Presenting My Book at Notre Dame d’Haiti in Montreal

On Sunday, November 8, 2009, I returned to Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic mission in Montreal, where I had done part of my fieldwork for Faith Makes Us Live several years earlier. I must admit that I was nervous when I returned to my fieldsite. Would people remember me? Would they appreciate what I have written? As soon as I walked through the door and saw old friends, all my fears went away. I showed many people the book, including where I had quoted them. I gave out flyers about the book with the link to the website. I saw many people who sang with me in the choir and who I interviewed for the book, including this family pictured here. At the end of Mass, I spoke to the congregation in Creole, telling them about the major argument of the book and thanking them for their hospitality and generosity while I was doing research in Montreal. Sitting in the front row of the church next to one of my friends from the community and singing in Creole reminded me of how much I loved doing the fieldwork for my book. Although I hardly get the opportunity to speak Haitian Creole or even French now, I was amazed at how fast these languages came back to me. In fact, walking around Montreal for 5 days speaking French and Haitian Creole almost feels like speaking in tongues–I am truly amazed that I can communicate in these languages that I practice so rarely!

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