HAITI: La Revenante

For the village of St. Michel-de-1'Atalaye, high on Haiti's Plateau Central, it was a day of both sadness and fun. The older folk, according to the Haitian custom, alternately wept & wailed, feasted, played cards. For the younger ones there were endless ghost stories and riddles. It was the day of 26-year-old Alina Souf-frant's funeral.

Alina, a sturdy, black peasant girl, had been paralyzed in both legs for six months or more. One day she became feverish and lapsed into a coma. Three days later she stiffened and turned cold; then the wake began. One ancient Haitian custom was omitted:...

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