In the little town of Pestel the local people celebrate the Fete de la Mer, Festival of the Sea, whilst Rara bands cruise the streets.
On the way to Jeremie we stopped at a small village called Pestel, which had organised a ‘fete de la mer’ in the Easter weekend, complete with boat races, swimming contests (about half of the contestants had to be picked up by the rescue boat half way the harbour) and canoe races (one of the canoes sunk just before the start). Lots of music, especially from the so-called Rara bands, who were competing for the first price in the Rara band contest (the first price was a crate of rum, and three cartons of cigarettes!!). Rara bands are small groups of musicians that roam the Haitian countryside, and increasingly the towns, between Carnival and Easter, dressed in women’s cloths and armed with simple instruments and a rather monotonous repertoire. They are somehow related to Voodoo rituals, and command a large following, which subsequently blocks the roads, of course (how come it seems that everything in Haiti has to do with blocking the roads? This is the third major cause, after burning tyres and heavy rain, and there are already so few roads in this country).
Pestel also has a small fort, well, hardly recognisable as such, but build on a hill with a spectacular view over the village, the sea and the surrounding countryside.
next: the discontent