This report presents certain preliminary observations on the functioning of the Gros Morne Project. It is based on information during a brief field visit made during December of 1982. Both authors, at different times, had been approached by Project Staff with a view to possibly carrying out a formal evaluation of the project. This visit, however, was made as a preliminary contact, not as part of the formal evaluation. Because of the brevity of the visit, the information presented in these pages should be construed not as definitive findings, but as "carefully analyzed impressions."
In this report, we will present a somewhat detailed description and analysis of the food-related beliefs and behaviours of a community of Haitian peasant cultivators located in the Cul-de-Sac Plain. Our intention is to synthesize for readers interested in Haitian peasant life a complex body of information which we gathered on matters specifically related to food. This entails descriptions not only of community nutrition beliefs and ideals but also of actual community behaviour with respect to the preparation and distribution of food.
For several decades anthropologists working in the Caribbean have been explicitly aware of the need to look beyond the confines of the communities which they study, to take into consideration major national and supranational forces which have shaped and influenced local life (e.g. Smith 1956: chap. 8; Steward 1956:6-7; Padilla 1960:22; Manners 1960:80-82). But at first glance, the situation of the people of rural Haiti appears to be somewhat exceptional in this regard.