The meaning of Hujambo is Swahili for Hello. Bonjou is Haitian creole for Hello. Bonjour is French for Hello. These are the three major languages I grew up hearing in my household. Out of the three I speak, and write Haitian creole, when it comes to French I can comprehend but need to further work on. I take pride in expressing who I am and where I come from. When asked, who am I, I simply state that I am an African-American who is Haitian and Kenyan. I take pride in where I come from and who I am. It is because of this I understand why I like certain foods, clothes and more.
As a child returning to the U.S. after three years of living and attending school in Port-Au-Prince. It was quite the change that I did not want to make. I enjoyed life living with my Matant Dius and my Tonton (aunt and uncle). When returning, I couldn’t speak nor understand English at all. Thanks to ESL (English as a Second Language), I became accustomed to the English Language that was such a challenge for me. I couldn’t quite comprehend how the structure of the English language worked. There were no rules, strange plurals, and spelling.
Nevertheless, while good things came to an end, even greater things began. Returning home to my parents was quite a delight. I was sent to Haiti while my parents were finishing off their education in Buffalo, NY. My mother was on a career path of nursing and my father on the path to becoming a doctor. I enjoyed the fact that I was around family and could receive an education that has helped formed me into the person I am today.
Often when I share this with strangers or friends, they are shocked by the excitement on my face, it’s because living was great! I had a personal tutor, chauffer who would take me and pick me up from school. A housekeeper who would braid my hair and was always a joy to be around. It was the first time that I had a pet, though it wasn’t mine he was a great pet nonetheless. Sometimes it irks me how Haiti is depicted in the media. What people should never forget that there are depraved places no matter where we go.
Great memories and eventful times that I shall never forget being in Haiti. There will come a time when I shall return to revisit and reminisce on the times of my youth. Until then I continue to embrace and share who I am and where I come from. “It's always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you're going” -Anthony Burgess.
Carpe Diem, North Dakota International Ambassador 2017, Wiljar Ojuro