Tag Archives: Nou bèl. Nou la!

Haiti Remembrance Day: 8 Years Later

We will never forget January 12, 2010.

We recall precisely where we were, when the news reached our ears.

Port-au-Prince was unrecognizable. The unimaginable had happened.

Not long afterward, we calculated the number of lives lost: 200,000 and more.

I worry about families who have yet to located loved ones. They remain “Unaccounted for.”

There are no words to describe the fear and the fearlessness it took to wake up each day and keep moving forward.

We cannot imagine the number  of children who were “adopted” by foreigners.

The pain is still fresh–for the adults and their children.

How does one forget this catastrophe?

Though it’s been 8 years, it’s as if time had stood still.

All we can now is remember the injured people strewn in driveways and parking lots, begging to be seen by kind-hearted surgeons.

We survived. Barely . But we made it through. There are places where rubble is still on the ground, but we keep moving forward. Thank you .

Mere days before the remembrance of this deadly event, the current president of America smeared o ur country and the memory of our lost ones. He called describe our nation as a $#it-hole.  No, Mr. President. Haiti and Haitians are not a receptacle for your waste.

Come to think of it, hence the cholera epidemic.  They dumped their waste in our  rivers, causing thousands to die. Perhaps they believed Haiti was/is a latrine too.  Perhaps the Haitian government ought to show the world that we are not a shithole.   But I have one question:

Why do all those American citizens flock to Haiti, and never return to the states? Our $#it hole must be irresistible. Take a look like Baltimore. Look at the school system. Look at the miles upon miles of condemned houses. Hopefully the people from Norway and other countries on your ‘invitation’ list will be willing to clean up the mess. There are hundreds of homeless people under Route 83. Please, take care of them. They make the area look like very bad. I would not want to live there at all.

You managed to hijack the remembrance of a solemn time in Haiti, but we’ll make it thro ugh. We always do. That’s why I say, :We are beautiful. And we are here.”

 

 

 

Haiti’s 214th Independence Day

Every January First, we Haitians feel and display unabashed pride in our birth country. It is on this day, 214 years ago, that our fearless forefathers declared Haiti emancipated from barbaric slave-holders. Today, millions of people who have yet to set foot on Haitian soil also celebrate Haiti’s Independence Day. They know the insurmountable obstructions which our ancestors overcame to secure the first and only successful slave revolt in history. Friends of Haiti proudly wear our bicolor; they revel in everything Haitian: They scour the Internet for recipes to make our delicious Independence Day soup for their families. They play our drums. They sing our songs. They speak our language. Some even claim to be more Haitian than those born in the country.  All of us remain in awe of the men and women who gave their blood for our freedom, among them: Dutty Boukman, Francois Makandal, Henry Christophe, Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Catherine Flon, Cecile Fatiman, Capois LaMort, and so many more.

To those who say Haiti has little to show for her glorious past, some would agree that our hardship began twenty-one years after the successful revolt, when King Charles X levied what today would amount to 21 billion dollars against Haiti for the loss of revenue from slave labor. Dan Sperling, in his post for Forbes Magazine, put it this way: “France’s demand for reparations from Haiti seems comically outrageous today – equivalent to a kidnapper suing his escaped hostage for the cost of fixing a window that had been broken during the escape.” We could stop there, but the endless list of narcissistic leaders and perennial natural disasters continue to impede measureable growth.

Ousmane Sow’s Louverture (kdu photos)

One fact remains certain: Haiti will be known forever as the only successful slave colony to break the chains of slavery in an undeniable and spectacular manner. As the generations before ours have been taught, we will teach future generations the significance of the Revolution, what it means to carry Haitian blood in our veins. May our pride in Haiti endure!  As compatriots and friends of Haiti continue to do our part in rebuilding, let us remember those men and women who believed themselves unstoppable. Let us remember the decisive battle of Vertières, led by Francois Capois “LaMort.” History tells us that even after LaMort’s horse was shot from under him and a bullet went through his cap, he did not surrender. Instead, he brandished his saber and charged toward the enemy’s hail of bullets, all the while urging his men to do the same: “En Avant! En Avant!” he shouted. The enemy was so impressed with Capois Lamort’s courage that they paused the war to applaud him.  Onward!

Today, we remember the heroes and heroines of The Haitian Revolution. May we find in ourselves the courage and determination to make our country the gem it must be! Let us speak the words of Capois LaMort to ourselves and to our indestructible Haiti: “Onward!” Let us wish our country Happy 214th Independence Day!

Joyeuse fête des mères

The benefit of being a Haitian Mom living in the United States of America is we get to celebrate Mother’s Day twice a year.  Staunch nationalists expect their “Joyeuse fête des mèresbouquets on the last Sunday in May. Today is a sort of dress rehearsal for the real thing: remembering the generations of women who birthed us and birthed in us the memories and customs we must impart to our children with their shiny, hyphenated cultural identities. Happy Mother’s Day anyway!

