All of us at 1804 Coffee have enjoyed learning Creole, although we do not claim to be proficient yet. The ability to joke with farmers in their native language certainly brings some levity to any situation. Not always having to use a translator has increased the depth of our relationships, while expressing that we really care for them, their culture, and Haitian coffee.
We all know that life is incredibly difficult in Haiti, and I am not interested in recounting the endless atrocities, instead preferring to focus on the resilience and joyful confidence so many Haitians choose to walk in. Certainly it’s a metaphor for all life. At some point you have to focus on the good things around you, even if they are small in comparison to the large difficulties one might face.
Sometimes we can pick up a few words as they speak with each other. It is always incredibly uplifting to hear them speak positive affirmations as they work. One of our favorite sayings in Creole is “Lavi Bon” which simply means “life is good” or “the good life.”
On one particular trip to Haiti, some friends and I sat at the coast, watching the sun set after a very exhausting week. A fishing sailboat anchored offshore for the night. We watched as men headed to shore to see their families. It was a serene moment of beauty and reminded me that life can be good in Haiti.
When we begin shipping Haitian Coffee later this harvest season, every bag of coffee will be printed with the statement Lavi Bon, because we believe life is good! Together we are helping improve the lives of farmers so they too will believe they live “the good life.”