A personal, small view as a not so foreigner in Haiti
“I can’t judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.” -Manson
Weeks spent in any place by no means give you the right to judge it. It does however allow you a quick view to see enough about its culture. In December, I made a trip to Haiti, my homeland. A home that will always be dear to my heart because of the people I love, not to mention the country that allowed me to be born as a female. Ayiti has been stepped on, beaten and disrespected in every way, yet the pride its people have is very clear, starting with me. I think part of the pride has to do with Haiti’s fight for freedom to free its people from slavery more than 200 years ago.
This trip to Haiti was different compare to previous ones I have taken since migrated to United States. It was the first time I went to Haiti by myself, needless to say I was nervous. Although I spoke the language, I was after all a stranger. I do see foreigners enjoying the country, which is known for its beautiful mountains and blue waters. The fact that Haiti has no laws, the people who live there are the ones who get the lesser part of what it has to offer.
Poverty and Wealth
What is apparent in Haiti is poverty, a civil right issue if I may use MLK’s final message. When you have a country with no common law, and when laws are written only by those who have money influence and outsiders who do not care about its people, inequality is no brainer.
I did see parts in Port-Au-Prince that were prettier than some part of the Nation’s capital, with streets paved and influential people, the majority of them non-Haitian ruled the rest of country and looked down on the poor sustaining their wealth.
The Beauty of Haiti
The most beautiful thing in Haiti is its people, despite how hungry and illiterate they may be. People in the country seemed to be full of love and happy, despite the world seeing them as poor. If you actually spend time in Haiti, you will rethink the definition of poor and wonder why so many foreigners seem to find heaven there for centuries. The truth of the matter is, Haiti is a golden opportunity for business, and the foreigners know that well. Only if the Haitian people could wake up and decide it was time laws are put in order to allow PEOPLE who care about them to invest.
If it wasn’t for sign of dirty tents with USAID and others who wanted to show they were in the country after the earthquake. You would not know if there was an earthquake two years ago by looking at the people. People were strong, on the move and desperate to simply live. I am sure some charities contributed to this. The only reference of the earthquake I heard when I was there is when I would ask about someone and one would say “oh, when the land shook, he or she wasn’t here” and until today we have not heard” and that’s all they would say. They’ve accepted the tragedy and seemed to move past it. Perhaps their silent is the best way of forgetting. I was in Leogane and Il de Lagonave, which was the town for tourism when my family left to live in Grecier for better schools when I was 8 years old and thereafter, I came to America.
This is Haiti’s future
Every shared public taxi cab I took (I took a lot of them) there was someone on board selling something (food medicine etc. You name it) even when half of the people in the taxi were standing. Of all the taxi cabs I took, there were NO women peaching about selling products. I ask my brother who was with me and lives in Haiti now for about three months, if he had ever seen women selling products on the taxi cabs. It is rare he said and I am sure part of the problem is the nature of the work, which doesn’t seem to “fit” a woman, who would typically stay home and raise children.
International Ministries of Hope
My cousin Benis, which means blessed, is doing some wonderful work in Haiti. He and his family have been blessed to start an organization call International Ministries of Hope, whose mission is to improve the lives of the world poor. He opened a school, which is also a church, teaching girls and young boys how to read and write. One day, I hope we can collaborate to have a greater impact.
School/church of International Ministries of Hope in La Gonave. http://www.imofh.org
The foreigner(s) at home
The foreigners in the country isn’t a bad thing, I just wish I knew what their true motive were. Every corner I turned, there was missionaries and UN police. The UN Police made me feel like I was in Bagdad with their guns visible, in a country where people can barely eat and peaceful. It is very clear they are out of place.
I do see foreigners taking advantage of the country and its people. They are buying Haiti’s most beautiful parts for dimes. As many of you know, the best way to destroy a nation is by not educating its people, providing handouts and taking the land away, it is a Native American story. It is alive today all over the world including here in the land of opportunity.
While in Haiti, I was referred to as the girl from Africa, a foreigner. I cannot tell you how proud I was to be called an African, instead of African-Haitian-American. Yet, I was sad to be referred to as a foreigner, but it is a fact because I cannot speak my mother’s tongue like those who live in the country. I am a product of America, by the way of Africa and Haiti. I was indeed representing Africa while in Haiti with outfits I got in Mali last year. The majority of Haitians wear western style clothing and since I like to present the world because I love different parts of the world, I very much dislike being boxed in.
The family – including papa and I.
The language of men can be sweet, disgusting, and dangerous
“Abuse is the weapon of the vulgar.” Goodrich
To go into details of the language used by men who have no respect for women in Haiti is to give them credit and I refused to do just that. The vulgar used at women (including me) was despicable. At the airport, the foreigners, particular the white women and I speak about this treatment and abuse received from men of all ages.
Where we go from here
If God willing, my next trip to Haiti will be this year. I will spend time visiting different parts of Haiti and speak to women about their dreams for their country. I want to visit as often possible to the point where I can speak the language without an accent (Heavy tongue was name given to me when I speak, a.k.a foreigner), which I hope will give me a new name (Native, but foreign lived?).
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 at 16:20 and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.