The challenge in trying to decipher the truth in oral histories reminds me of an Indian literature class I took at RISD during my Sophomore year. It was called “Narrative Flows” and it explored literary pieces that dealt with the importance of water in Calcutta- through stories of different families, social classes, religious groups, caste systems, etc…
The class attempted to expose the various local voices in Calcutta. For the first time, I learned about the concept of “The Other” and one’s position in the world, when hailing from a developing country.
Since my goal with this project is to tell a story, perhaps a fluid approach is appropriate… and ideal. The truth in “Narrative Flows” might prove more valid than the Westerner’s written words on “The Other”s history.
Simultaneously, Jacmel has always been open to the world. It might also be fitting to welcome (compare & contrast) different views and interpretations of the history of this vibrant town. It does become very colorful and stimulating to learn and write about the different views.