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.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Veni, vidi, vici...

Approximately 4yrs ago I was rearing the end of my extra-ordinary high school education at QCS. At my commencement ceremony I was honored with the privilege of sharing a few words to bid the class of 2006 fair well. If I only knew how fast the years would fly by.  And tonight as I looked through my life's accouterments : approximately 2 1/2 tattered suitcases, two medium-sized plastic bins, and a miniature pile of bits of this and  pieces of that, that I've collected within the past 7-8 years.

As I scanned through my belongings,surprisingly cached in the folds of a journal I had assembled long ago  I was greeted by these very words I had shared on May 10,2006. (Fortunately I had  neatly hand-written this speech on wide ruled paper )  . It  began like this:

"      Board members, faculty,staff, parents, honored guests, and class mates. When I was asked to say something today, I immediately got  nervous, (still nervous now) Everyone around me was willing to help and give me advice, but at the same time I felt that what I eventually would say ,wouldn't live up to the  expectations that so many had for me and that frightened me. 
And when I started thinking about it, I realized in that in the following year I will be placed in a position where I ultimately  have the power to do whatever I want, no parents,no real control, no supervision- I will be tested in ways I've never even imagined. My perseverance, my determination, my adaptability, my beliefs- All that I hold close to my heart will be examined.
Am I worried? afraid? nervous? ( ofcourse)  My stomach turns just as I think of it. But,should I be worried? What am I ultimately afraid of? I think I am afraid of myself, afraid of believing in myself. I had heard this poem by Marianne Williamson about a year ago, It came to my mind as I thought of this. Here it is:

'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others'

 Fear and I got pretty close.. But as I read this poem and my family and friends reminded me of who I am in God, my identity as His image on earth. (I guess you could say )I felt empowered but at the same reinforced that I am on a journey of self-discovery.

When I began this school year , I honestly didn't know what to expect. Our class of over 21 was down to 12 people, and later on 10, the situation outside of these walls was progressively getting worse- Haiti had repeatedly discouraged me. It got harder and harder to see the sunshine through the rain 

Thank God, I had the opportunity of visiting more of my country this year. (Seguin, Il a vache etc) After Seguin I saw that God still moves in Haiti. Yes, the people of the land were blindly mistreating it, but amidst of all the destruction and deforestation- I saw beauty beyond compare. I saw a little bit of what my country used to be and what it can be.

We the class of 2006 are like Haiti in some ways We have been tested and tried, at times the situations that encompass us tried to drown us. But we are still beautiful. We've come to shine unconsciously- Through out this school year- I've really noticed that. The kids of our school really look up to us. For reasons I'm still learning to comprehend.

And now the class of 2006:
I'm sure we are all looking forward to the next steps of our lives, but I now fear has tried to blind our vision, and we shouldn't let it because God has not given us a spirit of fear but of strength and sound mind. We mus continue inspire, continue to liberate others...

But all I can say for now is  Veni, Vidi, Vici... WE CAME, WE SAW , WE CONQUERED!