by Claire Payton

Our first visit was to Lakou Soukri, outside of Gonaives. Soukri preserves the Congo traditions. The festival of Soukri, one of Haiti’s most important pilgrimages, begins the night of August 14th and continue for two weeks. The celebrations include rituals, dance, meals, ritual baths, music and artistic expressions of all sorts. Like at Souvnans, worshippers at Soukri have been experince the spirtitual punishment of sèp. According to Marie-Jose Saint-Lot (Vodou: Sacred Theatre), lakou Soukri was an important site of anti-Duvalier protests and ceremonies in the weeks and months leading up to the fall of the regime in 1986.

Seated in the hounfort next to the altar when we arrived were Sèvitè Prophète and Sèvitè Marie-Carme Delvas, a married couple that served the loa at Soukri. After our group greeted the loa at the alter with ceremonial libations, we sat in a circle and the foot of the alter and began the interview.