After a brief chat with our bus driver about logistics with Esther, I asked his name: Aristidos.

Ah! Como el presidente de Ayiti, Aristide

Si, pero (shakes head vigorously) nooooo.  Soy dominicano!

It seems no one here wants to be Haitian or even vaguely associated with that 1/3 of the island.  When I was in Mata los Indios in March, kreyol-speaking Haitian-born people were insistent that they were Dominican. Even though we knew they were a majority Haitian community, so few would own up to their native tongue, instead nodding along to Spanish questions they couldn’t understand.

I really can’t blame them.  Haitians can’t get papers (or cédulas, the state-issued id cards) which means they cannot get diplomas, they cannot vote, and their children cannot go to school.  And it doesn’t really matter whether they were born here, or their parents were born here.  To be Haitian is to be persona non grata.

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