Deborah Carr | Power of Words: Haiti
freelance writer, professional writer, writer, Moncton, New Brunswick, writing workshops
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Power of Words: Haiti

All stories have significance

Sseveral years ago, I traveled to northern Haiti at the request of Medical Ambassadours of Haiti to deliver a series of creative writing workshops in rural communities.

Despite living in what is considered one of the poorest country in the world, Haitians had expressed a desire to tell their personal stories in their own native language – Kreyole.

With the help of a translator, our small team completed nine workshops in 16 days, reaching about 140 people in three provinces of Haiti. Throughout it all, I recorded my thoughts and photos on my blog, and wrote about the experience in the article, The Write Stuff. (Saltscapes Magazine)

Mme Deborah, thank you for helping us to remember our thoughts. When we remember were we come from, we can enter another dimension. If you don’t remember where you come from you cannot have a future tomorrow. ~ Participant

The response reinforced my belief in the power of words.

Studies prove that writing can help people discover meaning in their experiences, and thereby promotes self-esteem, well-being, health and healing.

Giving Haitians permission to write their thoughts encouraged the skills of reflection and observation. They learned their thoughts were important and their stories had significance.

The experience taught me that we must re-evaluate how we help others, both afar and at home. Many of our North American solutions have little relevance within the Haitian culture and do nothing but encourage dependence upon foreign aid. The Haitian people I met were eager to learn skills that would help them improve their own communities. They know what they need and are fully capable of envisioning their own solutions to the problems they face, using the assets they already possess. International partners can then help by filling in the knowledge or skills gaps and funding community-driven projects.


What makes me happy, is that even if I die, what I write here, people will come behind me, they can say this is what my Mother taught people….And another thing…at times, we have to get people to write things for us, but now I know that, more than just writing our own stories, we can write the stories of our country. This is just a taste and maybe there will be more beautiful things to come. ~ Participant