When I met my husband Endy (then-boyfriend), he would tell me all about Haiti. He would tell me stories about growing up with his siblings, his best friends. He would tell me about the journeys they had to get to school, the funny stories of dressing up in their parents clothes and the soccer games they played on the roof of their house. He would tell me how beautiful "The Real Haiti" was. I mostly just listened, and quietly doubted that a place I always heard was a "third world country," could be beautiful.
What? You're going to Haiti on vacation!?
It took years of convincing to plan a trip to Haiti...7 years actually! Endy planned everything for our 10 day adventure. Although I was excited, my worried mind kept playing questions over in my head like, "what if we can't find water to drink?" and "what if we get TB or yellow fever?" As I type these ridiculous things (that I never actually said out loud), I can't even believe I thought such judgmental things about a place I'd end up falling in love with!
As an innocent Italian-American, red-headed, 28-year-old, I really had no clue what Haiti was really like. I had no clue that visiting Haiti would change my life. As our vacation plans neared, I secretly wanted to back out or hoped for some reason we weren't going to end up going (sad, but true).
The time came and we flew from Florida to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. My life was forever changed and my eyes and heart were opened like they had never been before. For more of an in depth look about what I saw and experienced, read my blog about things I noticed while in Haiti. Before my first trip, my husband encouraged me to start a blog about Haiti to share what we saw. I wasn't fully on board with the idea, but I did. When I was there and then returned home is when I started blogging about all-things-Haitian and really fell in love with the idea of blogging. I embraced the culture and through my experiences, I had to share all of the amazing things that were so new to me.
Since I started The Real Haiti, Endy and I got married and have two little boys now! Although we don't get to travel to Haiti as much anymore (adulting too much), promoting the Haitian culture, food, people and life in Haiti is still my passion! I couldn't find one place online with resources for teaching kids about Haiti and Haitian Creole so I created my own for my boys and am sharing it with you!
The Real Haiti has a kids section (there's also a tab above) where you can find a variety of resources to teach your kids or students about Haiti
What's new with The Real Haiti
After developing a variety of digital resources about Haiti that focus on cultural education and celebration, we evolved into a membership style resource center called The Real Haiti Academy. You can now enjoy the option of a "pay what you can" model starting at $0. You have the option to pay $0, $15, $25, $50 or $99. No matter how much you pay, you will be getting the same access to the membership with all of the digital resources.
As a member of TRHA, you’ll connect with a community of Haiti lovers who are passionate about keeping the Haitian culture alive. Be proud of your (or your family's) heritage. Encourage multicultural diversity as you're raising your children at home and in your community.
Find out exactly what's included in The Real Haiti Academy.
In this time of uncertainty, one thing I am certain about is that I am not in control of anything. God is in control. I have been given a God-given talent and passion to develop this website and these resources. This is how I am sharing with my digital community who has supported The Real Haiti in one way or another.
"My family and I love exploring, learning about and celebrating our Haitian heritage through The Real Haiti Academy. Our 9-month old son loves the songs, videos & virtual field trip - and the resources keep coming. We're looking forward to using more of the resources as he grows. It's even been fun for my husband to have Creole resources (rather than French). Such an awesome tool! - Kara Jeudy
While all of this started as a fear of Haiti, then a love for Haiti, it's now my business and a huge part of my life. I am so grateful for all of you for following my page for all of these years. Lastly, thank you always for your encouragement! Happy anniversary of The Real Haiti blog and business. Mesi anpil!!!
If you're new to The Real Haiti, sign up below to subscribe to the blog!
Blog post updated 7/26/20 - eight year anniversary of The Real Haiti as a business.
Costume Designer Prisca Milliance Jumps from the Runway to Film With Ladouceur’s ‘The Sweetest Girl: A Forbidden Love Story’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDITORS: For interview requests
Contact : Yanatha Desouvre, 561-713-0462
MIAMI, Fla. — Founder of Miami Fashion Management and renowned costume designer Prisca Milliance has joined creative crew the upcoming film, “The Sweetest Girl: A Forbidden Love Story.” Milliance will tackle her first film honing her trendy and vintage look to the cast, Genji Jacques — the actor dubbed the Haitian Denzel Washington — and fellow stars Sandra Justice, Lela Elam, James Pierre, Briana Earhart, Vivianne Saintvil, Haitian icon Marie Michelle Desrosier, Ayomi Russel, George King and Claudy Nonmome in the film. Samuel Ladouceur (“A Great Day in Harlem,” “Power,” “Boardwalk Empire”) is at the helm as the director.
