“never say never, because then you say never twice.”
i eat the words i wrote about not writing in french because i can’t figure out how to insert symbols. i now must share these proverbs and the accompanying explanation, with the consideration that there is the unspoken translation that must have happened from french to english. don’t think i missed that either laferriere or homel decided to go with creole and not kreyol. in awe, this reader. this is dedicated to all my peoples that have showed love in the past week via proxy and witness.
“The Haitian proverbs that open each chapter are transcribed in etymological rather than phonetic Creole, then translated literally. This way, their meaning will always remain a little mysterious. That will help us appreciate not only Haiti’s popular wisdom but her fertile creativity with language.”
Anvant ou monte bois, gade si ou capab descenn li.
Before you climb up the tree, make sure you can get down again. (29)
Pati pas di ou rive pou ca.
Leaving doesn’t mean you’ll actually get there. (45)
Nous connin, nous pas connin.
We know, but we don’t know. (91)
Lang ac dent ce bon zanmi, yo rete nan minm caille, gnoune pas rinmin lote.
The tongue and the tooth are good friends who share the same house, even if they hate each other. (129)
Pas joure manman caiman toute temps ou pas finn’ passe la riviere.
Don’t insult the crocodile until you’ve finished crossing the river. (155)