I recall traveling to Haiti with my two sons, onto the soils of their ancestors. We went to celebrate their grandfather’s birthday. It was February of 2004, a time when a rebel group seized control of Haiti’s fourth-largest city, Gonaïves, marking the beginning of a minor revolt against Aristide. Then, the rebels captured Haiti’s second-largest city, Cap-Haïtien and as the end of February approached, rebels threatened to take, Port-au-Prince, fueling the increase of political unrest and building barricades throughout the capital.
When we arrived to Port-au-Prince and exited the plane, their father and I clung securely to them. We were aware of the snatching of children that occurred there, so instinctively, we cloaked them with our protective cape. There was an intimidating amount of people hovering the ‘arriving’ gate, yelling words in creole, full of passion and twisted faces. I can remember feeling claustrophobic and extremely baffled. I couldn’t understand how it was that they thought it was okay to invade our personal space. The people were loud and aggressive, but obviously I lacked an understanding as to why. It was evident that we underestimated the havoc we were about to enter, in the midst of the Haitian Coup d’état.
My then, father-in-law, had worked very hard for many years along with his brother, owning a business selling costume jewelry. He had a beautiful house in Port-au-Prince. We were able to share that space with extended family members, all under one roof. We were blessed and shared meals of poul, makawoni, diri ak pwa, legim and bètrav sòs salad.
During our stay, I was in awe of how different things were in this country. I was glad to have had the opportunity to expose my children and show them where they are partially from and used the visible impoverishment as an opportunity to remind them of how blessed they are living with so many luxuries, here in the United States. Though I saw poverty and limitations such as, controlled electricity, no flushing water nor hot water, I always felt an energy of resilience there. The Haitian people do not live as if they’re limited. They strive with what they have.
In January 2010, a catastrophic earthquake shook and crumbled the heart of Haiti, snatching the lives of over 150,000 Haitian beings. Unfortunately, it took down the home of my boys’ grandfather but fortunately, not the lives of any family members. This devastating disaster caused casualties beyond our imagination. The remaining survivors suffer from homelessness, dismemberment or displaced habitation to either orphanges or within the rubble of the city. It is sad to know that 13.5 billion dollars was sent for aid but demonstrates improper allocation of these monies. There are existing, destructed infrastructures, lack of food and lack of medical attention. Why?
These are the wounds that are carried and sought to be healed, as we continue to hear their gurgling murmurs seeping through the rubble. Still and all, the Haitians wear their wings, living or deceased. Their resilience and perseverance toil in the soils of their land and more importantly, through the veins of my sons.