A month ago, scheduled to attend a medical seminar in St. Thomas, US-VI, my wife and I started a trip, my first ever there, that will turn into one of the most significant, meaningful spiritual and cultural journeys of my life.
During those 6 days, my attention was utterly absorbed by the "duty of memory" ("devoir de memoire") as we, Haitians, are commemorating the centennial of the death of one of our most illustrious ancestors, Mr. Anténor Firmin, who lives his last days in exile in the hospitable island of St Thomas.
Soon I was able to reach Mr. Myron Jackson, Retired Head of Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office, he readily invited us to pay a visit to the Caribbean Genealogy Library to find answers to our quests.
Wasn't it a pleasant surprise indeed to discover on their microfilm library all the information I was wishing for...the newspapers of that time with the obituaries, the census of the citizens, neighborhood by neighborhood etc. with the expert help of the attendants, Rob and Lisa.
It was so enthralling to discover how much Haiti is part of that island history, how gracious our neighbors are, and how much they care to know about Haiti.
We will certainly share our experience with whoever cares to know their past...which may help them understand better their present.
We definitely need to develop more cultural bridges between St.Thomas and Haiti, and it seems like my journey just started.
Charles RENE, MD
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