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!!!
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Blog post updated 7/26/20 - eight year anniversary of The Real Haiti as a business.
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
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.
History is not my specialty nor my passion, but since this blog is about educating others about The Real Haiti, I did some research about the Haitian holiday Dessalines Day, celebrated on October 17th (the day of his assassination).
Jean-Jacques Dessalines is referred to as one the founding fathers (or Emperor) of Haiti, but many don't speak of him because of the controversial violent massacre of thousands of "white Haitians," also known as native French people. Read more about the 1804 Haiti Massacre here.
A Haitian educator, Louis Mercier, once said, "Whatever the means he employed to accomplish his ends, Dessalines remains the most powerful spirit in our history....One cannot be a real Haitian unless one is a Dessalinian." With gaps in the historical information, Haiti still celebrates Dessalines Day on October 17. Read more about the Haitian Revolution, Haiti's Independence here.
Fort Jacques is tucked up and away in the beautiful mountains of Kenscoff near Pétionville and Port-au-Prince. The drive to the historical area is super easy compared to some other rugged locations we've visited. From the top, you can see the bay of Port-au-Prince...what a beautiful view!
There are two forts named after Alexandre in honor of General Alexandre Pétion and Jacques in honor of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. We only visited Fort Jacques, which is restored and kept maintained, however Fort Alexandre (east of Fort Jacques) is not. Every May 18 (Haitian flag day), there's a celebration with music and fun. It's definitely worth the view! Oh, and DO NOT MISS the outdoor griot spot in Kenscoff...it's the best!
Since we have little ones now, I've done something I never thought I'd do - I converted our dining room (which we actually used) to a playroom! Crazy, I know. I am an interior design wannabe with a wannabe minor in decorating.
Our home is full of Haitian art in all different forms like paintings, sculptures, statues, papier mache, woven materials and mosaics. Since I had so much of the Haitian decor already, I figured why not create a Haiti inspired playroom!
First thing first, I had my husband raise the gigantic chandelier so adults would stop bumping their heads on it. Some of the Haitian paintings were already hung so that made the wall decor easy. Check out our unique Haitian paintings for sale here.
These paintings were done by my husband's cousin in Haiti. The one in the green frame was painted on a burlap sak and glued to a hard cardboard material. The frame is actually one that I found in the garbage! It was originally gold and had an ugly horse painting in it. Thankfully the Haitian painting was the exact same size! (fun fact - I love repurposing things and thrifting...it's one of my favorite things to do!)
If you're tired of stepping on legos and tripping over trucks, try dedicating a corner (or a room if you have the space) for the toys to make a playroom or play area. It's nice to have the toys in one area so that we could have our living room back. I have a playroom board on Pinterest where I got my inspiration! Check it out here.
Other Fun Haiti Inspired Things in Our Playroom
Add this short story book to your collection! It was written and designed by me :)
Mermaid Violette is madly in love. Her friends -- a crab, fish, dolphin, jellyfish and shrimp, all wonder who Violette loves so much and can't live without. Read the book to find out who the lucky one is!
The story is written in English. Bonus pages of sea creatures in English and Haitian Creole!
Add these customizable wall art prints to your little one's room or playroom! Designed by me :)
I plan to do more blogs about Haiti inspired rooms and home decor so stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by!
Have you searched Amazon for books about Haiti or resources in Haitian Creole? There are some, but nothing compares to the collection that our friends over at EDUCAVision Inc. have! There are tons of amazing books and resources for everyone of all ages, interests, and styles of learning. EDUCAVision is offering 10% off anything on their website with code real-haiti.
Check out the variety of multicultural books and resources in English and Haitian Creole here!
HAPPY HAITIAN FLAG DAY!
I hope you find these freebies useful to teach your children, friends, family or students about Haiti and the Haitian culture! Use it at home, at a family gathering, for a school presentation, or in your classroom to help teach diversity and culture awareness!
Get a FREE 4-page worksheet/poster bundle of Haitian Cultural highlights with Haitian Creole and English!
Where in the world is Haiti?
Numbers in Haitian Creole
Colors in Haitian Creole
Popular Authentic Haitian Food
You may use these online, but please link back to TheRealHaiti.com please!
If there are other topics you'd like us to cover, just let us know! ENJOY!