It was a cool brisk morning in Petionville, Haiti when we left the Best Western hotel to go to a radio studio to be interviewed. Chef Alain Lemaire and I were in the hotel shuttle bus preparing to talk about an upcoming food festival that Alain was cooking at and I was photographing. It was my first "solo" trip to Haiti without my husband. It felt weird, but also empowering.
The interview was going pretty well until the popular talk show host started speaking to me in Creole. I froze. I started sweating and panicking because my Creole was not good enough to speak on a Haitian radio station. I kindly told him that I was more comfortable speaking English for the interview and he pretty much said, how can you have a website about Haiti and not even speak Creole? I was mortified, but we continued the interview which was also broadcasted in the US. In the end, it went well and I was happy I did it.
Although I was embarrassed about what had happened, I didn't let it stop me from continuing to spread the word about The Real Haiti. From then on, I made it my business to continue to learn as much as I could about Haiti even if I didn't know or speak Creole perfectly.
Since then, I created The Real Haiti Academy, the first and only digital site with Haitian cultural lessons and activities for kids. I did years or research, collaboration and executing ideas to make sure I was providing something that was not available....
The interest sparked when my husband and I started having kids. I didn't want to be stuck in a spot where I "couldn't talk or teach about Haiti because I didn't speak Creole perfectly" with our boys. In order to teach them about Haiti and introduce them to the Creole language, I started creating worksheets, coloring pages and activities about Haiti and the Haitian culture. Truth is, I created them myself because it was impossible to find any online!
Sticking to our original mission of bringing light to the amazing culture, places and people of Haiti, I am thrilled to be connected and happy that you've found us by downloading the freebie worksheets.
If you like the freebie worksheets, I promise you will LOVE The Real Haiti Academy. It truly is a one-of-a-kind platform that has endless amounts of multimedia materials to learn about Haiti. You won't find this unique information anywhere else....and it's easy....all in one place!
P.S. You don't need to speak Creole to use it. Everything is in English and Creole.
Today we were making soup joumou for Haitian Independence Day and my husband said, babe, did you get the yam?! I said, yes, I got all of the 9,000 ingredients for the soup! After many years of preparing soup joumou with him, I still in fact forgot the yam he was talking about. It's the one in the pic to the left after he went to get it from the store if you're wondering.
The point of this isn't to make fun of myself to you, but to wish you a Happy Haitian Independence Day and a Happy New Year! As we all faced many challenges in 2020, there is always hope for better days ahead.
I had all intensions of posting a recipe along with beautifully curated pictures, but there are so many amazing soup joumou recipes online that I collected for you here.
I hope you're enjoying your day with family, eating soup and relaxing! Tag us in your soup pics on social media! Here's the one we made...
The Real Haiti Kids is an online portal for parents and teachers to access information about Haiti and the Haitian culture. Sure, you could spend hours and hours searching for kid-friendly information about Haiti (trust me, I've been doing this for years) and you will find some with lots of digging. However, the information either outdated, terrible quality, in 5 million different places or about an orphan or earthquake survivor. There's so much more to Haiti and Haitian culture than devastation and feeling like we need to save Haiti.
We provide quality resources for parents and teachers to use to teach kids about Haiti and Haitian culture.
You also may like:
The Real Haiti Freebies (PDF Worksheets)
I hope you enjoy these activities with your children or students. There will be a variety of resources to come. To make sure you stay connected, you can subscribe to the blog in the footer.
You might also be interested in:
BLOG POST: TAKE A TOUR OF OUR HAITI INSPIRED PLAYROOM
BLOG POST: MULTICULTURAL BOOKS IN ENGLISH AND HAITIAN CREOLE
“The Comfort of Receiving Goodies from a Haitian Mother” by Shaina Louis, Manman Kiskeya
Shaina is an intelligent young woman who has a natural entrepreneurial spirit. Shaina reached out to me on Instagram inquiring about some of our digital products. Since then, we've kept in touch on socials and I just had to share one of her projects here with you!
