called Joselito. later Ii saw all those Hercules yarns there and the next year PSYCHO and THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO. Years later I heard that Father Bellamy while visiting his home country for the first time in years was killed in a Paris traffic mishap.
Like a true Miragoanais, I refuse to believe that Father Bellamy died. I prefer to think he still lives at the back of the church building and still runs the movie house on Friday nights. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.(by J. Christian Sajous).
To the near right, ( the closest houses to the viewer ) was a neighborhood called " Detours". The seafood was best there and there were a few good joints that cooked Poisson Gros Sel. This is where the Jean-Bart family and my mother's half Brother Ludovic ( Ti Do ) Faublas lived. This road if followed through will fork in the road leading to Paillant on the left and Tite Anse Beach on the right. Les Detours was a very "folkloric" neighborhood full of people who knew the best ghost stories and leaf remedies for every illness.
To the far left of this picture, past Elias Joseph's house , past the stairs that lead to the church, past the house where Masillon and Clermina Roc raised not only their children but those of
their late brother Victor, the neighborhood is called " AMBA FORT " ( under the fort ). My friends and I used to go fishing there, near the house of the Jabon Family not far from the
soccer field where Mano Georges thilled us on Sundays with at least one surgically placed " GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL". (by J. Christian Sajous).
One day a family of strangers moved into town. They built the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses west of us between Elias Joseph's fabric store and the home of Jacques and Germaine Rey. I was warned against making friends with "moun sa yo" but I went the same day and shook hands with them anyway. I got blank stares from home but my father was proud of me for being inclusive. (He had taught me early that there is not one person on this planet who is off limits to my respect and friendship) " se pititt papa'l " people said to dismiss my disobedience. The Witnesses were led by a pastor named Guy Longchamps and he lived at the back of the Hall with his wife and infant son as well as his wife and her two brothers who were more or less my age. I was impressed with how well they knew the classics, such as the writings of Racine, Moliere, Dantes, Voltaire, but especially the Bible. One of the boys knew the Sermon on the mount by heart - the whole sermon. Many evenings I was invited to sit with them "sur la gallerie" and role-play a classic play or a Bible conversation. Pastor Longchamps always praised my ability to memorize several scenes of Corneille's El Cid; after reading it twice I was ready to play Don Sanche or Shimene, or Don Alexandre or even Rodrigue. I loved them all and can honestly say I learned a lot about Christianity from "moun sa yo". Wednesdays I got into the habit of attending their studies and services out of sheer respect, curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Sometimes there were no more than 3 or 4 people in the Hall, but slowly the congregation grew over time. Eventually I dragged them to my house and included them in all town activities ( after all I was the Mayor's Grandson ) One day one of the boys asked to go to mass with me the next Sunday morning. He wanted to reciprocate for my presence at the Wednesday Services. When I walked into church with Sergo. I got blank stares again but that was OK because I looked over at my father and he had a "that's my boy" look on his face. That's all I needed. Whispers of "Se pititt papa l" were the best compliment of all.(by J. Christian Sajous).
The local "Hougan" whose "Hontfort" was in "Detours" was a barefoot, gaunt looking man whom everyone feared. he seemed blacker than most. When he walked in town everyone seemed to get out of his way and not even look him in the eye. Sometimes he sat and had a meal with the shoe-shine boys on the Hardware store's stoop. Some people believed him to be the incarnation of Legba, one of the Seven Gods of the Pantheon of Yoruba. People believed he was immune to bullets "pa pran balle" and could disappear into thin air at will. (though nobody ever really saw him do that) His name was Ti Toro ( little bull ) I remember being impressed that I lived in a country where an ordinary shoe-shine boy, or anybody else could sit down and have lunch with a God. In the spring of 1964, when I questioned my Grandfather about Ti Toro's invulnerability to bullets he reminded me that six months before JFK had been shot in the head twice. "If such powers existed, he said wouldn't Kennedy have it before this idiot?" From that day on I put Ti Toro and all other barefoot and illiterate walking "Gods" in perspective.
