Madam Sara the Weaver Bird

Sunday was a glorious day in the mountains with families walking to church in their finest and drying out their homes after Hurricane Sandy. Talitha’s fellow Hollander Marijke Zaalberg invited us to lunch at her impressive school, Ecole Soleil de Hollande in Ka Bolain. The multi-storied poured concrete building is notched into the mountainside with a Swiss Alps-like view and stocked with school supplies from generous Dutch donors. How amazing was it to discover a canvas by a local painter stacked in a corner depicting “our” bird – the madam sara as Haitians call it, or Weaver to us.

Stories vary as to how madam sara the bird became madam sara the buyer/reseller”

“They have to talk a lot like the birds when they argue about the price,” said Natasha Lafortune, a pepe reseller from Jacmel.

Marie Yannick Mezile, Haiti’s minister of Women’s Affairs and Rights, said the women and the bird are both travelers: “Madam sara is a bird that travels from place to place, a migratory species that has the instinct to travel. In Haiti we also know madam sara as a peasant, a farmer.”

And Madam Gerard says simply, “Madam Sara? You want me to explain what a madam sara is? It’s someone who is buying and selling the prodcuts, that’s all I can say. There’s nothing more to say about it. You buy, you resell, that’s a madam sara.”


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