Our days and nights in Haiti are filled with all kinds of sounds. There are few quiet moments in our community. I don’t know if we will ever get used to the strains of American pop music in the early hours of the morning. Some visitors to Haiti don’t enjoy waking to the roosters crowing beneath their windows, but we hardly notice them anymore.
However, there has been one sound recently that I hope we never get used to. I hope it always evokes a response in us.
In the days leading up to Easter and the days following Easter, the streets of Haiti are filled with Rara bands. I’m not an expert but if you look this up on the Internet, a lot of articles make the bands sound innocent as if Rara Music is just another cultural part of Haiti. Voudoo Priests and Priestesses lead the bands through the streets, often blocking traffic, sometimes stopping at homes, always invoking spirits. The groups carry Voudoo flags and play a very repetitive rhythm with drums and a type of trumpet. There is often the cracking of a whip. We’ve been told the groups are celebrating the death of Jesus but they also sometimes make political statements.
As we went about our activities over the Easter season, we came across lots of the Rara bands. There was no joy that I could see. The relentless rhythm and frenzied dancing contributed to a darkness that seemed to permeate the area. Whenever we met up with one of these marches we had the choice to turn around and find another route or slowly make our way through the crowd. No matter which option we chose, I always spoke the name of Jesus.
I may not be an expert, but I do know the people in Haiti are often held in fear by the threat of Voudoo. I know there is power in the name of Jesus to break that fear.
My prayer is that the light found through Jesus will expose the darkness. I claim the truth of Jeremiah 10:6. There is power in the name of Jesus.