Now that you’ve met the roots (my Grandma) and the branch (me) meet a seed that has fallen and begun to grow. This project of defining my roots is as much for her as it is for me but thats a story for a different day.

The roots of my position in this society are three-fold. I am Haitian and I am American. Perhaps most importantly to this story, I am also a child of capitalism.

I am HAITIAN. That means my roots are in Haiti, the first country to stop and say enough was enough. The first country to defeat Napoleonic forces on the battlefield. Haitians spoke truth to power and have been punished for it ever since. Brother stood next to sister and fought saying I may die but our collective freedom is more important to me than my own life.

This school in the little Haitian town of Bod me Limbe is the Genesis of this project. In spring of 2008 my sister, a group of Groton alumni, students, a teacher, and myself traveled to Haiti as part of a service trip. The trip in the end was probably as self-serving as it was helpful, it would have been equally if not more useful for the residents for us to save the money we spent on flights, and vaccines, and food, and passports, etc and simply have sent it to them.

Hearts Together for Haiti, the group that runs the school, is a Canadian charitable organization that provides a free education to the children of the area. In essence they provide hope to the village. It’s for no small reason that Haitian parents the world over value education more than anything else. Education is one of the few avenues for success in Haiti, but few have access to it. There is no real public education system and thus most families have to scrape together what little money they have to send their children to school for a couple of years.

I wouldn’t call myself a complainer but I do complain. I complain when I can’t order ribs at a restaurant. I complain when I don’t get the best grades or the best teachers. I complain when the cards don’t fall my way.

Which is why these kids are my heroes. We throw the word hero around a lot in our society. Just go on google, espn, cnn, bbc, or even brown.edu and search hero. You’ll find plenty of stories but rarely about kids like these.

Kids who play the hand that they’ve been dealt despite the unfairness. They hold hands with no spades and yet in life unlike spades there is no re-deal. And so they struggle on fighting with every inch of their beings to win a couple books and ensure the next hand dealt to their progeny is but a little bit better, a little bit stronger, and a little bit juster.

These are the children OUR society chooses not to invest in.

Before we move further its equally important for me to acknowledge all my roots. I am Haitian, I am American, I am middle class, but I am also part of the elite. I am part of the elite of the capitalistic world because of the education I have been able to receive. I attended Groton School. Google that to find out more but of important is only that the school educated about 350 pupils and had at some point an endowment of over 350 million dollars. I spent my childhood being educated at a school where my every need and concern was provided for.

I now attend Brown University. I am receiving one of the best educations in the world. I don’t think I’m being conservative when I say that I dont think there are any more than 200, 000 (top 40 schools in the nation) students in America receiving a similar quality education. That is the richest country in the world provides only .06%  of its population the quality of education that me and my fellow Brown students receive. The numbers only get more staggering when you start to think about how many of the 6 billion + humans living on this planet will recieve similar education. I say this only to ask two questions.

1. Why us?

2. What it is our responsibility to humanity given that we are the few whom the system has chosen to provide for?

lines the walls of the school in Bod me Limbe. We placed the glass in the cement walls when we were building them to provide security to the school. This is where the next generation of Haitian seeds will develop.Despite our(humanity’s) failures I cant help but hope that these girls will flourish. I feel innately connected to them because these girls are my grandmother. If she were born 86 years later and were still on this earth this would be her. They will be the roots of a new generation but what will that generation look like. I can’t help but imagine what they could do, who they could be, and the Haiti that they would anchor  if they were given the opportunities and education I have been given.

What would my grandmother have done if she had had a chance to attend Groton and Brown. I have no doubt that she could would should have been a Rosalind Franklin or Marie Curie.