A Networking Event for Job Creators in Haiti
Thursday, September 18
The Hotel Montana in Pétion-Ville
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Who should attend:
Click here to register online. If you would like to present your work to the audience, you must register by September 10th. This event will be in English with no translation. Contact Michele Edwards for more information.
Last year during Gout et Saveurs Lakay, I had the chance to photograph Chef Lemaire at La Reserve Hotel in Petionville. What a great hotel and hangout! Here's a view of the lounge area that the restaurant looks over and a chicken dish I enjoyed!
I've been wanting to write that and say that for a while now! whewwwww….
In all seriousness, I did quit my day job which was a very comfortable and stable government job. I was 5 months away from being vested in a pension after working for "the system" for 5.5 years. Some told me to just "hang in there" so that I could be vested and collect at least something when I retire eventually. Well, here's why I decided to leave a "perfect situation" and follow my dreams…
We've all heard it so many times - "You can be anything you want to be if you believe in yourself." "Follow your dreams and your heart." Well, it's not always that easy. If we all followed our dreams on being just dreamers and not planners, we would all (or most) wouldn't make it.
A dear friend of mine, whom I met through my blog, Shannon Kelley Cherizier, gave me great advice when I was ready to quit (the first time) my day job a year ago. She told me to hang in there and to read:
Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job Hardcover
by Jon Acuff.
So, I did and I followed his motto: suck it up as long as you can while working your day job and building your dream at night after work and on the weekends. I am so glad I did this because it has finally paid off.
Although this post isn't about Haiti specifically, I just want you to know that you CAN follow your dreams and your heart, but it will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears in planning/setting yourself up for it. If I can be of any assistance to any of you, please hit the contact button at the top of my page and send me an email! I love to interact with my readers and give positive motivation!
I will dedicate more time to this blog while working for my other non-Haiti related clients for my marketing firm EMPOWER YOUR BRAND. Check it out when you have a chance :)
Thanks for reading,
It was a pleasure for us to meet all of the people who stopped by our tent at Taste of Haiti! Endy and I are grateful for your support!
We were selling jewelry at the event this year, but we are most grateful for the interaction with you all! The Real Haiti is about empowering each other, not competing or getting rich. Knowing that we are responsible for reigniting your fire for your love for Haiti is the most rewarding part.
Thank you everyone for your support and love. We continue this empire to keep inspiring you! …and our hopes and dreams for Haiti!
Diana & Endy
We shared a table with Ginen Creations by Sophie pictured below. Special thanks to our sister in law Martine for her help!
I was invited as an honoree to attend the 2nd Annual Women International Month awards ceremony honoring women in the media for a "Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award," March 27, 2014.
As a past troubled place, Haiti hasn’t been number one for Caribbean tourists. However, in the recent years, the country has been trying hard to overcome their negative image which usually shows poverty, corruption and disasters. Travel company Young Pioneer Tours announced that they will offer a backpack tour to Haiti as one of the first in the world. As known, tourism in Haiti has been very limited so far; most foreigners are expats working for various NGOs, travelling around or tourists make a one day stop with cruise ships going to Labadee. Hopefully, this tour will start a new flow of tourism and development for Haiti.
The tour aims to show the current reality in Haiti, but also that there’s more than poverty. Beautiful Caribbean beaches, Vodou, special rum, great architecture, and a beautiful landscape all prove that there’s more in stock for this half of the Hispaniola-island. It shows a country that’s dying for positive new impulses from the outside world, which one should be tourism. While the other Caribbean islands are overwhelmed by tourists every year, Haiti has been left alone. Neighbor country Dominican Republic has been more well-known as a holiday destination where many Western tourists touch-down every day. By starting and ending the trip in DR, Young Pioneer Tours hopes to give more insights on this intriguing island and to add something positive to the image of Haiti. The tour includes visits to Port Au Prince, Central Plateau, Bassin Zim and Croix des Bouquets. The trip starts in May, and Haiti can be reached easily through budget airlines via Dominican Republic. Starting and ending in Port Au Prince is also an option. For more information, visit
http://www.youngpioneertours.com/tour/haiti-tour/. Please tell them you saw this information on The Real Haiti website!
To me, I feel as though Haiti is a person who I am madly in love with, who I am proud of and who I can't wait to see. I think about Haiti morning, noon and night. My love for Haiti grows more and more each day. I know...it sounds crazy...it is crazy! I am a blan who grew up hearing nothing but negative things about the country. How could I possibly be so in love with this country?
As I do every morning, I go through Haitian news and see what is going on for the day. Today, I got to see part two of the special on the update from the earthquake on Local 10 News in Miami. Part one will just about tear your heart out and make you absolutely nuts over the negativity they are focusing on when it is just a small part. But, just like in Haiti, everything is a drastic extreme - one side of the street there are people working to survive and on the other, there are the richest of the rich. It's reality...it's Haiti.
Here's a wonderful story on the progress and hope everyone (especially Haitians) has!
MOBILE READERS, CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO: http://www.local10.com/news/haitianbased-company-finds-success-after-quake-4-years-ago/-/1717324/23973420/-/hbrnlt/-/index.html
To me, "made in Haiti" means life, hope and progress. To see people live life every day, go to work, take care of their family, be in love, is what I love most about Haiti. That is why I have this blog. Finally, the news media is giving Haiti a chance. Thank you WPLG for showing this side of Haiti that so many of us are proud of!
What does "made in Haiti" mean to you?
