Haitian Bleu

By way of Bob Corbett’s excellent mailing list, I find that Haitian Bleu coffee has a website and an online distribution channel by way of Gourmetmagic.

I picked up some Haitian Bleu this summer while in Washington D.C. for the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. It’s a very good coffee, with a different taste entirely from the typical Starbucks-type Arabica variant, and the color of the crushed beans is an orangey-brown, not the deep brown of my usual blend.

The company claims to employ the efforts of some 18,000 Haitians, so buying some Haitian Bleu is an excellent way to support the Haitian economy.

Haiti Solidarity Week

Haiti Reborn is tracking the activities of Haiti Solidarity Week. From the site:

bq. As Haiti heads into its second year after a violent coup d’etat deposed democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide, and in the wake of several natural disasters and as violence continues unchecked, solidarity with the people of Haiti is more important than ever.

bq. We urge organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and internationally to take action the week of February 20 – 28 to support efforts for human rights, national sovereignty, and democracy for Haiti. We hope that you will join with others in helping to raise awareness of the situation facing people in Haiti, in raising funds to assist those Haitian organizations who need our support, and in taking action to pressure for a U.S. foreign policy that will let Haiti live.

Visit Haiti Reborn for more, including a list of events by location and date.

Peanuts and the Arawak

I’ve been reading Cecil Adams’ column The Straight Dope for years. The man is a fount of knowledge, and he now enlists a team of helpers to keep pace with the steady stream of internet inquiries. I’ve spotted a few references to Haitian history in Adams’ columns over the years.

The following reference to Hispaniola and the Arawak showed up in response to a recent batch of questions about peanuts:

bq. The earliest European exposure to the peanut most likely occurred when the Spanish arrived at Hispaniola in 1502, where the Arawak peoples knew of the food and called it “mani” … The first printed Spanish account, from 1535, says, “They sow and harvest it. It is a very common crop . . . about the size of a pine nut in the shell. They consider it a healthy food.


In the process of moving this blog to the new server, I lost a draft I had been saving until the process was complete. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but a minor frustration, and it means that I lost a chance to do a fresh post. Ah, well…

We had our first instance of spam on the brand new site. The main page of the wiki was replaced with an ad for… well, it was an ad. Why anyone gets any pleasure out of this kind of randomly malicious behavior is beyond me, but the good news is that the damage was quickly spotted and easily reversed. I have a program that checks the RSS feed for the Recently Updated pages on the wiki, so I can know within a half-hour tops if there’s been any nefarious activity. Rolling back the page is a simple matter, and the user in question has been banned until further notice.

My own activities with the wiki have been slowed, as I’m deep in the hunt for gainful employment. I have lots of plans and material to add as soon as time frees up, and I’m especially hoping to continue soliciting help from others. The project needs a community to survive, and I hope there’ll be some willing participants who’ll make their way over to the site before long.

Lots more coming soon, including fresh links and features on the sidebar, so keep checking back…

Hayden’s tips for moderating conversations in virtual space

As the community around The Louverture Project starts to grow, it’s worth keeping in mind Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s list of tips for moderating conversations in virtual space. (Via Boing Boing)

That’s what a wiki is, after all: a formalized conversation about a community’s understanding of a topic. For example, if you were to have a discussion with a friend in which you kept track of your premises on a blackboard – erasing and refining your points as your understanding developed – you’d have a crude version of a wiki. Wikis help a community refine and rework information in a way that’s transparent and egalitarian. A good wiki will also have a structure in place to keep the conversation useful for all the participants, and not allow bad-mannered users to have a dominant voice.

If you can read this, you’re here already…

The Louverture Project now resides on a new server, so if you can see this message it means that computers all over the world have found the new site! I did my best to transfer everything over, so you shouldn’t actually notice a difference. If anything seems broken, please send an email to stuart [at] thelouvertureproject [dot] org (replacing the at and the dot with their appropriate keyboard counterparts, of course.)

Onward and upward…

Review of Geggus’ book

Martin Munro has published a review of David Geggus’ “The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World”:http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?isbn=1570034168. The review appears in the latest issue of Modern Language Review, and is available electronically for a fee of $10.83 at “IngentaConnect”:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/expand?pub=infobike://mhra/mlr/2005/00000100/00000001/art00052 (registration required; other delivery options available).

Posting schedule and site update

I apologize for the lack of posting here in the last week, I will do my best to keep on a more regular schedule of updating the blog at least once every couple of days, if not more frequently. I like to post notices of arts and cultural events when I get them, as well as articles of note about wikis, collaborative websites, and Haitian history. If you have any submissions for the blog, please drop me an email at stuart at thelouvertureproject dot org. (Replace the words “at” and “dot” with their appropriate keyboard symbols, of course.)

One of the things that’s had me so busy for the past week has been the hunt for a new hosting company for the blog and wiki. After much research, I’ve finally found us a new online home. I expect the transition to the new service to take place sometime in the coming week. If all goes well, you shouldn’t notice the change, but if you try to access either the blog or the wiki and they aren’t available, don’t panic! Just give it an hour or so and try again.

I’m planning to upgrade the look of the blog soon, with a snazzy new banner, popular links, Amazon book lists, and more, so stay tuned, and please keep in touch. I’m most concerned about making The Louverture Project both a place people want to visit and a source of accurate, timely information, so drop me a line or leave a comment every once in a while and let me know how we’re doing.

Event: Bonga & The Vodou Drums of Haiti

Saturday, February 5, 10:00 PM

27 West 26th Street (between 6th Ave and Broadway)
New York
212-576-1155 or www.satalla.com

Bonga: This traditional Haitian drum battery is comprised of family members
who deliver straight-up Vodou rhythms. Great spot for a nice vibe of
mizik rasin (roots music) with an uplifting kreyol chorus. Some fierce
drumming, dancing and world-class musicianship too.

Bonga Jean-Baptiste: Haitian drum, vocals
Tiga Jean-Baptiste: Haitian drum, vocals, didgeridoo, mbira,
Jean Mary: Haitian drum, vocals
Fito Vivien: Haitian percussion and vocals
Peck Allman: brass, reeds, woodwinds
Sarah Dupuy: vocals
Alisha Zebulon: vocals
Sheila Anozier: Haitian and freestyle dance, vocals