Posted by: Lydia | September 8, 2010

Friday Night Excitement, Campo Style…. or, Everything Haitian is Better

Matt, Claire, and I have had the great privilege to get to know an amazing man named Leocardio out here in the boondocks. Leocardio is an incredible font of the traditional knowledge that is quickly being lost in 21st century Hispaniola, where the younger generation is fleeing the campo in search of better economic opportunities and have little interest in the crafts of their ancestors, especially when those crafts are Haitian in origin.

About a month after Matt and I came to our site, Leocardio presented us with a gift of an incredible bamboo basket. We’ve been pestering him since then to teach us how to make one, and finally this afternoon we all managed to get together for a workshop with the master. The fact that we had all been awaiting this event with great anticipation all week should give you an idea of the pace of life here.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, since words can’t do justice to the fun of basket weaving. I have no idea if I would have found this so enjoyable back in my American life, but I did used to flint knap for recreation on occasion so… I think my standards for excitement have always been rather prehistoric.

Judy (one of the socios in our grupo) works on a nearly completed basket.

Leocardio’s daughter and grandson.

The gentleman across the “street” kept throwing his chicken feed corn at passing motorcycles. I love the design of his house. Matt and I adapted it to make our compost bin.

And what afternoon on la frontera is complete without freshly squeezed cane juice? The guys running the press told me they use these contraptions in Haiti to grind everything.. coffee, chocolate, you name it. The Haitian dudes make it seem easy, but dang that thing is a workout. All us gringos tried it much to the amusement of the Hispaniolans. Using one of these is called “bajo culo” en español, which translates roughly as gettin’ your booty down. And as we volunteers quien saben always like to say.. todo es mejor lo que fue hecho con amor….. y culo.



  1. I’m so sorry I don’t understand spanish. I know Imust be missing a lot.

  2. Hey Grandma,

    Sorry I know I should put in a glossary…. let me know what words you don’t know and I’ll tell you, or else Sue, Ani, and my mom all speak Spanish.

  3. “todo es mejor lo que fue hecho con amor….. y culo” means “everything is better when made with love… and tuchus”

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