For those who do not know Maryse Roumain, this is how she defines herself and her work.
Maryse Roumain: I studied at The Sorbonne, Columbia University, and the Graduate Center City University of New York—where I obtained a Doctorate in Developmental Psychology. I have a commitment to research and improving the lives of children.
I am the wife of a man who comes from a political family; he is endowed with strong political convictions. I am the mother of two wonderful children, and the grandmother of two amazing girls who are my joy and consolation. I have the responsibility to accompany them in solidarity on their journey on Earth. That is what I do.
I am blessed to come from a family that places education above all things. From an early age, I was attracted to philosophy, psychology, history, and politics. I am motivated and governed by a work ethic rooted in my family and in my people. I strongly value work.
I am a world music lover.
I have redefined myself many times and am at present an “unorthodox” writer of research, autobiographical texts, and political commentaries.
J’écris pour dire, j’écris pour me souvenir.
I have been involved as a community advocate and in political activities for a better world for a long time. I write about my life to tell and to testify that I am alive and that I contribute.
VoicesfromHaiti: What is your earliest memory?
Maryse Roumain: I remember being bullied and rescued from isolation by my friend. We wrote each other letters. We had such a beautiful rapport. I lost my girlfriend to a tonton macoute. He took her family away. I guess my friend had to betray me in order to save the ones closest to her. I suffered from abuse and was victimized by many. I have experienced friendship and its loss. I am deeply marked by and reminiscent of these encounters. I am still trying to recover from certain wounds . . .
VoicesfromHaiti: What do you consider to be the most important event in your life?
Maryse Roumain: I wish it were the recognition of my contribution to make the world a better place. I wish it were the company and inspiration of God. I have His presence in my life—this goes back a long time.
Undeniably, it’s been of utmost importance that I was able to reflect on my life and communicate to the public through my books: Life Goes On, a Reflective Diary (2009) and Evocations of My Past (2011). I published two political essays: Why Pluralism is an Alternative? (2010) and, Haiti: Vers un Nouveau Départ (2011).
Writing and Publishing are for me new “raison d’être”, a “raison de vivre.” I have found my voice through this literary genre. I have found my occupation, in a sense. It’s like a renaissance, a renewal of my potentialities.
VoicesfromHaiti: What is your greatest hope for Haiti in 2012?
Maryse Roumain: I hope the musician who is our president keeps being the dynamic person he has revealed himself to be. I hope, also, that we are able to democratize and modernize our economic and political system.
VoicesfromHaiti: What is your greatest fear?
Maryse Roumain: Anonymity
VoicesfromHaiti: If you could be anyone in Haitian history, who would that be and why?
Maryse Roumain: Haitian history being a history of men, I have trouble finding the woman I would like to have been. I’d like to have been a successful professional person who led a productive and meaningful life, but I don’t know who that would be.
VoicesfromHaiti: What super-power would you like to have? How would you use it?
Maryse Roumain: I wish I were a psychic, who had the power to influence life on Earth, politically, economically, socially, culturally and otherwise. Who knows? Perhaps, I could help God achieve his kingdom of equilibrium, peace, prosperity, and happiness for all.
VoicesfromHaiti: What is the main lesson you have learned in life so far?
Maryse Roumain: Not to be too trusting. Choose your companions carefully, though the prospect of a life without friends is a scary one.
VoicesfromHaiti: What words of wisdom do you live by?
Maryse Roumain: Enjoy my family life. Enjoy working. Live in peace with God. Cherish friendship. Care for my health. Respect Diversity.