First Visit to Cap Haitien
December 2013: Cap Haitien, Haiti
I was so impressed with my first time visit to Cap Haitien, the second largest city of Haiti. It is such a beautiful city! This port, located on the Northern coast of Haiti, is covered with historic sites and French colonial architecture…so rich in history. Not to mention the beautiful Caribbean Sea surrounding this town! And fortunately, they do not have to struggle with rebuilding after the earthquake like Port-au-Prince. The city is cleaner and more organized, a lot safer than PAP. I am impressed by the alphabetical and numerical organization of the streets. You will never get lost here!
My visit to the San Souci Palace, out in a nearby town called Milot blew me away. This palace was built by King Henri Christophe after the independence of Haiti and was finished in 1813. When I first stepped out of the car and walked up, the sun was hitting the palace ruins at a perfect angle, giving it a majestic glow. The palace is magnificent at every turn. I can only imagine all the dancing and feasting that happened inside these walls. The freedom. In one particular corner of the palace, we heard “My heart will go on” by Celine Dion playing. There we found several young people dancing with elegance as if they were attending a ball, dancing in the ballroom. If you get a chance to come to Cap Haitien, you must to visit this majestic place.
Though we got to visit a new city, the main purpose of this trip was to meet with the young artists of Haitian Productions. Our very own personal tour guide was Lycender Chery, the visionary who started this art organization at age 16 to give opportunities to the peers around him. Now at age 18, he has 9 artists painting, and 20 students in his art school. Thanks to all the support from Haiti EXPO LA, where we raised funds for this art school, we were able to come up with a plan to move them into an actual building.
I visited their small production room on the roof of Lycender’s home in the two days of meeting with the artists. This news of expanding brought great motivation to them all, who realized they could be a start of something that can help the people around them. I was able to share my vision of bringing job opportunities to the 80% of their own people who are living in poverty. Each of the artists also had the chance to share their personal story with me, how they got into painting and their vision for the future. I was inspired by their stories. Some of the artists have long been teaching art to young ones without charge, simply to share their skills to the young people. Hoping they can make something out of their life with these skills. There was a kindred spirit forming in that room despite the difference in skin tone, culture and language. From that meeting, I saw young Haitian leaders being raised up to make a difference for their own country. A shared heart and a shared vision to bring hope to Haiti through the beauty of their work. This trip was a success.
I’m excited to show off more amazing hand-painted products from these talented artists with beautiful hearts as we make a larger impact in Haiti!
P.S. I was so honored to bring my mom to Haiti for the first time on this trip! She is my inspiration, my teacher, and an impressive female entrepreneur in China. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, exportation and brand development, she also sees huge potential in Haiti. Thank you so much for believing in me, enough to go to Haiti with me! How many people can say they’ve brought their parents to Haiti? What a huge honor.