Our Folklore earlier this month presented “Nou Renmen Ayiti!” (We Love Haiti), a celebration of Haiti’s hope, pride, beauty and culture, at the Brooklyn Public Library Macon Branch in Bed-Stuy.
The free workshop for kids 4 and up, featured a meet-n-greet, a folkloric Haitian storytelling performance, a picture slide lecture on Haiti’s history and a chance for children to design their own “Rara” costumes, in the tradition of the popular Haitian street parades often conducted through villages with people walking and dancing to the festival music of a RaRa band.
“Our Folklore was created to educate, excite and engage children of their African heritage and also to promote tolerance of other people's culture,” said founder and organizer Karla N. Moore, a folkloric dancer, pre-K teacher and community activist who migrated form Trinidad to Brooklyn at age 14.
“The mission is to utilize the multi-faceted folkloric art forms of Africa and the Caribbean to promote children's self expression and to instill self awareness and pride by connecting their knowledge of history to their understanding of their future.”
The workshop was the first in a series that Our Folklore will organize around the area to celebrate the many folkloric art forms of Africa and the Caribbean.
At the “Nou Renmen Ayiti!” workshop parents didn’t just look on, but also participated with their kids in activities, such as the paintings of the Haitian flag, one of the primary symbols of Haitian freedom. A stirring reading of the famous Haitian folktale Magic Orange Tree (Ti Belo Ak Ti Pye Zoranj) also had both kids and parents fully engaged.
With the recent earthquake and other adverse events still taking up the majority of news surrounding Haiti, the event met Ms. Moore’s goal of giving her community a genuine spin on Haiti’s rich history and culture.
“We believe if the child and their family are actively involved in positive experiences, their language and behavior will mirror that positive experience, thus changing their entire outlook,” said Ms. Moore.
“So we are focused on making meaningful connections on [their] culture until it is positively instilled. We plan to actively engage the community at least once a month to accomplish our mission.”
For more information of Our Folklore, visit their website.