About 5 years ago, I was searching for a gift for my husband Endy online. I came across Zoe Nation Apparel, a site that sells shirts with sayings in Creole and English promoting Haitian pride and culture. I bought a shirt for Endy and I bought myself one. It said "What do you mean I don't look Haitian." I thought it was hilarious and also serious because what does that even mean? People say it all of the time to Haitians.
Two years ago, I started this blog. I created business cards. I took a picture of me in the shirt for the back of the card as an attention grabber. Everyone who sees it, loves it. I get blank stares and lots of questions like, "Are you French? I see your last name is Pierre-Louis." And I tell them, "No, I am Haitian." Then it starts a conversation.
Last year, I was at a Haitian event that had a fashion show. There were models representing Zoe Nation Apparel. They were modeling the Haitian clothing line. My husband grabbed the owners attention, Isaiah Fleurimond, and showed him my business card. He was in shock. It was so awesome to meet each other. We connected instantly.
We kept in touch and this year we started selling the shirts on this website.
This November, 10 kids from Jacmel (ACFFC) got the opportunity to visit South Florida to work on a project. I told Isaiah and he generously offered to donate shirts to them.
And then this happened...
Click to purchase t-shirt here ($18)!
Also available in red. Unisex t-shirt sizes S-2XL.
Isaiah is an absolutely pleasure to work with and know. His professionalism and love for life is reflected in his success. Thank you so much for these shirts. The kids absolutely love them! THANK YOU, MESI ANPIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He was dressed in a red button down shirt, dress pants and dress shoes. He had his camera bag full of equipment and his PRESS pass around his neck. He pulled out a notebook to show me how he keeps track of the details of the photos he takes. The front of it has the CNN logo and he told me his friend from the US sent it to him. Inside it reads:
I am writing about Fedno Lubin, a 20 year old young man who lives in Jacmel, Haiti. Ten years ago, he moved from the mountainside to live with his aunt in the city to go to school. Fedno’s aunt knew about the Art Creation Foundation for Children (ACFFC) and signed him up. Over the years, he learned many forms of art, but his passion is photography, who he learned from Jen Pantaleon…his teacher and guide. He mentioned Jen’s name a lot throughout the 2 days we spent together for Gout et Saveurs Lakay, Haiti's Food & Spirits Festival to celebrate the country's Gastronomy. His appreciation for the art of photography is great. He inspires me.
My flight was delayed 2 hours in Miami when departing to Haiti. The explanation was that there was a flat tire on the plane.
They have contracted workers who wear shirts that say Ultra Aviation Services (not Haiti Aviation). There was one Creole speaking employee. The rest spoke Spanish and barely any English.
Before the flight left, the staff went around the room collecting carry-on bags from people to check in because there apparently wasn't enough room in the overhead bins. People did not want to give up their carry-ons because they had things in there that they wanted to CARRY-ON! Otherwise, they would have checked it in. The staff offered for people to take personal belongings out of it and give up the bag, but where were they supposed to put it?
*The actual flight there was fine with no complaints. They served typical airplane drinks, sandwiches and dessert. The crew was great, but they still only had one Creole speaking employee*
I arrived early to the PAP airport for my 11:30am flight. When I went to check in, I was excited because there was no one in line! When I got to the counter, they told me, "Ma'am, we aren't flying today. We spoke to you already and told you that. See your name is crossed out on my list."
Ok, I understand things happen, but they were clearly lying to me because I would not have left my hotel and my friends, pay $40 to get to the airport, to be stranded for fun. Not my idea of a good time.
I thought this was a joke. They told me that there wasn't enough people on the flight to fly and that my flight would be the next morning. I started panicking because my ride already left the airport and I was alone.
They offered to send me to the Kingdom Hotel located near the airport. While I appreciated this geasture, I was not going to a place I wasn't familiar with because of their mistake. I remained calm while they tried to figure out what to do with me. I also had some entertainment by watching people walk up to the desk and being told basically they are screwed for the next 24 hours. One woman in particular was a nutcase, screaming and yelling, HA offered to give her a refund in cash to go buy another ticket on another airline. I was in shock, not by her frustration, (because I wish I had the balls to do that in public), but by all of the security officers and police officers just standing around watching her yell at the HA staff. She disappeared and the staff continued to help me.
The end result...A HA enployee personally drove me back to my hotel that I was staying at for the week and paid for it. I told them the rate, forgetting about tax and energy fees. They 'conviniently' brought the exact amount, so I was stuck with the balance of tax and energy charges which was around $30. They did offer to pick me up from the hotel to go to the airport the next morning, but at 6:45am and my flight wasn't until 11:30. I ended up paying for the hotel shuttle so I didn't have to wait around all of those hours
I still had to wait around for hours once I arrived at the airport. Remember that entertaining lunatic lady that I told you about earlier? Well, she apparently went back to the counter to resolve her issue after disappearing, saw no staff and allegedly smashed all of their computers at the Haiti Aviation desk. You're pissed so now you want to make everyone elses life miserable? Nice.
This resulted in having to wait for hundreds of people in line for several flights that morning to get checked in and get handwritten boarding passes. No joke...here it is.
Two days later, my friend had a flight home with HA. I called them the night before to make sure they would be flying. They said the flight was at 8am. He swore up and down that it was taking off at 8am. when my friend arrived to the airport, it was NOT scheduled for 8am, it was for 11:30am, so he had to wait from 6am at the airport.
Needless to say, Haiti Aviation had a bad week. I believe in second chances, but I am not sure about this one...