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17468: (Hermantin)Miami-Herald-Get-togethers, food a link to past (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Get-togethers, food a link to past

Back in Haiti, Patrick Eliancy studied Thanksgiving in school.

''We learned about the history, that is all,'' Eliancy says. ``We really did
not know about everything else.''

He learned about everything else during his November trips to Miami and New
York, staying with friends. He watched as the turkey was cut into smaller
pieces and barbecued, much like a chicken. He loved the fried green
plantains, the beans and rice, the Haitian rum and music.

It wasn't so much the food, however, that impressed Eliancy. What he liked
was setting aside a day for giving thanks.

''It was very special,'' he recalls, ``because the family was all together.
Everybody was around the table, sharing this meal and offering thanks.''

Eliancy moved to North Miami in July 2000. His wife, Marie Djouna, has
relatives in the city, and she found a job as a teacher assistant at Miami
Dade College. He works as a broadcaster for a local Haitian cable channel.
Their children -- Samantha, 11, Anne-Marie Christelle, 8, and Joseph
Sebastien, 4 -- attend nearby schools.

This year, as always, the family will invite about eight to 10 friends and
relatives over for turkey. As in the past, the turkey will be barbecued and
served with several side dishes: bananas pesees (fried plantains), riz pois
colles (rice with kidney beans) and riz djon-djon (rice cooked with black
mushrooms.) There will also be ti-malice, a hot yellow pepper sauce. Haitian
compas music will blare from the stereo. Prayers will be offered up before
the meal.

''It's a great moment to remind ourselves and our children what God has done
for us and what America has done for us,'' Eliancy says. ``America received
us. America gave us the opportunity to stay here, to go to better schools,
and to have a better life.''

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