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.