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Black Women Writers

Black Women Writers

Interview questions

  1. How old are you and when did you come to the United States?
  2. Do all your relatives live in the United States?
  3. Are there members of the immediate family who still live in Haiti and how often do you get to see each other?
  4. Are there special dates when your meetings are scheduled?
  5. For the family members and relatives living in the United States, what forms the backbone of your interactions especially when all of you are together?
  6. If you do not have any close relatives in the United States, how often do you travel to Haiti to meet your relatives and what mainly ensues during your meetings?
  7. Haitians come to the United States for educational purposes among other reasons. What would you say was the main reason as to why you came to the United States?
  8. Back home, the Haitians have been going through hard times especially over the last three decades including the most recent earthquake and various issues of governance. As a woman living in the United States, what do you think about that?
  9. Based on the Haitian culture, are there matters that the cradle woman will go through different from the male counterparts?
  10. What is the role of women in solving societal problems?
  11. What role does religion play in resolution of family and other life problems in the Haitian culture?
  12. Other than the role of religion and religious leaders in the resolution of life and struggle problems in Haiti, are there any traditional means of resolving life problems among the Haitians?
  13. Do the modernized people still follow such traditions in problem resolution?
  14. What is your point of view on the role of men in the handling life struggles in Haiti?
  15. Imagine you went back in time. Are there things that you think you would have done better in resolving societal issues back in Haiti, or things that you think the government of Haiti would have done better?
  16. In your opinion, what is the contribution of governance in Haiti to the life and struggle issues of the people of Haiti?
  17. On a rank of 1-10, how would you rate the governance?
  18. In any crises, women and children happen to be the most affected. Education aids in enabling people to deal with life issues in a better way. To what extent do you think the education system in Haiti aids people in dealing with life struggles?
  19. Can you think of any issues with the Haitian system of education?
  20. What is that one thing that if the Haitian women had, then most of their problems would be inexistent?

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Person A

Answers to interview questions

  1. I am 65 years old. I have been living in the United States for more than forty years now.
  2. The only people living in the United States are my three children and me. My husband passed on two years ago. However, I still miss by brothers and other relatives whom I have not seen since I stepped foot on the American soil. I must admit that it has been a hard walk living without knowing whether my parents still do exist. My parents passed on when I was still a little girl.
  3. I would want to believe and hope that my brothers and their families, if they ever married, still live in Haiti.
  4. I have never met any relative since I left Haiti.
  5. Living together as a family leaves us thinking about our daily lives. However, I have family friends whom I met after stepping foot on the American soil via my late husband. They are all Haitians and once in a while, we reflect upon the life of family members still living in Haiti. At times, we do wish we had the chance to travel back to our homeland.
  6. I do not like answering that question. I cry every time that question is asked. I miss my brothers, but I have never had the chance to see them. We used to exchange letters with my younger brother for four years after getting to the United States, and I remember always promising him to come back. I was his only sister. However, we lost contact, and I have no idea what may have happened to him or even the family.
  7. I came to the United States in search of greener pastures. I worked as a nurse when I met my husband, who was also working as a nurse; we married a year after our first meeting. That was two year after I left home.
  8. The Haitian woman has always been assumed to be a strong person having to deal with birth and bringing up children singlehandedly on many occasions. I look forward to a day when the Haitian woman will break away from that bondage.
  9. There is a common proverb that beyond the mountains, there are more mountains. That has been the spirit among many Haitians and that is what the Haitian woman has been brought up knowing. Dealing with all household struggles and worries has always been left to the Haitian woman. I experienced the same here with my late husband.
  10. To some extent, I believe that women hold the key to their happiness, but we do not manage to enjoy that happiness by failing to empower ourselves economically and through education instead running for early marriages.
  11. Since time immemorial, religion has always provided a leeway for the Haitians. I believe God works miracles.
  12. When I was a little girl, my mother taught me about the gods that aided the traditional believers such as the voodoo.
  13. I doubt whether that still works today.
  14. Men have been in government and failed. I believe that it is the high time that people broke away from traditions.
  15. I wish I had not left Haiti. I would probably be seeing my siblings.
  16. The government is the source of problems in Haiti.
  17. I would give the government a zero.
  18. Education is the key, I believe as people get more educated, problems and life’s struggles will ease.
  19. I do not have any credible information on the curriculum used in Haiti schools.
  20. I wish that I knew then what I know now. I would not be going through what I do, and I would aid in solving the problems of my people. I am now old and helpless.
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Person B

