Woodring s 2007 New Year Resolution

2006 has been like a pilgrimage for me. Since late November I've feeling the urge to see as many family members as possible.

I spent thanksgiving in Haiti, Christmas in New York, and by the time you read this I will be en route to Orlando.

You may be asking yourself why suddenly I feel the urge to make these trips. Let me tell you why.

There are so many questions I wanted to ask my grandmother but she died before I had the chance to become an adult.

I am only 34 but I am starting to get the impression that very soon my generation will be the old generation.

Very soon my generation will become the movers and shakers, the leaders of nations.

If we have to lead, I feel that we should go back home, we should get in touch with who we are, we should find our identity, we should have a clear vision, we should know what our true purpose is.

Think about it for a minute!

Do you really think you are ready to be a leader?

You spend the first years in your life trying to impress your mom and dad.

Then you spend all your teenage years trying to impress your friends.

Then you spend your young adult years trying to keep up with the Jones.

Then suddenly! the old people you love begin to die.

Suddenly, the old folks who constantly told you be careful disappear.

Suddenly it 's your turn to be the old one,
suddenly it 's your turn to lead,
suddenly it your turn to shape the new generation,
suddenly it 's your turn to be decide their fate.

What do you do?

The first thing to do is to ask questions. Ask your parents, ask your grand parents.

I once asked my father this question:

"why is it that some people have names in Haiti (Les ceux-ci, les ceux-la) and some don 't, it is money or is it something else?"

My father replied based on his personal experience:

"Woody," My father said, "It 's not complicated. Most of the people who live in Hinche are sons and daughters of big plantation owners from the country side."

"Gran papa-w, Jules Saint Preux, sete you-n ladan yo tou. Li te gen moulin kan-n li, gildiv, anpil te, chaje bef, cochon, ak mouton."

"When I went to school in Hinche," My father continued, "Hinche did not have a high school (ecole secondaire). So after your Certificat D 'etude Primaire, the more fortunate sent their kids to school in Port-au-Prince."

"When these kids came back to Hinche they were speaking that French and everyone who did not speak French, everyone who could not make it to Port-au-Prince, regarded them as the smart ones, the intelligent ones, the ones who've seen the light."

"So they became the 'Je Suis Quand-a-mois' and the government officials."

"So, How come you were not one of them dad?" I asked my father.

He smiled and said:

"Lem te desan-n setifica, Fre yo te vin-n louvri you lekol segonde nan vil la, alos, m-pat gen chans al lekol potoprens"

Evolution happened and because of that my father kept in touch with his true self. He did not get a change to be born again to a society that literally destroyed my country.

The other ones, they never came back to apply what they learned. Instead they brought back all the sins of Port-au-Prince to the country side. They rejected all the values they learned from their "Habitans" ancestors. They abandoned their roots and they built their own society.

Evolution happened and my father thought me real Haitian values, nothing that was purchased from our previous masters.

This Evolution, this guiding light, I have to pass it on; I have to do something about it.

If I do a good job, then Monestale Saint Preux, my great grandfather, Jules Saint Preux, my grandfather, Galbeau Saint Preux, my father, all the values they acquired will live through me and all the mistakes they made I will not repeat.

But how will I know if I don 't ask questions?

My grandfather grew up on the country side of Haiti but he was wise enough to understand that he had to send my father to school.

My father grew up in the city, he spend most of his adult life in the Haitian army taking orders from others who were no better than him. He was wise enough to understand that there was no opportunity there. So he bought me a plane ticket and sent me to the land of opportunity.

I grew up here, in the United States, I 've seen the big picture, I know what needs to be done, so! What do I do?

Should I let fear guide me like fear guided all the Haitians from the previous generations?

Should I let paved roads, electricity, and running water in a foreign country blind my path back home?

Should I pretend that United States is my new home and only feel sorry for the land and the people where all my ancestors are buried?

Should I just accept the popular belief that if you help another Haitian brother you will live to regret it.

Should I just accept the popular believe that 'Haiti pap jan-m chanje ' and never return home?

Or should I do something about it?

Was Mandela Brave?

Did Moses know that the Red Sea was going to open?

Did Toussaint know he was going to be a hero?

Or did they all simply do what they believed that had to do?

Am I the only one who believes that going back to your roots is the only place where truth lies?

Am I the only one who is not afraid to die?

I can 't just sit there and let strangers tell me who I am, I am Woodring, I am from the countryside, I don 't speak French, and I am proud of it.

The world is about to change, all the old politicians are dying. isn't it time we brought opportunity home? Isn't it time we introduced her to our fellow countrymen?

Young leader, go home, do what you believe you have to do.

Yessireeee! 2006 has been a crazy year for me.

I made more money this year than any previous year but I couldn't buy all the things I lost.

I am really happy nonetheless; after all I am growing up!

Let 's see what 2007 brings.

Happy New Year!

Woodring Saint Preux, your humble servant.

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All Comments (17)

Lavie says...

Dear Woodbring,
I read your poignant story and felt so sad and happy at the same time. I speak to many Haitian's and they are so perplexed about the condition of Haiti.

You seem to suggest that one should go back to Hait because of their roots.

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Carmichael says...

Man!Since we are the same generation we are fighting the same fight and we are asking the same questions with faith & determination with are two feet on the ground decided not repeat the mistake the generation before us did take Ayiti for granted.

I am prettty sure will succeed.But we know it's not going to be easy nothing in life is easy but we will put Ayiti in a beeter position than the previous generation lef it.

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Jessica says...

Dear Franty,
Thank You so much. I am looking forward to your emails too and about the wonderful things about Jacmel.

Also, my email is Ticapam [at] yahoo.com.

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Franty Cleophat says...

Jessica, I would love to give you some information about Jacmel.

If you want you can emailme at franty.

cleophat [at] gmail.com. I can get your mom some contacts if she is thinking of moving there.

I will be looking forward to read your email.

By the way I am not a doctor, just your next door Mortgage

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Jessica says...

Dr. Franty Cleophat,
I thank you for your words.

And your very right about me not having the need to fear. Just recently, my mother was talking about moving back home and she said she was moving to Jacmel.

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Franty Cleophat says...

Jessica let me tell you something.

Fear is a barrier to your dreams.

If you are afraid to to take action, then actions will never be taken nor executed.

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Franck Gedin says...

I amm here concerned to indicate the question about the new year resolution
which are for the philosopher to answer,
and to distinguish them from those

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Yanick says...

In the relatively short time that I've become acquainted with you, Woodring,my admiration for the young man that you are has grown many folds.

I sooo admire the way that you share your life with us, your readers, as well as your contribution to the expansion of our knowledge.

I was so moved by your last newsletter that I could not wait for a phone conversation.

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Franty Cleophat says...

Woody, I must say one thing I like about you is that you have a vision.

I noticed that since I met you in "Vin---" Cambridge, MA. We are both young, same age with kids. I can compare myself with you in somany ways; such as, asking my mom who was from the countryside of Bainet, how come she did not know how to read?

When she answered me I was sadden to know that my grandmother did not want to send them to school.

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Jessica says...

Dear Woodring,
My name is Jessica and I'm a 21 year Haitian American who yerns for answers about my heritage greatly.

Both my parents were born in Haiti and left when they were in their early 20's. They told me everything about Haiti and their childhood, however it's not the same. I want to actually go there and experience the greatness of the country.

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