Le Mascreti

Haitian oil, Le Mascreti
Haitian oil, Le Mascreti

My object is a Haitian oil called “Le Mascreti,” which is one of the many important parts of my family’s culture and immigration story. Both sides of my family immigrated from Haiti about 10 years before I was born, and ironically both sides ended up in Boston, Massachusetts. When they immigrated from Haiti they brought many things with them, including ways of life in addition to objects.  One of the traditions they brought was at-home remedies, including what we call “Le Mascreti”.  This is a homemade oil that is mixed from many types of seeds, such as castor. In my family, we use Le Mascreti for a lot: for injuries, massages,  hair, skin, illness and more. My family’s story originates in the place where the oil originally comes from. My family believes that this oil helps cure everything. For instance, if someone became sick, my mother would take some of this oil and rub it on our faces, noses and sometimes our chest to make us feel better or reduce a fever. It also helps with bruises. Trust me, it works. This oil is a belief system that my family follows, and it is a part of who we are. Sometimes when I’m hurt and hear someone say “go put some Le Mascreti on it” I get tired of this phrase, but other times it works. This oil is important to my family because it connects the older generations back to Haiti and their lives before they came to the US. It also builds a connection between past and present, because they get to teach the younger family members, like me, their culture and traditions. 

Place(s): Haiti

– CM

Relationship:  unknown unknown