The battle of the Caribbean islands was on!
It all started when my in- laws coordinated a trip to their country of origin, Trinidad and Tobago. They wanted their grandchildren to see and get to know their life journey. It was great trip with lots food, fun, and of course being with family. It got me to thinking that it was equally important for my kids to get to know my parents’ country of origin, Haiti.
So what does a fully assimilated Haitian-American do to make that happen?
I booked a cruise, of course.
Now, I had set my expectations of Haiti very high. I was 6 years old the last time I had visited. I mean on a scale of 1-10, it was on one million. What life has taught me is that the higher the expectations, the more likely you are to be disappointed. I brought it on myself and that is exactly what happened when we docked in Labadee, Haiti. As we approached Haiti on Day 3, I was struck by the beauty of the mountains and how picturesque the scenery was. Then out of nowhere a dark cloud appeared over us and began a torrential downpour, an ominous sign indeed.
–Haiti is the most mountainous country in the Caribbean.
–Haiti has the second longest coastline in the Caribbean after Cuba; 1.100 miles. Over 70% of its beaches are still virgin.
–Haiti was the second country in the world to issue a Declaration of Independence, only 33 years after the United States of America.
–The first and only country in the history of mankind whose independence is the result of a successful slave rebellion.
–Haiti is the first Black Republic in the World.
–The first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolished slavery; it would take the United States of America another 65 years to follow suit.
–The first and only Black Nation to have successfully defeated a major world power in a war; under the command of Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haiti defeated the world mightiest army at the time, France’s; on November 18th 1803 after 14 years of battle.
-The only country in the Western Hemisphere to have defeated three colonial armies for its independence. The powerful armies of Spain, England and France.
-Haiti is unique in history, going directly from slavery to nationhood.
–The National flag of Venezuela was created at the sea port of Jacmel, a city in south east Haiti.
–Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic for 22 years. From 1822 to 1844, holding the entire Island of Hispaniola under Its jurisdiction. Today’s Dominican Republic was called Spanish Haiti at the time.
–Haiti is one of the only two countries in the American Continent having French as an official language. The other is Canada.
–Haiti is the only country in the world with Vodou as an official religion.
–For much of the 17th and the 18th century, Haiti was responsible for 60% of the world’s coffee exports.