If you're like Shaina, the comfort of Manman is everything, especially when it comes to Haitian food. When she was away at college, she was feeling home sick and came up with the idea to create these boxes full of Haitian goodies and products that bring back a sense of nostalgia. You can read her full story and see what else she has for sale on her site.
Our box by Manman Kiskeya included:
Thank you Shaina for the box that you sent to us! My husband and I had a great time hanging out eating the Haitian snacks while I listened to childhood stories he told.
In 2010, husband and wife team, Endy and Diana, started The Real Haiti travel blog to show the world the other side of Haiti through their experiences. Now parents of 2 young boys, the couple has expanded The Real Haiti to include teaching resources on Haiti and the Haitian culture.
We are a husband and wife team who live in Florida with our two boys. We started traveling to Haiti regularly over a decade ago and The Real Haiti blog was born in 2012. We were selected as winners of the former Minister of Tourism's rebranding contest with the slogan, "Experience It" or "Se La Pou'w La!" We were given a plaque by former President Michel Martelly and attended a special ceremony to launch the official logo and slogan.
The mission of The Real Haiti has always been to educate others about Haiti and all of the amazing things that she has to offer. Because the news generally focuses on the negative, we were motivated to start sharing encouraging pictures, videos, stories and memories about Haiti. While we still share the beauty of Haiti, The Real Haiti has become much more than sharing pretty pictures.
The Real Haiti has become the missing link between you and Haiti. We are industry leaders in connecting you to people, places and things in Haiti! Need a photographer in Haiti for hire? Don't know where to start in planning a trip to Haiti? Not sure how to ethically import goods for your business? We can help!
Who is The Real Haiti for?
We are so passionate about sharing the Haitian culture with you. Let's work together to show the world The Real Haiti!
Yesterday I made some changes to the website and purchased a new URL (www.therealhaitiacademy.com) to expand marketing on the membership services offered by The Real Haiti. Well, after I did that, I immediately got a DM from my friend Nancy Francois over at Haitian American Youth (HAY) Online saying...
"Hi love your website is down. Is everything okay?"
I started sweating and panicking about what just happened. My website somehow got unpublished and immediately Nancy was messaging me to make sure everything was ok. Sometimes as entrepreneurs it feels very isolating and you get tired of working day in and day out without some teamwork. Thankfully Nancy jumped right in to encourage me to calm down and take some more steps to getting back online.
To know that Nancy has my back is so comforting. Since the day I met her over 10 years ago at a Haitian book fair event, she has been so supportive. In fact, she had already been following me and knew all about The Real Haiti.
Nancy is a mom blogger who actively shares client content daily to promote brands. She also posts free daily general SEO tips and advice for brands. Nancy has been sharing The Real Haiti content for over 10 years. This post is all about my appreciation for another mom blogger who gets The Real Haiti brand and mission. Nancy, you are a gem and the most hard working woman I know. Thank you for all of your support, advice, promotion and guidance throughout the years. You are such a gem and we are so lucky to have your help!
If you need someone who can monitor your website this closely and genuinely cares about your online brand, contact Nancy for her SEO services. She not only promotes Haiti and the Haitian culture, but she can consult on all any niche business for website, SEO and general marketing online. She's even becoming a Pinterest marketing pro! You can contact nancy through her Linkedin page.
Watch Haitian Comedian Se Joe
Get your family together and watch SeJoe's live stand-up special, Nou Chaje ak Pwoblèm, on Amazon Prime.
SeJoe is a hilarious Haitian-American comedian who lives in New York. "Nou Chaje ak Pwoblèm" (We Got A Lot of Problems) is a one-hour stand-up comedy performance, written and produced by Sejoe. It is rooted in Haitian folklore traditions that emphasize the politics of both Haiti and America, the importance of language and the contradictions of religion.
Free for Amazon Prime members! Congrats to Sejoe on this huge accomplishment!
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.