rara band,
Rara band revelers at the 10th edition of Festi Rara on April 15, 2022. Photo credit: Jacmel Info

By Jean-Paul Saint-Fleur 

CAYES-JACMEL, Haiti — Three days after six fans of a rara band died in a vehicle crash, the band learned that it won the musical competition the victims attended just before the wreck.

“We’re happy that we won,” said Nesly Jeudy, the treasurer of Inosan Rara band. “Unfortunately, we can’t celebrate that victory, we’re in mourning now.”

The Festi Rara contest took place Apr. 15. The day after, coming from a parade, the Mack truck carrying revelers back to Jacmel crashed and overturned, killing six people, and injuring 72 others.

Festi Rara is the biggest rara contest in Cayes-Jacmel and has taken place on Holy Friday for the past 10 years. With the fatal crash taking precedence, the winner was not announced until Apr. 19.

Inosan received 15,000 gourdes, about USD $137, as part of the prize money from Festi Rara. The band planned to split the amount as well as other money they raised with relatives of those who died.

“It’s a gesture to show that we’re with the family,” Jeudy said. “We will never forget them. We would do more if we had more.”

Nyvia Diclair, mother of victim Francisco Raymonde, received 10,000 gourdes as a contribution from the band.

“Despite myself, I took the envelope,” Diclair said. “No one purposely killed my son, it was an accident and the child I loved so much died.”

Another family rejected the envelope because its members are angry with the rara band leaders, Jeudy said.

To celebrate the bittersweet victory, Inosan planned to also gather fans for a big parade.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify information that was mistranslated.

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