Just because you’re poor, it doesn't mean you don’t have the right to a Hollywood-style wedding. With characteristically southern generosity, Haitians can spend a lifetime’s worth of savings on a single day.
After some years in the regional print and broadcast media in French Switzerland, in 2000 I joined Radio Swiss International, which then became swissinfo.ch. Since then I have been writing (and producing short videos) on a variety of subjects, from politics to business, and including culture and science.
As she did in Switzerland on assignments as a wedding photographer, Valérie Baeriswyl has slipped behind the scenes of such Haitian marriages to capture the “anxiety mixed with euphoria, a universal prelude to the vows of eternal love”.
“I took boats, motorcycles, vans and donkeys. I have attended peasant weddings, entered the lemon-coloured palaces of the beautiful districts of Port-au-Prince, the mud houses of the slums, and the rented rooms where what remains in Haiti of a middle class still believes in a future”, she wrote in the preamble to her work, which earned her a scholarship with the Reuters news agency last year.
Now she is looking for a publisher to make a book from this “exceptional showcase of traditions, the Americanization of an island, social divides and daily resistance”.