Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Learning to resist in hard times - lessons from Haiti's women

Learning to resist in hard times - lessons from Haiti's women

The night calls to me with songs from neighboring lakou-s; songs that drift through our open doors and windows.  I am packing to go home; unsure for the first time in my life what stepping onto US soil means.  The country of my birth, deeply torn by its inability to unite in a common definition of democracy rips at the core of our beliefs.   But this last night in Haiti, I am rocked to sleep, by the songs that have accompanied their struggle for centuries.  I try to hold these songs deep within me, so that when I return to my own country, I will be strong.

I am in Haiti during the Women’s March on Washington D.C.   I sit with women,  at the table and watch on a telephone.  We feel pride as well as confusion and fear.  The house is quiet.  Later we take a photo so Haiti is represented in the global support for women.  We write “Womens Rights are Human Right’s “ on a dry erase board and stand in front of the old pink mobile clinic jeep.  

When I first came to Haiti, I was overwhelmed by the death and despair and inequity.   But then I began to see the strength, the cooperation and the remarkable tools of resistance created, over time, of Haiti's women.  I began to see. 

Over the years, I have watched and learned about how Haiti’s women resist and declare their independence in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.  I am a student of Haiti’s resistance and collective empowerment.   It is not easy to grasp because, out of necessity, it has become woven into the day to day life of women who each day cover well worn mountain paths and cross countless streams on the way to market and farm.

As I try to chart a path of resistance, in my own country, I wander down the path of Haiti’s history and the women who created it.  

My granddaughter says I want to hug Grandma because she will smell like Haiti when she first comes home.  She tells her mother, "I want to smell the Haiti on her."  I cannot bare to loose the smell of Haiti and so before it slips away, I am going to try to share with you the lessons I have learned about how women can resist under impossible odds.  Lessons that I hope will stay with me, long after the delicious fragrances of food and farm and road and air are gone.


  1. Blessed be the woman, who hold up more than half the sky...

  2. Amen, Jane Taylor. Your sister is amazing!