The plot, written by prolific screenwriter Harry Jeudy (“A Great Day in Harlem”) and acclaimed author Yanatha Desouvre, recently featured on NBC 6 (“Revelations: Roads to Redemption,”one of the top downloaded e-books in Spring 2020 in the African American, mystery thriller and suspense fiction categories on Amazon.com) follows a loving marriage of 25 years that comes to a deadly end when a husband is compelled to tell his wife his most heart-shattering secret while she is on her deathbed. Inspired by true events, “The Sweetest Girl: A Forbidden Love Story” is a compelling and provocative love story. It’s set in Haiti and is haunted by human trafficking and gun violence.
Milliance is the Creative Director and Owner of L’antillaise LLC where she designs, produces and markets custom Guayaberas and tunics for women in Miami, Florida. Born in the Caribbean and raised in Miami, L’antillaise is a luxury resort wear concept that seeks to bring French Caribbean culture to bold and adventurous women from the West Indies to the Riviera. L’antillaise is committed to using only natural fibers, natural dyes and we collaborate with artisan communities to create unique, handmade, quality products.
“The Sweetest Girl: A Forbidden Love Story” is part of the second book from the Goodman Chronicles series, “Revelations: Roads to Redemption.” It uses familiar characters from the 2018 novel that explores the characters’ unique emotional journeys. The storylines of complex, interwoven characters will navigate through larger themes of human connection: guilt, redemption, love and hope. Those with interest in the film can join the indiegogo campaign here.
Milliance is an experienced apparel industry professional and educator. Born and raised in Haiti. Milliance’s talents has taken her from Boston, New York City, Harlem, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and the magic city of Miami. She teaches course at Miami’s top fashion institutions and professional guides emerging design talent. Her specialties include Specialties: CAD – Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, P.A.D, Lectra, Fusion 360, Digital Clothing Suit, Trotec L.C. Traditional Techniques – Flat patterning, draping, tailoring, couture sewing, millinery, shibori Milliance received her Creative Enterprise Ownership Certificate in Design Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned her MS in Fashion Design at Drexel University.
Jeudy, the film’s screenwriter, is also a poet and has more than a decade of experience in English, African and African American literature. He is the founder and principal owner of Backdoor Entertainment LLC.
Ladouceur has worked on countless short films, major films and television shows such as “Person of Interest,” “Unstoppable,” “Power” and “Boardwalk Empire.” In 2018, he directed and produced the short film, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which is currently airing in major markets nationally on ABC, Fox, CBS and other network affiliates. He is the founder of LA PhiLA Productions and the vice president of Backdoor Entertainment LLC.
Desouvre is a best-selling Amazon.com author, educator and public speaker. His latest novella, “Revelations: Roads to Redemption,” pays homage to Wyclef Jean’s discography. He is also the author of the 2016 novella “To Whom Much is Given,” the first of the Goodman Chronicles series. Desouvre has been featured in various print publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Haitian Times, Sentinel HT, HuffPost and Black Enterprise, and on television outlets that include South Florida PBS, NBC and ABC.
Article originally posted in The Haitian Times
By Morgan Zo Callahan
I had no idea who my father was for the first 74 years of my life. Given up for adoption, all I knew was what the adoption records stated: that my father had died before I was born.
I often wondered who he was? How did he die? Had he even known he was going to be a father? Since I was born in 1944, was he a soldier? Did he die in the war? Was his death the reason I was put up for adoption?
My adoption papers, offering no clues, merely stated about me:
Morgan Zo Callahan as a child.
“The boy is a dark-complexioned child, thin and wiry with curly brown hair and large somewhat solemn eyes. On…the day before his third birthday, the child…was brought to the house of adoptive parents. Nothing is known of this child’s life up to this date.”
Seeking to find the answers that have eluded me all my life, I submitted my DNA to Ancestry.Com. When the results came back, I got my first clue: the DNA showed that my father was of African heritage and that my paternal DNA matches in the database were all Haitians. Unfortunately, because so few Haitians have submitted their DNA for testing, the matches I had were few and only distantly related.
Read the rest of the story on The Haitian Times.
The stigma of "mental health issues" continues to be a fight in the United States. So many are doing a great job in raising awareness by speaking out about their challenges when it comes to a variety of mental health topics like postpartum depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, etc.
What about people in Haiti or of Haitian decent who suffer from mental health issues?
