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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:42:05 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: Carrié PAULTRE (1924 - 1999) (fwd)
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9902142034.A4870-0100000@netcom12>

Carrié Paultre (1924-1999)

A Biography by Bryant C. Freeman (published in one of Paultre's books), posted on Bob Corbett's Haiti list, February 1999

From: Emmanuel W. Vedrine <evedrine@hotmail.com>

Carrié Paultre was born on March 8, 1924, into an old distinguished Protestant family of Saint-Marc, in that immediate region of Haiti... He was trained an an agronomist at Haiti's agricultural school at Damien, near Port-au-Prince, after completing his primary education in Saint-Marc and his secondary studies in the capital.

Beginning in 1948, he served for two years as an agronomist for the Haitian Department of Agriculture on the Central Plateau, but the death of his father necessitated his return to Saint-Marc to direct the family coffee-export business. Then from 1961-63 he again served as an agronomist, this time in the program for the development of the Artibonite Valley. In 1963 came the call which was to continue to shape his life even today. The recently formed Protestant Committee of Literacy and Literature (CPAL) needed a well-educated Haitian Protestant to lead its efforts to provide written expression for Haitian Creole. Carrié Paultre was their choice.

The Progression from agronomist to 'professional Creolist' was less radical than might at first appear, from serving his country in more immediate context he went on work in a more far-reaching capacity. Thus the protestant monthly BOUKAN (Bonfire) founded in 1964 with Carré

Paultre as editor and chief writer. The title, BOUKAN, was chosen to convey a message of light, warmth - and practically of main concern where farming, animal raising, infant care, and building. To this was added a variety of other material such as Bible passages, news, poems, proverbs, riddles, and drawings. Almost from the start Carrié Paultre began to compose for BOUKAN a series of short, original novels, published in serial form. In addition, he undertook a number of translations later republished in book form, including two epistolary novels of Walter Trobish, an adaptation of John Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS (Traka gnou krétyin pandan vouyaj li / Worries of christian during his journey), and a tale of Tolstoy (Kote ki gin amou) - Where there is love).

Paultre's first two novels dramatize the twin poles of attraction of Haitian life: city vs. country life, or lavil vs. andey=F2 - with the latter winning out. In 1965 appeared TI JAK - (republished in book form in 1970), the story of a hard-working peasant boy sent to pursue his studies in the town. Town life captivates him, as does a town girl, Mago. He is faced with the dilemma of having to choose between a comfortable career in town with her, and returning to help his ailing family in the country. In the end, Ti-Jak ale, Mago rantré. Country life has triumphed. The temptations of town life are even stronger in the 1966 novel LHERISON (republished in book form in 1975). Lérison is lured into town by a well-paid mill job, fall in with bad company, and over a three-year period undergoes a serious change in character. Finally, with his health threatened, he returned home to the country to recuperate. Thanks to its purifying effects, he finds health, religion, and love. Simple country life has triumphed again. With AMARANT, in 1967 (republished in book form in his literary artistry set in Cap Haitien, the two central characters are Ti-Jak, a would-be polished lady-killer, and Amarant, who has come from the small town of Port-Margot to learn sewing.. It is an introspective love story portraying the gradual character transformation of Ti-Jak as he comes to know Amarant. Essentially, it contrasts superficial conquests with love, while revealing underlying assumptions concerning love and marriage in Haitian society. Two supporting characters, Luk and Lala, introduce subtle thematic variations which add depth to the plot. Other stories of Carrié Paultre were to appear in BOUKAN in form as well, though not as yet republished: Koté rout la yé, Tout maladi pa maladi dokt=E8, Konv=E8sasyon you oungan (Conversation of a voodoo priest), and I Istoua you koul=E8v yo rélé Zoka (Story of a snake named Zoka)...

It was in 1976, however, that appeared in BOUKAN what many consider to be by far his most important work tod dat: Tonton Liben (republished in book form in 1978. It can well be seen at the entire saga of Haitian history in this century, as told through the life of one peasant. TONTON LIBIN is a sort of Haitian every man of his times who symbolizes the trials and tribulations of a people and of a nation. There is no important event in Haitian life, from 1902 until perhaps the mid 1960', which is not chronicled. The rise and fall TONTON LIBEN traces the vicissitudes of much of the Haitian nation, ever dependent upon two essential factors: politics and climate. It is the political unrest of his country which is responding even for his birth / it defines his education, his first profession, his rise to local power, his sudden downfall. The political situation continues to shape his life as he strives to recover, and cyclone Hazel devastates what little he has been able to salvage... (Bryant C. Freeman)]

web link - http://windowsonhaiti.com

Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 17:52:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Boxley B Boggs <boxleybboggs@juno.com>

Carrie Paultre was a Haitian who loved the culture, the language, the people, who was altruistic in his efforts to promote that which would elevate and educate the masses in Haiti. He was a man of the people. I lived in Haiti fourteen years and knew Carrie personally, as well as several members of his extended family. They were and are noble citizens. If Haiti had leaders with just half the integrity of the Paultre family, the country wouldn't be continually in one crisis after another spreading misery to its victimized citizens.

While Carrie was thoroughly Haitian, he was anything but respectful of Voudou. He knew that, more than any other factor in Haitian culture, Voudou turned the people into fatalists, and was the racine sans bout of their misery and failure as a nation.

Yes, Voudou is definitely the most powerful element of Haitian culture. Voudou, more than any other influence, has made Haiti what she is today. Voudou, more than any other influence, keeps Haiti where she is today. As long as her people continue their enslavement to witchdoctors and the spirit world Haiti will never change for the better. Carrie realized that and thus spent so much time translating the Bible into Creole and taking a leadership role in the evangelical community.

The two most influential elements of any culture are language and religion. Haiti has a beautiful language which is gradually gaining the respect it merits. Unfortunately, Haiti has a powerful animistic religion. Permeating every facet of Haitian culture, it is a very dark cloud which keeps the sunlight of knowledge and freedom from her citizens and casts a long shadow of ignorance across the land.

Certain self-styled anthropologists and pseudo mambo's notwithstanding, Haiti's hope for the future depends on escaping the clutches of voudou power and superstition. To the degree such change takes place, that will be the measure of Haiti's future enlightenment as a nation. Carrie Paultre saw that light. Would to God that more of Haiti's current leaders (and writers to email forums) would see the same light.

Boxley B. Boggs