Thursday, December 2, 2010

Clutched in the palm of two worlds...

Clutched in the palms of two worlds, she gasps for air while contemplating arrival. This was her first venture across the oceans.  She’d resided in rural Ayiti since infancy, and now enclosed within this winged boat her reunion with Mama was eminent, yet inconceivable in nature.

 Her parents had emigrated to ’lot bo’ the United States in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, leaving her behind. While abroad Papa was brutally murdered, so judgment and ambitions of this better world was primarily induced by confusion.  

Now 15 years later it’s her turn to travel with aspiration of a 'better' tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


  Hold fast to dreams.
For if dreams die.
Life is a broken-winged bird.

That cannot fly. 

Hold Fast to dreams. 

For when dreams go.

Life is a barren field.  

Frozen with snow.

-Langston Hughes


It's odd but a new phrase I've found resonating with me is to dream. I have always had  vague dreams of prosperity, fame, and charity,but not as detailed and vivid as those which have recently filled my thoughts.  God has opened up new doors filled with clarity and hope, a door filled with dreams. And I'm thankful.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The mystery unfolds...

So a few days ago I finally had the opportunity to converse with my Grandmother on the phone. She has now moved in with my godmother since the quake had ravaged her home. And given the fact that her four story, brick and mortar home collapsed with her inside her mobility has been limited, while her recovery's been slow but remarkably successful.  I hadn't spoken to her for a couple of months since she returned back to Port-au-Prince from her doctors appointments in Florida.

And to my surprise her voice seemed rather amused when she heard of my plans to learn all the bits and details I could possibly squeeze out of her life. So blindly, I dove into my repertoire of inquiry, skills I beleived I had sharpened while being a  race-relations facilitator at PSU. Our conversation was... hmmm?. Charming. She conservatively responded to most of my questions. But still managed to remain a complete mystery.

Yes, she recounted the skeletal version of her childhood, which honestly was kind of like visiting New York on a ferry and having someone point out the Statue of Liberty, Empire State building, Ellis Island, all the major attractions but never really able to see nothing more then their silhouettes. I could also hear her glisten as she genially recounted the wide-spread development that has taken place in the small village of Maniche, her childhood home. And luckily promised to take me on a personal trip once I returned back home.

As delightful as it was to talk to my wonderful grandma it left me famished. Whenever I attempted to dig a little bit deeper as to why she moved to Port-au-Prince or the death of her siblings or anything else remotely personal;she quietly exclaimed such matters could never be described while on a phone. And as I listened, I recognized a comportment I had grown up noticing, never realizing my knowledge of what it indicated. Throughout my childhood especially around the kitchen table or wherever "granmoun"/adults would congregate and speak about politics or the dangers outside their walls they would lower their voices. In the past I simply thought such matters weren't to be heard by children like me but now question if this was the only reason. Could they possibly also harness fear of real criminal activities luring nearer if this was overheard outside their tight circle? Maybe, maybe not.

So our conversation didn't go exactly as I had for seen, but remain optimistic for the future.
Nothing worth-while is easy especially when dealing with such delicate verities, so I'm gearing up for an exciting array of future conversations with her. These exchanges will require patience, empathy, love and will...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Letters to my Grandma ...

 And that is the mystery that is my grandmother...Born on the dawn of the war that was to end all wars on November 11, 1938.

When ever my grandmother comes to mind, a tinge of guilt follows. Simply put, I wish we were buds. Ever since before I can remember I've always associated my grandma with food. Through out my childhood we would customarily go to my grandmother's home after school and 95% of the time  our brief conversation would revolve around food. Usually inquiring if I was hungry, not necessarily considering if I was or not because before I knew it the maid,  Yollete, would serve hot plates of food for my siblings and I. So we grew accustomed to nodding our heads as she made sure our stomachs were filled to the brim. But upon consideration , I'm guessing she has  probably however detected that the gift of a simple plate of food has always brought joy and contentment in her world where one hot meal a day is rare and few between. But other then our conservative exchanges, she spoke very little of herself and has remained a mystery.