When it comes to speaking up about mental health concerns in the Haitian culture, it's often shut down, laughed at or simply made an excuse for certain "behaviors." Thankfully with education and understanding, now more than ever, people of Haitian decent are recognizing the importance of mental health.
Marie Valsaint is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Alliant University (San Diego). She's conducting a study and is looking for a participant for research regarding early childhood separation. Please see the flyer below and contact her for more info or to participate! Thanks so much, Marie, for your work on mental health in the Haitian community.
Marie also runs an Instagram page @haitiansthrive.
Haitian Flag Day is celebrated every May 18th during the month of Haitian Heritage Month. Haitian Flag Day is huge in the Haitian community and it is observed in Haiti and all over the United States. The meaning behind Haitian Flag Day is to commemorate the Haitian slave revolt, which led to Haiti being the first independent black nation!
Here are some Haitian Flag Day activities and ideas to teach about Haiti's independence
May is here and it is Haitian Heritage Month! Here is a list of Haitian Heritage Month events in South Florida:
Palm Beach County Haitian Heritage Month events -
Broward/Miami Dade County Haitian Heritage Month events -
If you don't live in South Florida or your area doesn't have any organized events, we have tons of resources on this website about Haiti and the Haitian culture like tourism, culture, food and so much more. We also have an eWorkbook, free printable worksheets and memberships full of great Haitian culture info!
Happy Haitian Heritage Month!
Listen below to an amazing podcast interview with Michel and his journey in the clairin (alcohol) business in Haiti.
Export business man in Port-au-Prince who went back to his homeland in Saint-Michel, Haiti to take over his family's business at a clairin distillery - The Spirit of Haiti. If you've ever wondered how this rum is made, check out their production process (with photos!)
This is The Real Haiti. This is why I had a fire lit under me the first time I went to Haiti. And this is why I continue to blog passionately about Haiti and the amazing things happening there. Every day, hardworking people, living life in Haiti...The Real Haiti.
Original podcast story posted here.
Happy February, friends! I love February because of Valentine's Day and it's my birthday month!
I will never forget this cute little window in this picture. We were hiking up the mountain in Cap Haitien to see the Citadelle Laferrière when I spotted the pink window with a heart on it.
Have you wondered about Valentine's Day in Haiti? Do Haitians celebrate Valentine's Day? Is Valentine's Day a big deal in Haiti? I was curious about Valentine's Day in Haiti so I asked my family and friends for more information and here's what they said.
Valentine's Day in Haiti is...
It was so fun learning about how Valentine's Day in Haiti is celebrated. How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
January 25th is Multicultural Children's Book Day! Our friends at Educa Vision have some amazing books (for all ages!) and they are offering 10% off anything on their website with code real-haiti. You will find...
Educa Vision's Mission: To make a valuable contribution to the body of multicultural and multilingual educational materials, by publishing materials that connect culturally and linguistically to the students, teachers, administrators, service providers and community leaders. Educa Vision started first by focusing on the needs of Haitian students. Since 2002 Educa Vision is transformed into a multicultural and multilingual publisher. This expansion started first with the development of Caribbean Studies Press that publishes scholarly texts and references about the Caribbean and its diasporas. Later with Educa Brazil, an imprint dedicated to the publication of Portuguese titles. Today, Educa Vision publishes and distributes bilingual books in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Urdu.
Jwaye Nwèl! Merry Christmas!
Christmas is such a magical time for everyone, including for Haitian people! We've spent a few Christmas holidays in Haiti, but since I didn't grow up there, I had to do my own research through my family and the Internet about what Christmas is like (mostly as a child) in Haiti. We are raising our two little boys to appreciate their Haitian heritage and to learn the Haitian Creole language.
Christmas in Haiti brings the same universal magical feeling to everyone, especially kids. Here are some Haitian Christmas songs, traditions and printables to teach about Christmas in Haiti! You may also find yourself reminiscing about Christmas holidays in Haiti!
Christmas Songs in Haitian Creole
Christmas Traditions in Haiti
On Christmas Eve, children place their clean shoes full of straw, under the tree on the porch. They hope that Tonton Nwèl (Santa Claus) will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes.
Guests usually lend their visits a little before or around midnight to attend La Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass for Catholics). Or, some leave to go party or caroling. There is also the Revellion, French for Christmas supper, eaten after midnight mass. Traditionally, the meal served is rice, beans, and fried chicken.
Read a beautiful 1960's memoir written by Jean-Marie Florestal titled Christmas In Jérémie. What a great read...I could really picture the scenes!
Haitian Christmas Printables