Chapter 1: Haiti Spirit

Sneak Peeks – Know Thyself

…I am still not sure what the connection between the Haiti earthquake and this meeting might be but I felt that the earthquake was a life-changing experience for me. It shifted something within me, made me reassess, for the first time in my life, my relationship with the African continent, the land of my ancestors, of my formative years; and it deepened my sense of commitment to the healing of the continent of Africa.

After days of contemplating how much the Creoles I grew up with had in common with the Haitians, I began to think a bit more deeply about my identity. In the early years after I returned to London, I easily described myself as African. Then, I became Afro-British or occasionally Anglo-African. In recent years, I had started describing myself as a citizen of the world. This metamorphosis appears to reflect the fact that although I grew up in Africa, I had grown apart from it, and even beyond it.

My education and conditioning had prepared me more for life in the west or at least for a western lifestyle which had little in common with the real Africa, its customs and traditions. Having learned to make the distinction between western and progressive and the link between my life and others’ across the world, the description of ‘world citizen’ seemed so much more appropriate.

As I listened to, and watched the news, I went about my chores thinking about how accepting these Haitians appeared to be on the one hand. And, on the other, how lost and displaced literally and metaphorically they also were. Even the President appeared to be lost. I felt such empathy for them and for the people I grew up with, and yet deep within I felt a sense of their freedom…




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