Sunday, March 7, 2010

MESS, LAKOU and Bumi Sehat

Hello dear friends,

Life here has been full and great, I have not really had the time to update so here it is...

I have been working with MESS, volunteering at their clinics and also as a mental health consultant. They actually implemented one of the ideas I mentioned, which is to set up regular healing circles for different age groups.
We had a meeting on Monday and on Wednesday they had set up a day of healing circles for about 100 children of all ages! It was really successful, I sat with the toddlers in a healing circle in cute little wooden chairs.

The newest project I am working on is bridging Bumi Sehat,the new traditional birthing center from Canada and Indonesia respectively,with Haitian women that are members of MESS. Specifically, women interested in peer counseling in the 5 different focuses Bumi Sehat has designated including: nutrition, family planning, joyful parenting, sexual violence and healthy pregnancy. I organized a meeting that took place last week for the two groups and over 50 women arrived at the dome! It was very exciting, and was also very successful. A few of the women who were present at the meeting have already begun to work side by side to assist in translating for the foreign midwives while they have worked in Jacmel area hospitals. The next step is to meet and plan out how to translate these group ideas into functional groups for Haitian women and where and how often they will take place.

I also helped plan a memorial for Flo that took place last night.It was a truly incredible night. First, we had food, drink, a live band complete with a giant finger piano and banjo and stories shared at the backside of FOSAJ, the art school Flo directed. We then held a vodou ceremony at La Saline,a gay vodou temple here in Jacmel. Their Mambo, Mambo Erez, is a lesbian who also runs 3 halfway houses for GLBT vodouans who no longer live with their families. It was really incredible. We had a candle light vigil in the temple and all held hands in a circle around the alter where we placed photos and other special items belonging to Flo. Yunel, a member of Lakou, sang a beautiful song and Mambo Erez then led the group in several songs of prayer and mourning. We finished off the night back at FOSAJ on the beach drinking Barbancourt and dancing while one of the FOSAJ artists Macarthur started painting a portrait of Flo.

Today I will be going to Port au Prince to attend a Women's March commemorating the lives of Magalie Marcelin, Myriam Merlet and Ann Marie Coriolan, 3 leaders of the women's movement here who lost their lives in the earthquake. I am planning to film this event as it should be yet another incredible day.

Another piece of exciting news is that some of my new friends from Jacmel are coming to the US next month.
The group is called LAKOU performance, they are an all queer dancing, drumming and singing troup. Alot of them are a part of the the gay houngfor at La Saline. Eleven members of Lakou will be in the US for possibly 3 months and I am trying to hook them up with cross country or at least west coast shows. They are coming to SF on April 18th to perform at Dance Mission's Cuba Caribe festival. LAKOU was a part of FOSAJ, but after the earthquake and Flo's death, FOSAJ kicked out all of the queer artists that Flo brought in!

They are now without a space and alot of them without homes. But they
are undeterred and they even practice in the streets! I could use any help in organizing shows for LAKOU across the US. Please get in touch with me if anyone can assist in setting up shows in the US for them, which includes hosting them. So far, they might perform at Thee Parkside in SF at a benefit my mother is setting up for MESS April 25th.

Whew, that's it for now.
Thanks so much for your love and support,

Ivy Jeanne


  1. Let me know if they'll be coming through Chicago and I'll totally set something up. The benefit for MESS was awesome and $400 should be floating out here on the internet for ya!
    love, ruth

  2. Ivy! Everything sounds so amazing! Can't wait to hear all about it when you come home!
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo HELEN

  3. I am in awe. i love you. xoxo cookie

  4. Hi IVY, I miss you...
    I have an event April 11th in Kittery, Maine/Portsmouth, NH that would be fun to include Lakou. Other than that, I can try and get other dates in the same gallery venue. And a gallery in Lowell, MAss might be able to host another night. I don't have space to put up 11 people. But I could probably find space to shelter and feed them. These opportunities are about an hour north of Boston. Acutally, I could probably find them three dates in Northern New England...

  5. If there is any chance they can come through Tennessee we can certainly set up something at Ida and also in some nearby cities.