I am going to Haïti. Wait… What did I just say? Yes I am going to Haïti! Wow I can’t believe it. I have only been to Haïti once in my life, back in 2003, and I haven’t been back since. Why you might ask? Well, because my parents, especially my dad, would always say that it was dangerous or there were a lot of kidnappings. It was always negative. My favorite comment was “I don’t want you near those Haitian people”. I remember saying, “okay, wait, aren’t we Haitians too?” His response was, “yes, but we can’t trust “those Haitians”. I assumed “those Haitians” were the people who were stuck in Haïti or didn’t have a desire to come to America. Wow, what a thing to tell your child, especially someone like me who was always considered a “kum ba ya” kind of girl. I accept all people and all cultures for who and what they are.
Even though I heard this all my life, I always knew I would go visit and see it for myself. The first time I went to Haïti in 2003, I was with my uncle, who loves Haïti and didn’t mind me tagging along with him on his outings. It was great! I got to meet so many family members I didn’t know existed. After interacting with “those Haitians” for a week, it became evidently clear Haïti was not this dangerous place I was told about all my life. Maybe it was because I was with my uncle, I don’t know, but I vowed to myself I was going back.
I had planned on going back to Haïti to do a documentary on the beauty of my ‘Ayiti’. I was going to get a camera, go down there and just start filming. I planned on acquiring a grant to help fund my trip so I could capture the real Haïti and in the process begin to change people’s thoughts and perception about the Haïti they know of through the media. I shared my plan with my dad and surprisingly he went and bought me a little JVC camera. “Aww dad that’s cute”, I said “but I am going to need a professional camcorder that costs about $5000”. My dad didn’t have a clue, but he meant well.
Then in 2010, the earthquake hit. Oh no! You can’t be serious. Here I was planning to gather footage to show people, here in the US, the culture and beauty of Haïti, for it to now have nearly been destroyed in the span of 35 seconds. The earthquake was all over the news. People were dying, starving, in need of shelter, etc… I can’t go to Haïti now. Instead of my dad telling me it’s dangerous and not safe, the news is telling me. Now it’s impossible for me to go. Or was it?
I’m in church one Sunday and I see on the video screen a woman talking about raising money for Haïti to build a “water distribution system”. Um, what? What is a “water distribution system”? It looked like a good idea, but I didn’t really understand how this woman was able to go back and forth to Haïti without any problems. I thought it was impossible to travel to Haïti unless you were the “Red Cross” or something. So needless to say, she got my attention. Her name flashed across the screen, Marie Eusebe. No way! I know her. I met her a few years back on an acting project. So, at the end of the video I knew I had to be a part of this. The progress she was making was more than I had ever seen. So I decided to join Community2Community (C2C). I was very impressed not only with the progress the organization had made, but its vision. C2C is all about the community and building relationships. So, it was settled, I am going to Haïti. I just didn’t know when.
Since I joined in 2013, C2C has gone to Haïti 3 times, but I still wasn’t able to go. I decided the time to go would be when my finances were in order. I want and need to see the people and help build communities. So, I put on my “vision board”, “Trip to Haïti in 2014”. Again, didn’t know how or when, but I’m going. Well during one of C2C’s monthly meetings, we were told the next trip to Haïti would be March 9, 2014. Oh no, I’m not financially ready to go in March. It’s okay, I’ll just wait until the next trip. But then I checked my account, like I always do, and saw that I had some extra cash to pay for a ticket. Yay, I can go! God really wants me to go. It’s on my “vision board” remember? I can finally document my time there and hopefully change the minds and hearts of people with my experience. Most importantly, I hope my experience will change my dad’s mind. We shall see. I will report back later. Bye for now…
With Lacroix is an actress, business woman and C2C team member who loves to help and inspire people.