Posted in Commuter Chronicles, Culture, Family, The Writer's Block, Travel

My Haitian Vacation: A Return to the Motherland

I wouldn’t consider my summer one of the Hot Girl variety, but it was a fun one, nonetheless. This summer was one of travel, adventure, and newness. It was also my first time out of the country in six years.

I went on a cruise at the start that gave me a small taste of Haiti. Labadee was the tourist side of my ancestral plane, but it was also a place where I could hear the melodies of my native tongue.

I drew a close to the summer engulfed in Her beauty. The week I spent there was what I can only describe as complete cultural immersion. So before I get into the happenings, let’s get some backstory.

Why Haiti?

Growing up, one thing I always knew was that despite the fact that I was born in Florida, despite my American school and TV shows, I would always be Haitian. My grandparents didn’t leave because they hated Haiti, quite the opposite. They came to America seeking everything the average immigrant is looking for: opportunity, work, and a safe place to raise their family.

Trips back home were frequent during my mom’s early years in America. The family took a trip down to one of the resorts for my mother and her brother’s graduation. Haiti has always been synonymous with home.

Then government issues began to arise, my grandfather died, and the 2010 earthquake didn’t help matters. It was always their intention for me to visit Haiti, but circumstance after circumstance caused a new delay every year. I went to Europe and took a tour of the land of our oppressors before I ever stepped foot on Haitian soil. But this isn’t an article on irony.

Why now?

So, after waiting and yearning and at one point begging, I finally got a chance to go to Haiti. We went on the cruise and that was that. I got to go to Labadee, which is part of Haiti, which meant I finally went to Haiti. Case closed, drawer shut.

My grandmother had already bought her plane ticket to Haiti for her annual visit, but there was never an intention to bring me along. She would be staying for three weeks, after all. That was far too long for her Americanized granddaughter.

And then, of all things, my mother was having some problems with her teeth. She’d been having pain for a few weeks and when she went to the dentist, it turned out that the tooth that had never grown before was suddenly pushing forward. It caused her gum to swell and threatened to break her dental implant.

The dentist told her that to remove it, they would need to remove and replace her three lower front teeth in the process. The total running up to $7,000 for the procedure.

I don’t know about you, but what I do know is that my mom doesn’t have seven grand lying around for dental surgery. She’d gotten her tooth replacement in Haiti and she knew it would be way cheaper to fix it there. My grandma agreed that if my mom was going, then I could go to. I had a filling that I needed done anyway.

And so it began…

So, I finally got to go to Haiti and really experience it. My grandmother has a house in Saint-Marc, the same city where my mother was raised for her early years. This house, I kid you not, is three stories high. By the time my week was up, my legs were so toned.

The jet lag was real, so I basically passed out after my first meal there. The combination of a two hour drive and some good Haitian comfort food left me in deep sleep. We slept on the third floor, with the balcony doors open. The breeze was nice and it kept our minds off the lack of A/C.

We went to the dentist a few times during the trip, since it was our main reason for being in Haiti in the first place. The wait was long, so we made sure to get there early. The dentist there was super professional and had the same tools you’d see in the US. I had my filling and consultation on my wisdom tooth for less than half it would’ve cost at my dentist.

On Sunday, the day before we left, my mother, her cousin, and I went to Moulin Sur Mer, a beautiful beach and resort. Moulin Sur Mer was the very same resort my mother came to for her graduation. The water was crystal clear. I watched my baby blue toe nails dance along the sand. It was a dream come true.

All in All

That being said, life is never black and white. Though the Lord knows the plans that He has for us, we don’t and I think there’s something so beautiful in that.

I plan on writing more about my experience in Haiti soon, so any questions you have are much appreciated. Just comment below and I’ll answer them in a future post.

Have you been to Haiti?

How was your summer?

Where was your best vacation spent?

Do you have any questions for me?

Let me know in the comments, let’s chat!


Rachelle Saint Louis is a Haitian-American writer, born and raised in South Florida. She received a 2018 Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for her poem “Red Blood Cell.” She is currently a Psychology and English double major at Florida Atlantic University. Her poetry has been published in Rigorous Magazine. Rachelle has been writing poetry since the 7th grade and you can often find her performing Spoken Word at local open mics.

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