Vodou ‘a very healing religion,’ organizing says, but ‘has its negative sides, too’
A P.E.I. tour company is offering Islanders an opportunity this spring to learn more about the religious culture of Haiti, while helping with economic development in the country at the same time.
Sagrado Tours has partnered with locals to produce the Sacred Vodou Tour.
“I lot of people, I think, in North America, mistakenly have a negative view of sacred Vodou,” said David MacKay of Sagrado Tours.
“I’ve found it, through my study and my experience, a very healing religion, a very positive religion. It’s like a lot of religions, I guess, it has its negative sides, too.”
MacKay said many of the modern negative views of Vodou, commonly known as voodoo in Canada, date from the dictatorships of the Duvaliers in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Museums, Vodou temples, the waterfall at Saut d’ Eau. There’s so many nice places that you can visit,” he said.
Guyere Theodore of Léogâne, just south of Port au Prince, will act as cultural interpreter on the tour.
Some of the proceeds from the seven-day tour will go toward development in Léogâne. MacKay has been working on development projects in the area for several years.
“We focus on sustainable development,” MacKay said.
“The backyard poultry is going ahead and they’re making money, somewhere around $400 or $500 American a year, which sounds small, but that doubles people’s income.”
The tour is scheduled for March 28 to April 4. It is all-inclusive at about $3,500, which does not include airfare to Port au Prince.
Haiti is under a travel advisory from the government of Canada. The advisory includes a warning about high crime rates in parts of the country and political tensions, and says Canadians should exercise a high degree of caution.
MacKay said he has never felt threatened during his visits to Haiti.
Sagrado has plans to offer more culturally themed tours of Haiti in the future.