Embodying the Haitian Spirit

Since the early 1500s when the first slaves were brought to the island of Hispaniola to the present day economic disparity that so many face, Haitians seems to have always had a relentless spirit. This relentless spirit that helped one of the colonies with the harshest conditions for slaves become the first free black nation is still well and alive in the people today, and we as interns here have had the honor of embodying some of the characteristics that exemplify the Haitian spirit.

Pride, Resilience, and Joy: these three characteristics are prevalent among Haitians both here in Haiti and back in the United States. I have seen these characteristics that influence the Haitian spirit manifest in many different ways on this trip. It has become clear that they are a common factor among many whether in Port-au-Prince or on top of a mountain in Bois Jolie.

Pride, arguably the most apparent of these three, is historically rooted in the culture. As the first black nation to progress from a slave state to an independent nation, Haitians have much to be prideful about, but it does not just stop there. Haiti was once considered the pearl of the Antilles for its lush lands and natural beauty. Proclaimed on every license plate in Haiti, this designation is still made today by the Haitian people.

The view from my Grandmother’s porch looking out over the sea and mountains.

Pride, Resilience, and Joy: these three characteristics are prevalent among Haitians both here in Haiti and back in the United States. I have seen these characteristics that influence the Haitian spirit manifest in many different ways especially on this trip. It has become clear that they are a common factor among many whether in Port-au-Prince or on top of a mountain in Bois Jolie.

Another instance of pride among the Haitian people is evident in the farmers in Bois Jolie. Over the past three weeks as we have completed tree survival surveys and economic surveys, it has been impossible to be oblivious to the pride they take in the progress they have made over the past few years. As we have been completing economic surveys, the final question we ask the farmers is how much coffee they anticipate harvesting this year. Whether their answer is two buckets or ten, they always say it with such dignity.

As we continue on through the rest of our time in Haiti, I am excited to see how these characteristics continue to be exemplified in many different aspects of all that Haitians do.

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