Hi, my name is Nathalie and I am Haitian! It took 36 years for me to say it and write it proudly. Allow me to give you some background about myself. My parents are from Haiti, however, I never visited until I was in my 40s. My parents first immigrated to the Bahamas. There they had my two brothers and me. In 1978, we immigrated to United States (Miami, Florida). My mother, brothers and I came over in a rickety-rick boat with about 20 other immigrants. Back in the 70s and 80s, we were called the “boat people”. A very negative phrase and that stigma stayed with me until I graduated from high school.
For many years, I was ashamed of where I came from because of the “boat people” stigma and how the media portrayed the Haitian people. It took me 36 years to overcome it and embrace my heritage. I finally overcame the stigma and negativity when I visited the Republic of Haiti in July of 2016. What I saw was strength, beauty, resilience, and determination. Anderson Cooper of CNN stated it eloquently “I have never met a Haitian who isn’t strong,” Cooper said. “You have to be to survive in a place where the government has often abandoned its people. Where opportunities are few and where Mother Nature has punished the people far more than anyone should ever be punished.”
Currently, Haiti is in the media because of a negative statement made about it. I refused to repeat it as it is egregious and it does not warrant the attention. Below are pictures of my past trip and its people through my eyes
Port-au-Prince is the capital and the most populous city in Haiti and known affectionately as PAP.
Cap-Haïtien is a port city on the north coast of Haiti. It’s known for its French colonial architecture.
The Citadelle is a large mountaintop fortress in Nord, Haiti. This iconic fortress was once the crown jewel of Haiti’s national defense.
Jacmel is a port town on the south coast of Haiti. The art capital of Haiti.
West if Jacmel, the Bassin-Bleu are blue pools fed by waterfalls, surrounded by lush vegetation.
Port-Salut is a popular destination for local Haitians as well as tourists to a certain degree seeking relaxation and tranquility due to the beautiful beaches that the town is surrounded by. The area has yet to be discovered on a mainstream tourist level.
I leave you with one of the lasting images I have of Haiti. The kids enjoying the beach as the sun is setting. Haiti IS a rich and bountiful country with extraordinary people. Go and visit for yourself.
Wow there’s so much to see in Haiti! I love the street art, the colourful steps, the city with the French colonial architecture, and of course, the beaches! I haven’t met a lot of people from Haiti (not in the part of the world where I live at least) so I don’t have a lot of knowledge about your country but it looks gorgeous!
I love this and I love your photography. I’m really glad that you’re starting to own up to your heritage and be proud that your family comes from Haiti. It definitely has a negative reputation, but that reputation can’t be overcome until people start to see the positive side of the country and the positive steps that it is making.
Australian politicians use the phrase “boat people” to refer to refugees as well, and it’s a really disgusting way to reduce people to a problem and make it a political issue rather than a human rights issue. Hopefully we can collectively learn to have more compassion for people from difficult situations.
Good for you to embrace your homeland and say it proudly. I find it really disgusting that you would be called boat people and be discriminated against – pretty much all Europeans who came to the US also came by boat – we are all “boat people,” actually!
Haiti looks beautiful by the way, I can understand why you are proud to be Haitian
Love the pictures it looks beautiful especially the Bassin-Bleu. It’s good to see Haiti portrayed positively. Apart from Indigenous people of America aren’t everyone else’boat people’?
This is such a beautifully written post – I’m so pleased you feel now able to embrace your Haitian heritage, and your positive feelings about Haiti as a place. The pictures are stunning, it is really such a beautiful place, and I’ve learnt a lot about a country I knew very little about.
Such an honest, raw and touching article. I love all your photos of Haiti, it looks like a beautiful place to visit. I hope to visit one day see the beauty for myself.
Wow! Never knew that Haiti is this beautiful! I really love the photos from the Bassin Bleu and from the beach, they are both perfect. I also love the pictures of the children smiling and the piece of art from Jacmel. Such a nice place to visit.
Port-au-Prince looks really beautiful. Look at the presidential palace, it is grand and the views from deck are just awesome. Cap-Haitien too is a colonial architecture hub. The large mountaintop fortress of citadelle actually looks like a crown. I love those stairs with graffitis. The blue pools of are lovely too. Overall Haiti looks great.
Haiti looks beautiful, no other word for it. For some reason, the name Haiti always conjures up for me images of exotic natural beauty, pristine water bodies, and verdant landscape. Now I see the reason for it. The country is blessed with sublime beauty all around. I read about your family’s travails as you hopped on a boat to reach the shores of America and was really moved by your poignant story. Great to see you going back to your roots and feeling proud of it.