Travel Journal: Ayiti Cherie, A Homecoming

200% Haitian.

That’s what’s written in my social media bios, and it’s an indication of the pride that I have in where I come from and in who I am that I’ve been struggling to put into words since my return.

I was determined on this trip to take a picture with a “tap tap” – a Haitian bus – so my cousin had one driven to my parents’ home for an impromptu shoot!

I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, although by the time I was seven months old, my parents had already immigrated to New York City. We visited sporadically in the years that followed, but my connection to my country was really rooted in my home, and in the homes of my grandmother, my aunts and my cousins, where the language, the food, and the culture were always apparent.

It’s a connection that I don’t think I fully acknowledged, or even appreciated, until a few years ago, but one that has been cultivated over decades, and that I am proud to say forms a large part of who I am as a woman today.

Outside the gates of my cousin’s home in Petionville.

That being said, it had been seven years since I’d been to Haiti, and this trip wasn’t about me. This trip was about my son.

My son Nico’s SECOND time in Haiti!

My son’s father is from Mexico, and with his parents still living in Mexico (and my son being the only grandchild on both sides), visits to Mexico had always taken precedence as an effort to ensure that he built the type of relationship with his grandparents there as he has with my parents who live ten minutes away from us. I am well aware of how blessed I have been to have brought a child into two incredibly loving and involved families, and I have watched him, over time, fall in love with Mexico, playing futbol in the streets with neighbours and friends and eating homemade quesadillas and Azucaradas for breakfast. That legacy is a part of him, but there’s more.

It was him who asked to go for what he was quick to tell everyone was his SECOND trip to Haiti, the first being the trip I’d taken in April 2010 to help with relief efforts after the earthquake while pregnant with him.

Nico & my cousin’s daughter, Darlie – they’re the same age and we were both meeting her for the first time!
Nico and some more second cousins we were all just meeting – a new generation of family bonding!
Nico hanging out with some of the boys from the church before an intense after service futbol match!

 

“Gwo Mache Mirak” translates to “Big Miracle Market”
Nico at Sunshine Beach
Nico, my mother, and the incredible kids at my parents’ orphanage in Fonds Parisien (www.notremaisonhaiti.com)
Nico & my uncle, Pa Changlais – these two became the best of friends!
Nico & my sister drinking coconut water from my uncle’s coconut trees

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On this trip, this homecoming, I watched my son fall in love with my family, my people, and my country, and I watched him make it his country too. My heart is so full. And I am so blessed.

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