7.3 Editor's Pick
March 20, 2023

A Moving Meditation for the Days it’s Hard to Keep the Faith.

No need to have a watch on, the Haitian national anthem being blasted on an AM transistor radio somewhere in the distance means it is 8 a.m.

Hearing it this morning made me think, why even bother playing it? There are no more nationalists really. Everyone is fighting in their corner, has an idea about how to save this country, and no one is actually doing anything about it.

I suppose I should make abstraction of all that—the country does exist and it’s a beautiful one at that.

It has a right to an anthem. Maybe that’s its last hope. Today, however, I’m feeling like everything is way too far gone, and there is no hope.

Eight a.m. also means it’s time to get this salted codfish soaking in lemon water, if I’m going to make croquettes like I had planned as part of Sunday dinner. 

I finely mince my onions, garlic, parsley, and some Scotch bonnets—yes, I could have used the mortar and pestle or better yet, a food processor, but I want the pops of color. Plus, finely mincing is rather therapeutic, and I need therapy. Even more than usual.

We all need therapy here, and anti-anxiety pills can only go so far. Yet, I digress.

It must be 10 a.m. now, and in the distance is a church sermon. The people are singing at the top of their lungs, “God is good, God is my protection, nothing can happen to me.” So much faith. My mind wanders to something a security guard said to me once while lamenting the situation.

He said, “Our prayers are strong, because that’s all we have,” and that hit me so profoundly. It also hit like a sledgehammer that my close friend, an avid churchgoer and devout Catholic, has been kidnapped and missing for over a month. 

Faith, bullet-proof cars, guns, bodyguards—they don’t really help at all.

Cutting away and making a nice confetti of red and green to speckle the fritters brings a warmth inside somehow. Thinking of how food is always the glue to bring families and friends together and enjoy a moment. Hopefully these will turn out well; we need something to rave about and be positively satiated, if even for just a little while. 

A few hours have passed, and a change of water is needed for the cod. I’ll let it soak in fresh water for not too much longer. It needs to have some of a salty bite after all. 

News comes in that about 80 people having been kidnapped in two days. It sounds so surreal, and incredibly disturbing. Seems like we are all lambs up for slaughter…it’s just a matter of time.

I have to remember to “keep faith.” Then remember everyone keeps faith and sh*t happens anyways. There’s nothing and no one to turn to. You just hope that every day will be a lucky day until this madness stops.

Will it ever stop?

Time to get the breadfruit ready. Cutting, peeling, boiling quarters of it. Not too ripe, not too green, cooking it until there is no resistance. While that is cooking, I take the cod from the water, dry it off, separate it into shreds, careful to remove any bones. The breadfruit is ready. I throw out the water and start mashing it vigorously.

It feels so good to be punching and pounding something.

Time to get out all the lumps, add a dab of butter, some black pepper, and keep mashing. It’s sticky and gloopy, but it’s alright—it’s perfect. It’s warm and comforting. Now to add the desalted codfish, a nice ratio of 1:1, making sure again there are no lumps or bones. No one needs bones. We swallow enough proverbial bones on a daily basis.

I add some turmeric for a nice yellow color. I think it’s pretty. Next, I’ll add in my minced onions, garlic, parsley, and hot pepper. The smell is wonderful, kind of intoxicating, and just like that I’m able to escape with my mind from everything going on out there, and just breathe. 

Then shape them into small, bite-size balls. Let them sit in the fridge for a while before rolling them in some flour, shallow frying, and serving them a bed of watercress with a side of spicy slaw, or pikliz. 

Now maybe I can make a nice cocktail. 

A rum lemon cocktail made with a cup of lemon juice, half a cup of brown sugar, a cup of rum—maybe more rum for today—a few drops of bitters, and ice. Lots of ice. 

Today, I’m grateful I get to stay home and not move. I can breathe deeply and rest knowing that my kids and I are safe, at least for today, at least in my mind. 

Tomorrow is another story. 

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