Answers to interview questions

  1. I was born and raised in the United States since 1990. That was a year after my parents moved to the United States.
  2. Apparently, I do not have any relatives in the United States other than my immediate family which includes my elder brother and my parents. My elder brother is three years older than me.
  3. Yes, once in a while, I get to see photos of my grandparents. They still live in Haiti. My grandfather was a chief, and my grandmother – a housewife, so I am told by my parents.
  4. Over the summer holidays.
  5. We normally discuss the normal life stuff. At time though, I hear my parents discussing the political and governance issues related to Haiti.
  6. Well, over my life, we’ve only travelled to Haiti twice. Most of it was just touring the country and meeting family and relatives. My parents seem to enjoy the most since they do understand the local language and enjoy communicating with their peers.
  7. I was born here. My parents, however, were seeking political asylum. My father is a trained lawyer while my mother is a trained medical doctor.
  8. My parents have always reminded me not to forget that I am a Haitian born in America. By that I mean that I sympathize with fellow Haitians with respect to the various hardships that they undergo. While there is not much that can be done with regard to the natural disasters, I run a blog addressing governance issues in Haiti. I also have a few friends in graduate school, and we are planning a few visits to Haiti beginning from the next year.
  9. I do not have much to say concerning the Haitian culture and women’s life and struggle.
  10. The problems faced by the Haitian women can only be understood by a woman and better solved by a woman. My friends and I have an initiative under which we mentor a few ladies in Haitian educational institutions and will be visiting them sometime next year. Our parents are very supportive.
  11. I believe that the Christian principles aid some people in dealing with societal problems. However, the gospel has been left to give hope to the poor as the rich continue defrauding them.
  12. I do not know much about the traditions of the Haiti people.
  13. I doubt that belief in the traditions would change anything at the moment.
  14. I do not know how best to put this, but men have been at the center of the failed system of governance in Haiti. The wars and fights are done by men. They leave many women upbringing their children singlehandedly.
  15. At my age, I believe that there is much that I can do to make a difference.
  16. I believe that there is still much that can be done.
  17. Bad governance; that is what it is at a score of 2.
  18. I believe that through education, people get empowered. My friends and I are working with a few ladies and have pledged to assist them and many more to achieve their dreams. I believe that we will make a difference. We also aim at establishing educational trust.
  19. I look forward to a time when education will be availed to all people in Haiti.
  20. Knowledge is power, and though I may not change a thing, I will make a difference.

Summary and Conclusion

Based on the interview with ladies A and B, the available information indicates congruence in belief that surrounds the life and struggles of a Haitian woman. The proverb that states that beyond a mountain there are other mountains indicates that the Haitian woman lives expecting one life struggle after another. The social problems such as raising children singlehandedly may have found a resting place among the Haitian women. However, other problems result from ignorance associated with low literacy levels while the political instability poses a danger to both children and women.

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Though representing different generations, the two women showed that the solution to the problems women in Haiti go through can only be solved via good governance and provision of education to all (Haiti Net). This conclusion waiss based on the fact that both women had lost faith in the governance of Haiti while education was viewed as the best empowerment tool. Person B also believes in making a difference in her own capacity. They both do not believe that sticking to the same old traditions would solve anything (State University of New York).

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From a personal point of view, the interview process pushed the interviewees to focuse more closely on the life and struggles that women in Haiti go through. From the process, one can also infer that the deep-rooted culture and tradition of women subordination to men in Haiti also contributes to the problems of the Haitian women other than illiteracy and political instability. If the women broke away from the cultural and traditional beliefs, then their burden would be easier.

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