Christianity and Voodoo Co-Habitate in Anse-a-Foleur

In the Nord Ouest Department located within Saint-Louis-du-Nord Arrondissement sits Anse-à-Foleur. Lying just above sea level, it is home to a population of 18,100 inhabitants.


Locals in Anse-à-Foleur follow the officially recognized creed, Christianity. But as is common in other Haitian communities, Voodoo also exists. The village is home to a Voodoo church that contains many maze-like corridors, and the fenced-in area outside contains a pond, filled with dirty water at mid-calf level. The purpose of the pond is to purify sins, a Christian concept.

To give some background on how the practice of Voodoo and Christian concept of sin came to be associated, it begins with the immigration of Congolese slaves to Hispaniola. The slaves brought with them their belief in the Loa, a supreme deity who possesses the bodies of chosen aspirants. To be possessed by the Loa is an honor, and ritual dances with chickens and Voodoo drums entice the Loa to appear. When European settlers seized control of Hispaniola, they forbade the pagan practice of Voodoo. But Voodoo shamans found aspects of Christianity appealing, and began incorporating them into their ceremonies. Today Christian and Voodoo believers live in harmony.

Anse-à-Foleur is hard to access by car, because of its steep incline and bad roads. It is even worse during the rains. The inhabitants practice subsistence farming and fishing to eke out a living. Healthcare options are restricted to either an arduous trek to find a clinic, or indeterminate wait until a mobile healthcare unit shows up.

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