Was the one in Paillant known as an expert drummer? (Conga Drums) If so he was Roro. as he became famous later among musicians in Port Au Prince who discovered him in Paillant and learned the
beats from him to incorporate in modern dance music such as Compas and Zook etc. Gee I wish i had paid better attention to my surroundings back then; sometimes memory fails me now.(by J.
Yayi was my very first friend. Sito Duval, Yayi's cousin my second. The three of us were inseparable. We were almost the exact same age; We played either in my side yard, Sito's
front yard , Yayi's back yard or on the street. We learned to ride a tricycle and took turns. We played marbles as soon as people were sure we would not swallow them. As we grew up a few steps apart
we shared everything, clothes, toys, money. We taught each other everything we could find out, like: How to play "Oselets" with girls (and let them win), and jump rope with them in ways
calculated to make their skirts fly up, Marel, "Lago Cacher", etc. We learned how to make "Cabwett" swim in the ocean, make a "fistibal", play Soccer with rolled up socks on the streets, make our own
kites and fly them on the hill in Bel Air. I can honestly say that my childhood experience was what it was in large part because of these two friends.
Sometimes Antoine Khoury, (yes, him) used to give us rides on the back of his motorcycle but when my father found out he asked Antoine to no longer include me. Sito and Yayi at first took rides alone but soon stopped when they saw that I felt left out. Antoine got a real kick out of this sort of loyalty and admired my friends for it.
My memories of junkets with my friends in Miragoane, Chalons, Lebrun, Tite Anse, Paillant, Mussott, are many and some of them can be told. If and when I write and publish those stories I will first reach out to them, verify the details, and in some cases ask for permission. More to come, some good, some not but all is true.(J. Christian Sajous).
I wonder if Michele remembers the incident with the mangoes. It's been almost 40 years.
One Saturday morning, market day, my friend Michele Duval and I got it in our heads that we'd love to have a few mangoes.
- How much have you got?
- I don't know, maybe two Gourdes.
- I have three, how much is a sack of mangoes?
- Five gourdes... less if you shop around.
A few minutes later we had some 40 mangoes in a sack that we ate slowly while "regardant les passant" from an open half door at her father's clinic. It took all afternoon to finish and we washed them down with some "Spur Cola"
When I got home that evening my grandfather wondered why I had no appetite. When he found out he laughed so hard I thought he would never stop.
- Why do you laugh, Papitte?
- Well I guess this week we will finally spend a little time together
- What do you mean?
- You'll see. and he laughed again.
I found out what he meant the next day. I spent the next four days in my room, ten feet from a bathroom. This self imposed quarantine was the result of 20 mangoes going through me. I felt lucky I had a Doctor in my house and so did Michele. The next weekend, when we finally set eyes on each other again we burst into laughter and swore never to eat another mango again...ever.(J. Christian Sajous).
One afternoon in Miragoane, I found Yayi in tears.
- What happened?, I asked
- My neighbor died.
- I am your neighbor, I said and I am alive
- Be serious, not everything is a joke; I mean my neighbor on the other side.
- That guy who works in Reynold's? The truck driver?
- Yes, he sobbed. he was driving after dark and fell in a ravine. He's dead. The "veillee" is tonight at his house. Funeral set for Friday.
I used to love to avoid those somber gatherings but Yayi was my best friend and I wanted to make him feel better. This was the first time I saw a dead body. The room was lined with people dressed in dark clothes sitting on chairs with backs to the walls. The dead man was on a table in the middle dressed in white with fingers locked together and lying facing the ceiling. All the women were sobbing and all the men were shaking their heads as if in disbelief. One of them was recanting the story of the accident. Some of the women prayed out loud and the widow was hysterical. I was struck by how young the dead man seemed; 36, maybe 38 but no more. Yayi sat next to me in the next room and put his face in his hands. Children ran around and were scolded by their mothers. Not a dry eye in the house. A very sad affair.
As the evening grew older the sobbing and hysterical yelps slowly gave way to deep sighs of resignation and statements of "que ta volonte soit faite", and then the food arrived. All ate heartily, chatting as they went and had some Kola Champagne. Later the Rum Bottles were popped open and the men gathered to the back of the room and opened the "boite blague"; very funny and sometimes dirty jokes that evoked open belly laughs and back slapping gladness.
