The following blog post initially appeared on The Be Like Brit Foundation, Inc website on August 28, 2016. You may read the original piece by clicking here.
I was personally asked by Papi Len Gengel and Jonathan LaMare to contribute to this week’s blog post on belikebrit.org following my first trip to Brit’s Home with Team Water-Buffalo.
As a son of Haitian immigrants, it felt surreal being back in the old country knowing where you are — yet experiencing something totally fresh and new with two mindsets:
The mindset of a “jaspora” (a diasporan) who has been immersed in the country’s culture since birth.
The mindset of a “blan” (a foreigner) who at times knew absolutely nothing.
During the trip, I became de facto diplomat acting as the bridge between the two cultures. Giving both my new friends an insight into the country and teaching members of the Grand Goâve community what life is like abroad. At the same time, I was learning more about my “Home Sweet Haiti,” the country born in me.
I have always felt a strong sense of social responsibility for my parent’s homeland and to not sit idly by watching it crumble. However, it wasn’t until I actually arrived and got to work that I could see my actions although so small making a long-term impact.
Today, Jackson François, better know to many as “Pap Padap,” and his family are now enjoying their brand new home on top of a beautiful hill overlooking their beautiful homeland.
Never again will this family have the need to worry about having a roof over their heads and being fully secure.
Meanwhile, 67 children currently living at Brit’s home, will continue to receive unconditional love while learning new things that the would not have been possible had January 12, 2010 and the days following it been just another day in Haiti.
My friend Hannah Lowman-Ernest who also traveled with me this week best described it like this:
“While we can’t go and make a difference for the whole country, knowing that as a group we did make a difference for a family is such a positive feeling. To see people with so little continue to move forward with life and never give up is inspiring.”
Experiencing all of these moments this past week has renewed my faith and hope for humanity.
There is a chorus line from a song by Scorpio Universel, a Haitian kompas-direct band, released in 1977, titled “Ensem’ Ensem’…” It translates to: “Together, Together.”
The Chorus line goes:
“Ensem, Esnsem nap resusi/ Together, Together, we will be successful.”
If together, we were to put our heads together, our actions and contributions would go a long way in making a long-term impact in Haiti.
For those who have traveled here in the past, it starts at home sharing your experiences with others.
Let us start this and continue to help Haiti move forward together.
Rony Camille is the son of Haitian parents and is currently a digital producer based in Boston, MA USA., He can be reached through his website: ronycamille.com