Saturday, October 31, 2009

Croix de Bouquets

Thirty minutes outside Port-au-Prince is a little community that does metalwork. The village is part of the town called Croix de Bouquets and it has developed into a Haitian version of a mini-mall: you walk down dusty, dirt roads and stop by shop after shop full of iron pieces of all shapes and sizes.

The artisans handmake the articles from oil drums, prepared for them by other men in the community. They buy them from the junk yards, from the ship yards at the port in Port-au-Prince, from the factories, and from the Domincan Republic. The first step is to burn the inside of the barrels to get rid of the oil residue. The burning step also loosens the paint on the outsides of the barrels so that it can be scraped off easily. Then the bottom of the barrel is cut out and the sides of the barrel are flattened. Finally, the artisans cut it into the sizes they want and go to work with knives and awls. The worker who explained the process to me said that when he has a good commission from an artisan, he can prepare up to 40 oil drums in a day.

On your next visit to Haiti, ask to go to Croix de Bouquets. It's a great place to buy small souvenirs to give people in the States and it helps support the local Haitian economy. And even if you don't buy anything, you will enjoy seeing the stores and the artisans hard at work.


Mama-Beth said...

ABSOLUTELY WILL DO!! I'm guessing you didn't know about this place until recently?

Emily Grace said...

I think 10,000 Villages sells some of this stuff! So neat so see where it originates!