Most people have never heard of Tiburon Haiti.
In fact I mentioned to someone that my parents are from Haiti and they had no idea what or where this place was???
So I'd like to share with you all Tiburon, Haiti. This is my country, well where my roots hail from, and because of my mothers incessant obsession for ALL of her offspring to be deeply rooted to our ancestral past I am now a proud Haitian American Woman.
Josephine Baker described her love for France and America in a simple catch phrase, "My Country, My Paris". This catchphrase best describes my connection to being both an American citizen and a daughter of two Haitian Immigrants. My Country, hailing from Boston, MA and "Paris" well in my case, "Tiburon". So when I think of Tiburon, Haiti a tiny town located in the one of the most southern tips of the island (where I am also literally related to almost every single person in town), I can't help but to have a deeply rooted connection and I can't but help to speak up for the little quite town I love so much.
"Tann! Tann mwen"! (Wait! Wait for me) little Marlaise shouted as she watched her older sister Bebette dash toward the peek of the mountain top. Breathless Bebette begrudgingly complies at the guilted request of her younger sister. Marlaise was always five steps behind her, anticipating and watching her every move. She once swore to herself that one day, she would become every bit of her sister, and that her sister would one day grow to love her. One day she thought to herself, she would be seen as her equal, her counterpart but most of all her friend. For now Marlaise had to be content with the 'five pace' rule.
Fevit! (Hurry Up)! 'You are going to make me miss it'! Bebette turned giving acknowledgement to her sister for the first time today. Bebette longed for peace and solitude. At 14 she was already the bell of the ball, the one everyone wanted to be or be with. Born with camouflage eyes, that often matched the sunset glaze of the island, her silk black hair adorned her back like that of the native Arawak Taino Indians, who long ago called the island home before the days of Columbus and the slave trade. Bringing the new age of western African culture, spices, food, and dance. The mixture of the Indigenous Arawak's and the African Slaves created new blood on the soil of the islands history. A transformation began to brew in the roots of its trees, in spirit of the ocean, and in the lust of its newly found hybrid of the Indigenous and Africans. The shores of Haiti, of Tiburon were transforming. Slavery changes not only the spirit of man, but strips the soul of the Island. The days of synchronicity with nature were vastly disappearing, in the age of Columbus. Something had shifted in the island and it began seeking vengeance.
As tyranny against the nature of the island commenced, the greedless search for gold, cane, oil, and the sweetness of cane reigned. The island fought back and saturated in its newest generation the seed of Freedom in their blood. The Taino and the African slaves created the generation of Freedom. The seed of vengeance floated through their veins, silently waiting, as each year passed, gaining strength building silent militias, to out cast the tyranny of slavery and the rapping of its island. The island created in its new descendants the force of resistance and became the first free liberated black nation in 1804. 1804 are the lessons taught to the new generation, "You are the descendants of slaves that won their freedom" "You are the possibility of Life". Ranged in the ears of the new youth, passed down to them by grandparents and teachers. The stories of Toussaint L' Overture and his army conjuring freedom and conquering the possibility of life.
The 'Possibility of Life'. Would rang in her ears every time her teacher would shout with pride.
She was a mystery to most. Teased and often beaten with sticks by other kids, for her outcast looks, she craved for her solitude with the island. Hidden from the villagers bustling underneath the shelter of the tropical palms. Away in the mountains overlooking her companion, the sea, watching the sun as it sunk deeply into the vastness of the ocean. This was her moment alone, away from all the stares, and the whispers of being accused has a "melanje fi" (mixed girl), the bastard daughter of the island. The others had always made her feel like she was an outcast, even the ones that adored her, that idolized her for her unique features draped her in isolation. The island was Bebette's home, it was the place of her ancestral birth, Shaking the mango trees, chopping the sugar cane from their roots, bustling into the sweat nectar of the plant running into the sea after an unbearably hot day, this island, this place, Tiburon, translated to Town of the Sharks, was Bebette's love, but momentously it would become her past, present and future.
(An Excerpt from Sacha Elie's Tiburon Skies)