A Product of Oakland.

A Oakland, California native who aspires to better her community through the power of traveling. 

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Long before the Haitians fought back

The ancients taught that

Fiction would be as real as fact

Matter of fact? Fact won’t matter

What matters is that fact would seem to matter

On the surface

But in the belly of the earthquake

Machines would cause faults on purpose

Purpose being to turn supreme beings to corpses

The same beings who broke France’s back from the backs of horses

Shook their shackles, dealt the West their first free labor losses

Count the costs

Thirty-plus coups d’état, spiteful embargoes, and French extortion

All designed to keep Haiti from rising

But long before the Haitians fought back

The ancients taught that

The Africans could never be poor people

They are my people and your people

Never those people

Always close people

For we people will always be free

People no matter where we be people

For long before the Haitians fought back

The Ancients taught that

Spirit could never be slaved

And we be Spirit People

Long before the Haitians fought back – Ezili Danto

 

My Perspective

I thought there would be rubble all over the streets

Left to right

Left from the quake that awoke one night

I thought the city would be ruins

Ruined from social neglect

No cultural respect

I thought the people would be skin and bones

From revenge for freedom

Deeds they did not do but breed from

I was wrong…

Through the bad there was still good

Still smiles, still laughter, still kindness

There was no blindness to the wrong that had been done

Just no dwell over what cannot be re-done

Still they thrive to make the best out of what’s said to the worst

Still they prosper

Still they overcome

 

The Trip

I stepped off the plane overwhelmed by the heat and the mass amount of conversations happening around me in a language I did not understand. With no familiar faces around me I did not wonder far. As I waited for my friend’s plane to arrive, I sat their anxious and nervous. Why was I here? In not only one of the ‘poorest’ countries in the world but a country with the highest rates of U.S citizen kidnappings. It’s funny because I looked up all these statics before this trip but they did not seem to strike me until that very moment. I sat there with my mind wondering – until it wondered back to my Fall semester of 2016. When I was sitting in my Cultural Anthropology class with my amazing professor Leslie Fleming, learning about the many aspects of the Haitian culture – from how it was developed to why it is in its current state. Then it came to me – the reason why I was in a Haiti that very moment. To experience something the text book could not teach me, to meet the amazing people I read about, to actually see the art I had seen sitting behind my desk, and to see this present culture that has grew from its past battles. Past battles filled with warriors who fought for their freedom, when freedom was the only cost of living. That’s why I was there – because Haiti inspired me and I could not allow some Eurocentric statics stop me from visiting a place with so much beauty to offer.

Eventually, I found my friend and after making it past customs we received our bags and waited for our taxi. My friend who was not of African descent gained a lot of attention. Many people approached her offering her a ride or tried to get her to purchase something. The only time they would offer me anything was when I was standing next to her, which I guess gave off the illusion that I may have had some money. However, when I was by myself I was barely approached. Of course, I was not at the airport in my best clothes – I wouldn’t call them my worst but let’s just say I was not dressed like I owned much. Therefore, I assume that when I was not beside my friend who was obviously a foreigner I was just seen as a normal Haitian arriving home.

By time I arrived to the hotel I was built with excitement – so ready to explore and mainly EAT! Port-au-Prince offered so many beautiful art sceneries, from art museums to morals on the wall to amazing bright colored busses on the streets. Every place I went awed me with amazement! The food … well let’s just say there has been a lot of culture borrowing in Haiti … and it was very hard for me to find actual Haitian food. However, French food was never hard to find! Or a Chinese couple selling lasagna? Which was referred to by the locals as “Chinese food.”

The food was the second most shocking thing about my trip. The first was the cost! Haitians, understand they are living in a poor economy so when they come into interactions with foreigners they are not taking the typical amount. Not only did no one accept Haitian money from me (they wanted U.S money only), but they also did not bargain with me AT ALL! I would dismiss an offer for an item thinking the seller would perhaps drop the price – no they simply walked away. Recalling my trip to Ghana, I was stayed there for a couple of weeks with only $300 and still had a little money by the end of my trip. In Haiti, I had about $500 and was almost broke by the third day. Thank god for the hotel’s free breakfast!

Besides the cost of being a tourist and the lack of actual Haitian dining, the trip was an amazing learning experience. I saw how the country was being negatively affected by other countries and what I must do at home to help them. For example, not purchasing from certain corporations that are stealing Haitian resources and under paying Haitian workers. I also saw how the city majorly progressed from the horrific 2010 Earthquake. They rebuilt many buildings and homes. Most elders were not able to speak English; however, I did have many conversations with the youth in Haiti. Many asked questions about America and told me about their dreams of visiting. However, there were others who had no dream or intention to ever leave Haiti. Instead, they talked about a dream of fixing the problems in Haiti and building the economy. A dream I truly admired. 

Guatemala

Guatemala

Washington D.C

Washington D.C