Thursday, February 4, 2010

Voodoo Bayou

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, NPR ran a story about voodoo, or more properly vodou, which is extremely prominent in Haiti. It's not the picture we have of dolls with pins and zombies. Rather it is a mixing of African folk religion brought over by captured slaves and the Catholicism of their captors. A supreme deity and several lesser deities got mixed in with God and the saints to make this syncretic practice. People don't contact God, or Bondye, directly, but instead petition the Loa (spirits/saints). Since there is no organized church or central hierarchy, the actual practice varies from place to place and practitioner to practitioner. LEGO builder Jordan Schwartz made this Voodoo Bayou, though it's really based on the caricature than the real practice in Haiti. Just a reminder - we often give generously immediately after a disaster, but donations dissipate after the cameras go elsewhere. The immediate disaster is over, but the long term problems continue. There are tons of great places to give. Here is the Red Cross donation page.

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