Last week, a friend adopted two children who had been in foster care far too long. What a joyous Mother’s Day this must be in that house! Another friend traveled thousands of miles—over the course of many years—to adopt two orphaned children who had stolen her heart. Happy Mother’s Day, Ladies! You have changed the trajectory of your babies’ lives.
On the other side of happiness is the grief that comes from losing a child. I know women who have yet to stop crying. Friends and families do their best to pretend Mother’s Day is insignificant, but facts are hard to ignore. You are still Mom, even when your child is gone. Your babies love and remember you. They are with you today.

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms whose children are incarcerated. They made bad decisions or were in the wrong place at the wrong time, leaving you to wonder where you went wrong. You are still Mom. Keep on being the pillar you are.

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms who genuinely regret mistreating their children when they were young.  May your children forgive you; may you learn to forgive yourself!

Happy Mother’s Day to elderly Moms whose adult children now cast them aside. You’re in your seventies and eighties today. The children for whom you would have died a thousand times now believe they are too sophisticated to be associated with you. You did your best. That manual about how to be the perfect parent burned the day the sun came into existence. Keep on living, Dear. They’ll come around. And if they don’t, oh well. . .

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms who are no longer with us. May your children trust that you do look upon them constantly! You loved them then and always will.

I inherited my grandmother’s Bible, after she passed away in 2012. She used the Book as a sort of safe deposit box for treasured pictures, scraps of papers with telephone numbers scribbled on them, and the Mother’s Day card I gave her when ten thousand years ago. That card depicts a bouquet of bearded irises—like the ones in my garden that I have to divide constantly, lest they take over the yard and every inch of our house. I must have chosen the card because the flowers were like nothing I had ever seen. Finding that card in her Bible explained my obsession with irises. They are delicate and yet unrelenting as a grandmother’s love.

It’s been five years since my beloved Grandmère passed away. We are closer than ever. Happy Mother’s Day, Nennenn! She would be proud to know that irises which I cultivate now adorn one public park, the median between a pretty lake and its admirers, as well as several private gardens.

Earlier this week, I forbade my daughter, Pititfi, to join her friends in the park until she cleaned her room. She was miffed. To express her displeasure, she handed me a Mother’s Day card she had made, saying: “I was saving this card to give to you on Haitian’s Mother’s day. But since you won’t let me play with my friends, I want you to have the card NOW!”

I cried tears of joy.  Don’t you dare tell her that her punishment didn’t work.  Happy Mother’s Day and Joyeuse fête des mères to you!

ADOPTED from Haiti

Si Gen TravayLoss is universal. So is betrayal. So is revenge. So is hope. So is love. And so is redemption.

Some of us in the diaspora experience a level of homelessness, even if we have a home Here and another There. We are aliens, some legal, some illegal; both now too foreign for either place. The hyphen between the words Haitian and that other nationality is more than a border-less bridge.  Those who left by choice use hope and excitement as guides. Those who were forced to leave are led by a host of other emotions. As the years slip away, voluntary immigrants learn the macabre anthem of the exiled. There is evidence of rot and mold on every fruit and slice of bread on ex-pats’ dining tables.

And then there’s that other story. The one you’ve always known, but not really. You’ve heard about children being adopted by foreigners, some legally. Others not quite so legally. It happens all the time. Another adoption will take place before you finish reading this story. Eyes at half-mast stare at the realities festering in our homeland. We don’t want to remember. Secretly, we wish the children well. We hope they are better off–in that other place–with grownups who selected them (for all the right reasons). We tell ourselves it’s really all fiction. This sort of thing does not happen in the civilized world. But it happens across the civilized world every day.

Adopted children have a particular way of growing up. Some accept the hard light cast on their personal truths. Some are grateful to the moms and dads who chose to love them as their very own.

Some run.

girl christening clothesBut when a girlchild feels in her blood that she does not belong where she is told she belongs, an intense hunger takes root. When she finds herself feeling like an alien in the only home she’d ever known—with parents whose physical characteristics she does not share at all—she asks difficult questions that yield difficult answers. When nothing matters but uncovering the absolute truth, however searing or elusive, she dives heart first into the unknown. Hope is now her guide. Fear, like a royal guard, stands close by–pretending to be idle.

Judith Craig Morency’s Adopted ID is the story of a woman reaching with tentative fingers into her secret and possibly horrifying past. Follow this link to the Voicesfromhaiti: Nou Bèl. Nou La! INNERview page, and read Morency’s own words in “Chapter One: The Return”

Sending you love and more of it,

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