I have always been intrigued by my grandmother. I have been blessed with the good fortune of carrying her name the 'Victorious one.' From what my mother tells me, my grandmother was born into a very wealthy in the small commune of Maniche but never was granted the gift of a scholastic education.  It was said that in the area where she had resided as a child if she bore an education  she could have possibly been murdered; my great grandmother, her mother: Mme Julienne, weighed her odds and her preference was in favor of having her only child alive.Especially given the fact that her other two sons had been brutally murdered for contending to acquire an education. Who could blame her?

As I continued to extract tantalizing bits of information from my mother of this mysterious woman I came up with a glorious idea! How could I further my understanding of this matron who intimately mothered 10 children, a renown seamstress, managed a myriad of succesfull (magazines) businesses in Maniche, Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince, acquired  various plots of land  all over the country, etc...
Maybe, just ask her myself.

I know this task will not be easy, especially given the limited exchanges we've had in the past.  But delving into such intimate conversations will be valuable.

To begin my journey I have written her a letter...

Dear Grandma,

I primarily wanted to let you know how much I admire you.I'm not sure how I lucked out and got a grandma as extraordinary as you, you are the epitome of a  woman, strong, elegant, wise,etc..
From what your children have recounted:
You are an amazing wife, and loving mother: trustworthy, rare, and kind. You were also a disciplined,enterprising, and one of the most hardworking women they all have ever known.
 If God permits: I would love to learn more about you, your experiences,your trials & your hopes and dreams, ...

I love you.

Your grand-daughter,


Thursday, August 26, 2010


 Inhale the sweet aroma of fresh sugarcane chiseled with the machete, 
Savor the vibrancy
of  their smile,
 Overhear the 
crackling fortune of grilled corn...

Engage the explosion of the flavors and fragrances brewed in a demitasse de café, and
Contemplate the majesty
of the towering mountains which serves as a guardian to the millions that live 
in its 

Close your eyes and see le drapeau Haitien ;
its effervescent blue and red.

Indigenous to the Taino,a haven for linguistic anthropology, 
it has harbored refuge for the 1st successful slave revolt in history,
la Perle des Antilles,
home to me.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Through their eyes...

Have you ever ventured to see the world through the lens of an another

As I sit here clenching my over-sized bag to my chest in what seems to be the midst of  1,000s of people...I find myself lost in the dreams of the factory worker who just completed a 12 hour shift this morning, who bows his head in hopes that one day he will come home early enough to tuck his daughter to sleep or leave home late enough to share a warm breakfast with his beautiful family.

 I get lured in by the sweet melodies of the penniless lady who sings with her heart in hopes that one day her lingering odor won't tell her story, nor the spare change she receives from her sympathetic audience, but that one day her aspirations to tell her story to the world, to move nations with her God-given gift will come to fruition.

The aromatic perfume of freshly brewed fair trade coffee awakens my senses... as I gander upon the oh-to familiar "wall street junkies" dressed in their rent priced suits as they juggle the morning paper in one hand , blackberries in an another, intense cravings of handling vast amounts of money and determined to risk a mouthful of the national economy.

Then of-course, my commute to central Manhattan wouldn't be complete with out the wide-eyed tourists equipped with their fanny packs,who travel like schools of fish; and who's excitement is contagious to all whom bear eyes upon this color-coordinated bunch. They remind us, that we are in what most believe to be: the greatest city in the world but assuredly the most populated. Their awe-stricken anxiety honors this city's influence over global commerce,media, art, fashion, research, education ,entertainment and more. They are ready to devour as much they can...

And yes at times I pinch myself because I wonder if this is reality. Millions of people living their lives in hopes of the realization of something greater, thousands of people wandering from one location to another , hundreds going through the motions...

And as I sit here I can't help but pray, pray for each and every one of them because their stories are imprinted and my hopes that their hopes (whatever they may be) are realized.