Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

The following post was submitted by Ellen Thompson. Ellen is a Haitian-American medical professional living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and two children.


Plate&Fork- 032Throughout my years growing up as a Haitian child, my mother would fix us Haitian breakfast pretty much every morning. My mother had some rules when it came to breakfast. Always eat everything on your plate, never turn down any type of food and you can never eat a man’s food. We as woman were taught that we pile up the man’s plate and don’t eat off it. As I got older, I missed those home cooked breakfasts and I didn’t really cook them when I got on my own. After my grandmother passed away in 2011, my now husband Danny, my son and I went to New York for her funeral and I finally got a chance to have some of that home cooked breakfast that I haven’t had really since my mother moved back to New York a few years ago. But there was one thing I didn’t mention, my husband is a southern black man from North Carolina, who has never had a Haitian breakfast and his best idea of Haitian food is rice and beans.


As we traveled on the train from Orlando to New York, he asked a lot of questions about my family and how to act. This is the first time that he had met my family and he was really nervous. I figured he knew the rules, little did I know that I should have explained all of these principles to him. After we got into town and good night’s slept, we decided to have breakfast before we went into the city for a busy day. My mother fixed one of my favorites, Mais Moulin and avocado. I explained to my husband how excited I was to be having this when he asked me “Ellen, what does Mais Moulin taste like?” After thinking about what to say, the only thing that came to mind was Yellow Grits. Little did I know how much he loved Grits?

As we sat down at the table, my excitement grew as my mother fixed our plates and as she laid them down on the table, I saw my husband’s face look deflated like a balloon that lost its air. My mother hovered over us as we took the first few bites, as I took my bites the memories of growing up as a child flowed through my mind and the taste was incredible. When I turned and looked at Danny, it looked like the opened a present on Christmas morning expecting the one thing he asked for and ended up getting a pair of socks. My mother started speaking in Creole, he doesn’t like the food? Danny smiled and said its good Mrs. Michelle. Then Danny leaned over and said “Baby, this isn’t Grits, I have no idea what this is, but this isn’t’ Quaker.” I finished off my food like it was last supper and I looked over at Danny’s plate and he only had taken two bites. Looking a child who was looking for the family pet to come over to eat the food off his plate, I started to take some of his breakfast when my mother and aunt stopped me in my tracks. “Ellen, don’t eat Danny’s food” my mother said. “Danny is the man and he needs to eat all of his food.” He took another bite and he whispered in my ear, “This tastes like gravel and I can’t eat any of this anymore.” I told him that it’s disrespectful to not eat the food that is made and it’s insulting to say that the food is terrible. He explained that he would just have to eat it and that’s it. Danny had the look of a 3 year old was just told the word “No”. I grabbed small spoonful’s to help him out, but he had to put in the work to get it done.

After breakfast was done and we started out on our day, he told me that I only finished the food because I wanted my future mother-in-law not to dislike him at all. But he asked where the nearest pizza place on the way to the subway is.

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Blog post submitted by Eveline Joachim

Thursday December 20th, 2012 I took my first flight alone to Haiti. This was a petrifying experience, the fear of getting lost and not knowing the language to communicate concerned me. The plans were to meet my dad and brother at Port au Prince Airport but when I called my father before I boarded the plan, he told me that my step mother will be there to pick me up. Now, that made me worry even the more because she doesn’t know enough English for us to communicate, for that reason I knew this was going to be a challenge. So of course I decided to pray… I prayed for protection and guidance. I ask the Lord to send someone my way once I reach Haiti airport to help me; and believe or not, He did just that. I claimed my bag, went through security and kept walking to go locate my step mother. To be honest, I was so afraid because things looked slightly different from before so that threw me off. I walked outside and stepped right back inside the airport after seeing the crowd of people; it seemed impossible to locate a face through the mass amount of people that was out there. That’s when an angel in disguise came to my rescue, this random dude approach me speaking creole… I told him I only spoke English so he asked me in English if I was okay. I explained to him that I was supposed to meet someone there but I couldn’t locate them. I gave him my step mothers’ number and he called her for me, then stayed on the phone until I was with her safe and sound. I was so thankful because I don’t know what I would have done without his help. After that little dilemma, I was still shaken up; I didn’t even show my step mom any type of excitement when I saw her. It was nothing personal but I was just so puzzled that I actually had the nerve to travel alone. We greeted and headed to the car to go home, she called my father to inform him that we found each other. He got on the phone and started to ask questions, he made me feel loved and cared for.

After the first night, I was able to regroup. It was just so much going with me personally that I didn’t have enough time to prepare myself mentally for this trip. However, I was excited to be in Haiti for many reasons… I wanted to do something different for Christmas; I was excited to be there for my father’s birthday, I always looked forward to meeting new people and loving on the children. This was a spontaneous mini mission’s trip for me because I had no plans no agenda. I took it one day at a time and since the time I got there till Sunday the 23rd, I ran errands with my father and step mother preparing for his birthday celebration. Every year my dad celebrates his birthday by inviting kids in the community to come over for a big party; that’s his way of giving them a Christmas.


He motivates them to look forward to this event every year IF they 1. Honor their parents, 2. Make good grades in school and 3. Brush their teeth. It touched my heart to witness God stretch food and gifts for every child. My dad and his wife have big hearts, I watched them go out of their way to make this day possible and I’m thankful I was there to help. This took a lot of work! My father, his wife, helpers and I spent hours preparing for that day. It was fun and tiring but all the hard work and labor was worth it. We had about 380 something kids sign their names to attend this event but I believe almost double showed up. These kids were so excited to be able to eat and get toys, the smiles on their faces were priceless. I met four brothers there I wanted to adopt, and 3 young girls I wanted to take back with me to the States; they touched my heart because they were so sweet. Their mother works for my father, so they stayed the night at the hotel soI had a blast bonding with them. Every day, I woke up to my name being yelled and to knocking at my door; it was them wanting me to come out and play. We played kick ball and catch sun up to sun down, it was so fun; I felt like a big kid. They also taught me some creole and I taught them English. It was so funny how we communicated though; we used so much sign language, you would have thought we were deaf or were playing charades. When they left, I felt like I lost a friend; I was so bored without them. At night I would go through our pictures and tears would begin to roll down my face because this experience was a reality check for me. Through the natural eye, one may see poverty but those living in “it” do not allow their situation or circumstance to depict who God is in their life… I acknowledge how ungrateful I can be and I am learning to be more appreciative. When we think we have it bad, trust… there is always someone out there having it worse. THIS WAS THE BEST CHRISTMAS THUS FAR… another life altering experience.


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