Back in May, I participated in the Around the World Embassy Tour event in Washington, DC. This is part of the annual Passport DC event, which allows visitors to tour various embassies during the month of May. Generally speaking, the first weekend of May features African, South American, Caribbean and a couple of Asian embassies, the second weekend of the month is the European Union Open House weekend, and the following weekend is the Festival of Asia.
I’d never toured the Haitian Embassy before, so I was excited to visit this year. Funny enough, I’ve been to Haiti when I cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past, and I always loved the island. In fact, I’ve stated on multiple occasions that Haiti is my favorite Caribbean island. So it’s a marvel that I’d never gone to the Haitian Embassy until this year. In any case, I was eager to go. And the embassy DID NOT disappoint.
I think the thing that I found most incredible was the prominence of Black mermaids in Haitian art. As a born-and-bred American, the mermaid image I see most frequently is the Disney version, with porcelain skin, red hair and blue eyes. Seeing the Haitian depictions of Black mermaids was deeply moving. These depictions are far more accurate to the creatures that Christopher Columbus reported seeing in his travels, and they also predate Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. Of course, practically every culture has stories of merpeople, but seeing the image of magical brown-skinned beings was surreal.
The embassy is a stately, breathtaking building, and the art that lines every wall is stunning and memorable. It looked more like an incredible museum than a political office space! It has multiple floors, and, sadly, I only toured one level.
My biggest regret? Not allowing more time to tour. But no worries: I will return next year!
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