CULTUREDISCOVERING HAITIEN UNE

(Re)discovering Haiti

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It had been two years since my last visit to Haiti, my motherland, and the place I call home. I was anxious about my trip, excited, and nervous. I could not wait to see my family and friends. I could not wait to escape the cold. As soon as I got off the plane, I instantly felt invigorated by the sun and by the sounds of the troubadou at the airport entrance. I was overwhelmed by the noises, the scents, the people. I felt at home.

During my short stay my family and I explored the South. We discovered the great waterfall of Saut Mathurine, we stopped at Camp-Perrin, les Cayes and we went to Coteaux for the pelerinage of the 500 steps, climbing under a heavy rain, the never-ending stairs all the way to the statue of Virgin Mary! I slept to the appeasing sounds of the waves hitting the shore at Pointe-Sable, Port-Salut.

What struck me most during my trip was that even after two years of absence I did not feel disoriented, I did not feel lost. On the contrary, I felt a sense of belonging that I sometimes lack in my residing country. I remember reading an article describing the difference between an adoptive mother and a birth mother. The difference was not in the degree of the bond, but rather in its nature. Canada is my adoptive home, it has shaped me into the woman I am today and has given me the platform to realize many of my dreams. This trip for me, was a long anticipated reunion with my birth mother, the one who heals my wounds, knows my soul, understands my sorrows and my joys. Haiti is my birth mother; the bond we share transcends distance.

I fell in love with my country, its natural beauties, its beaches, its potential all over again. I did not want to leave! Haiti isn’t perfect, but which country is? I love my “Haiti chérie” for all its beauties, all its imperfections.

I am aware that I am writing this through the eyes of a tourist. It’s been 10 years since I left. To many, I would be considered a “diaspora” who has lost touch with the reality of living home. Nonetheless, I can tell you that if you plan on going back home, take the time to discover your land, to appreciate it. Haiti is more than Port-au-Prince, more than “programmes“, more than Petion-Ville. Next time you go to Haiti, I hope you will get the chance to explore your country like I did. Haiti, #experienceit!

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Vanessa Poitevien

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