Thursday, January 12, 2012

Haiti: Where There Is Hope, The Possibilities Are Endless

Haiti has paved the way for many nations, in many ways. I suppose you can do your research on that if you wish, but that's not what this is about. The Haiti we've all see in the media, before and after the 7.0 Earthquake in 2010, isn't what all of Haiti looks like and it most certainly doesn't represent the spirit of the small nation. Though I was born in the U.S., my upbringing, at it's core, has a strong Haitian foundation.

I was always taught to love and appreciate where my ancestors came from. My family went to great lengths to ensure that we always knew and understood what it means to be Haitian. I still remember my 1st trip to Haiti. I had just graduated from kindergarten, and was super excited about the trip. I even remember the dress I was wearing! My experiences in Haiti have always been good ones. Which is why when the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti, and the images of the devastation hit the airwaves, I was hurting as much as any Haitian person witnessing the horror. However, I want to take you on a journey of my memories of Haiti and share with you why I have so much hope for Haiti's future.

View of Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Every time I arrive in Haiti, be it Port-Au-Prince or Cap-Haitian, 
I am greeted by the heat as I get off the air-conditioned plane, and take in the essence of the Haitian air. Riding in the car to my destination, and looking out the window at the children playing, and the beautiful faces. I remember jumping rope on the terrace of my grandparents house with my cousins as the snow-cone merchant passed by, yelling out "fresco! fresco!" I remember the sleepovers at the beach. I remember walking hand-in-hand with my father to the ice cream parlor in the evenings in Cap-Haitian, walking past the Notre Dame Du Cap Cathedral. I remember sitting on my grandmother's terrace, watching the passerby's and listening to Haitian tunes as they filled the streets. I also remember, the tears I shed every time I left... always bittersweet.

Students at Ti Aiyti, in Cite Soleil, energized Rachel Wheeler.
As a young woman who identifies herself as Haitian, I have high hopes for the future of Haiti, and I am not the only one. It used to be that our parents used to talk about "returning home", now we are the ones talking about moving to our "motherland". With organizations such as Haitian-Americans United for Progress, Inc., S.H.A.D. and developing Humanity for Haitians, Inc. , all propelled by young Haitians helping the Haitian community even before the 2010 earthquake, there's no where to go but up. Since the epic earthquake, there has been much progress in Haiti. With a newly elected president in place, Haiti's economy and development continues to rise ( read more about this here). Big names like Donna Karen's Urban Zen: Haiti Artisan Project, Macy's Department Store Heart of Haiti  line, launched by Macy's with the help of Rachel Roy, Martha Stewart ( see Martha's blog with pics here) and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Oprah Winfrey's most recent visit to Haiti and Sean Penn's JP/HRO , people continue to pay attention. Even new business is springing up as Marriott and Digicel announced the construction of a new $45 million Marriott hotel in Port-Au-Prince. However, you don't have to have millions to make a difference. Rachel Wheeler, an 11-year old young lady from Florida, through her partnership with Food for The Poor, has raised enough to build homes and a school in a fishing village of Leogane, Haiti.

I believe that a lot of people have their heart in the right place when it comes to helping Haiti rebuild. I only ask that you act on it. There are many legitimate organizations that were not mentioned here, that you can support in the efforts to continue to help Haiti. Consider one's spirit, one's will to survive and perseverance as strong as that of the Haitian people. Consider the hard work of all of those who care about the country and it's people, who are on the ground, in the field, working every day... It is impossible not to have hope.

And where there is hope... the possibilities are endless.

Our prayers go out to all of those affected by the 7.0 Earthquake of 2010 in Haiti.

Haïti Chérie,  nou Là et nou pap lagé'w nan la priyè. Kimbé ferm!

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