Twelve years ago on March 21, 2001, a thirty-two year old; dark skin, youthful, optimistic Haitian male and his three children exited an American Airlines flight at Fort Lauderdale International airport. He walked out of the airlines holding onto the thoughts of endless opportunities in the “Great Nation” he had migrated to. What he sought was the American Dream- the dream to become rich and to live a comfortable lifestyle in the U. S while sending money back to his wife in Haiti. The hopes of endless opportunities lead him to quit his job as a police chief in the small Haitian town of Port-de-Paix, leaving his wife and family members behind.Order now
Uprooting his nine and four year old daughters along with his two year old son to move from all of which they knew, to the foreign city of Miami, Florida. Only to end up losing sight of his Dreams, he struggled working multiple dead end jobs at a time moving from house to house, seeking help from other family members, and going in and out of college but never finishing. For him the American Dream was a constant struggle. Ironically, he once said to me “I struggled more here than I did living in Haiti. At the time I thought it was laughable, Haiti a developing nation with more than half the population living in poverty compared to the U. S, well really there was no comparison in my mind.
I realized as an immigrant with three children he had to start all over from scratch. Being a police chief and a College Graduate in Haiti meant nothing. His degree was useless in the U. S. I recall him once saying to me “Pa fe menm jan ak mwen”- translated into English means “Don’t be like me” in our native language (Haitian Creole). Growing up I never really understood those words until February of my freshman year in high school.
The first time I had cause my father’s disappoint. I joined the college prep program IB (International Baccalaureate) and my grades began to go down the drain. They sent a notice to my house, stating my GPA of a 2. 3 at the time and the chance that I may be removed from the program. His disappoint caused me to step up and work harder in school to earn better grades, I wanted to be the daughter that he could brag to all of our family members about. He came here with me so I could get a good education, so I could be a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer, not to be a failure.
What was the point of his struggles if he or his children didn’t become successful in the United States? My Dad is the most influential person in my life, he encourages me to do and be more in life. To not have to struggle the way he did. He came to the United States to give me and my two other siblings something we couldn’t get in Haiti “endless possibilities”. And as we grow older it is our decision whether we will take the opportunity that he has given us. My American Dream is to end my father’s struggles, to show him that all the sacrifices he made were not done in vain.