Welcoming the fall equinox, our first lesson was enthusiastically led by Pierre Junior Lefevre. Junior generously shared his experiences of living in Haiti, where he worked as a policeman, in contrast to his first weeks living in detention in Canada.
Each participant also spoke of their experiences or understanding of what it meant to be displaced. The responses were wide-ranging, including first-hand experience of revolutions in Chile and Mexico, the history of Acadia, Russian pogroms, 1930s Nazism, as well as the choice to displace oneself from the comforts of home to begin to understand forced dislocations. Junior’s descriptions of the difficulties of living in Montreal were also vivid. Using the power of language developed in his practice as a writer, he began by reading us his poem Ma plume est à toi.
Junior’s descriptions of the difficulties of living in Montreal were also vivid. Using the power of language developed in his practice as a writer, he began by reading us his poem Ma plume est à toi.
Audio: Pierre Junior Lefevre - Ma plume est à toi (dur. 01m55s)
After our initial group conversation, breathing and singing exercises allowed us to warm up in the cool sunshine, helping all of us to work as a group.
Junior brought several compact discs of Haitian music, deciding to teach us Wi mwen se Haitien… in Creole. Unfamiliar to the rest of the group, he patiently helped us to form these “new” words with frequent translations into French so that we could know their meaning. Through song, we were transported to Haiti and to the realities of poverty, homelessness, and moments of relief promised by drink.