-What are they laughing about, I asked Yayi.
- They're glad
- Glad? glad of what?
- They're glad, that's all
- Glad about what?
- They're glad it's not them on the table in the middle.
Life was that simple; death too.(J. Christain Sajous).
In Miragoane "Zombie" stories were peanuts in a world of elephants; everybody had plenty and all were willing to share - especially on a moonless night or during a blackout. When the telegraph operator - a raspy-voiced man named St Cyr - died of apparently natural causes, stories of him as a Zombie spread like wildfire all over town. Now I was particularly frightened because St Cyr used to laugh with me as a child, ruffle my hair and was very pleasant whenever he saw me. Sometimes I rode my tricycle on his "gallerie" he would even give me a "surette" (but never "chicletts", lest I swallow one) St Cyr died later when I was about 14 or so and was buried 3 days later in full view of all. Notwithstanding that, people swore they saw him in town at night. I complained to my grandfather and expressed a wish to never see St Cyr again. He assured me that I would not, because only those who believed in such things would see him and if they do it would be a mental picture not a real one. That calmed me a little but not completely. The real proof was offered by my father: "Make up a story, he said. Invent one from scratch and make sure you lace it with all sorts of scary details, like disappearances into thin air and animal metamorphoses and see what happens. People will believe and go repeat it as if it happened to them". I did and it worked of course exactly like my father said. Later in life, as I re-examined the St Cyr affair I realized that the whole thing was a control issue. The story-teller is always in control of the listener's emotions, much like movies ; ever notice they turn off all the lights in the movie house? It is done for effect. My father's opinion, which was like Gospel to me, was that those stories are all bullshit. How they affect you depends on which of the two sides of them you are on. If you are the "raconteur" you are the "hammer" but if you are a listener you're the "nail"; either way, lies, all lies, but fun and often entertaining lies... just like the movies.(J. Christian Sajous).
As a teen, I often went hunting with my father, and several others who included a very intelligent man, our gardener Pouslee. My father was hesitant to teach me, at 14 years of age to shoot a rifle. As he had taught Pouslee to shoot, the latter in turn taught me fairly quickly. We started with a Benjamin pellet pump-action air rifle and later graduated to a more accurate .22 caliber telescoped rifle that we used to hunt "Ramiers" (Quayle) and "Pintades" ( Guinea Hens ) in Fond Des Negres. One day, on the return trip we stopped by Chalons to buy some gas for the pickup truck. The "Pintades" are a low flying bird which could often be found walking on the ground scavenging, like chickens do. While we waited for the gas I could clearly see one to my right some 20 yards away. I grabbed the .22, took aim at it and had what I thought was a clear line of sight for a good shot, but for some reason at the last second three things happened simultaneously: 1. I hesitated , 2. the bird flew off, and 3. a man slowly walked across my field of vision and then toward me. I realized that had I taken this shot I might have hit this man. This experience frightened me and took away my sleep that night. I kept thinking I almost shot someone. When I told my father about it he said " things don't almost happen; they either happen or they don't, learn something from this and put it behind you ". But for me it was dramatic enough; that was the last time I ever went hunting and for the rest of my life I never shot a rifle again. So one might say I learned from this that firearms are not for me. (J. Christian Sajous).
A heavy rain in Miragoane used to bring water raging from the hills of Nouvelle Cite through town via Grand Rue all the way to Amba Fort, ending in the Ocean. People knew better than to be in its way; even dogs took shelter. Such an event was named "DLO DESANN". This kind of avalanche had no mercy and often washed up the stoops of most buildings. Nobody complained. They simply cleaned up and went on with it.(J. Christian Sajous).
Miragoâne est une ville côtière à l'Ouest d'Haïti et le chef-lieu du département de Nippes. Elle a été et est toujours considéré comme l'un des principaux ports dans le commerce de marchandises diverses.
Superficie: 71,76 miles carrés (185,9 km ²). (Wikipedia).
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