There’s cultural exchange between people of Haitian descent in the United States and other groups of African descent in the United States of America. But for some reason, or rather for many reasons, there’s not much interaction between Black America and Haiti within Haiti. A resurge in Haiti tourism is changing that, with African-Americans, and Caribbean-Americans exploring Haiti. And then there’s people like radio personality and community activist Jae Nash who initiate social exchange. Nash, whose organization Girl Power Outreach made its first trip to Haiti last month. The trip was made in collaboration with Atlanta For Haiti for Mission of Grace, and its purpose was to empower young girls in the community of Carries, Haiti while promoting core values like sisterhood and community.
Kreyolicious: Growing up, what was your view of yourself as a girl in this world?
Jae Nash: As a young girl, I always thought thought of myself as a person who could help save the world. Though it sounds very cliché, in my eyes, I was no different than Supergirl or Wonder Woman.
Kreyolicious: How does your organization differ from other girl empowerment organizations?
Jae Nash: There really isn’t a big difference in my organization. I’m just happy that we’re all spreading a message of hope and empowering not just to young girls but women as well. It’s something that I didn’t see as often growing up, being a member of the Boys and Girls Club and Girl Scouts. That was all we had back then. I love organizations like Black Girl Rocks, Women by Choice, The Young Belle Project, Me Too and Women’s March to name a few. Our focus is parallel.
Kreyolicious: I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but in the early 19th Century several of Haiti’s leaders had these Black USA to Haiti movements. I know you’re from Atlanta but if you have some relatives up north, they may have been among those who immigrated to Haiti.
Jae Nash: That is sounds very interesting. Apparently, I have some research to do on my family history based on that new insight. Though I currently live in Atlanta, I’m originally from Indianapolis by way of Mississippi. Like many African American professionals, I’ve made Atlanta my home.
Kreyolicious: Your organization mentors girls all over the USA. What did you note as far as cultural differences in Carries?
Jae Nash: Obviously, language was a challenge. I’m not Haitian and I can’t speak Creole or French. However, the love that the locals exude for one another is unparalleled to an anywhere in the world. It’s simply priceless. I may have not understood much, but a welcoming kiss on the cheek, followed by a “bonjou” or “bonswa” was I needed to know.
Kreyolicious: Prior to your trip to Haiti, what did you think it was going to be like?
Jae Nash: Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I try really hard not to overthink my service trips. Whether in the States or abroad.
Kreyolicious: What are some things you learned during your trip about Haiti that perhaps you hadn’t been aware of from media reports?
Jae Nash: Number one, the history of Haiti. Our coordinator Meagan Henry with Atlanta For Haiti took us to a museum called Musée Ogier-Fombrun from Slavery to Liberty. It was very eye opening and rich in history. Our tour guide Lindsey was very knowledgeable about his country. Number two, the country far from the “S***hole” that was described by President Trump. Despite all of the media reports about devastation and poverty, Haiti is beautiful. You literally get the best of both worlds there. On one side it’s the beautiful mountains and the other is the clear blue ocean. It will humble you.
Kreyolicious: What are you hoping to do on your next trip to Haiti that you didn’t get to the first time around?
Jase Nash: I would definitely take a ride on the tap tap, which is the public transportation in Haiti.
Would you like to support Girl Power Outreach and Atlanta For Haiti? You can visit https://www.givesendgo.com/girlpoweroutreach to see how you can help. You can also visit The Jae Nash site to buy A Vision Affirmation Coloring Booklet: You See It! You Believe It! You COLOR It! and have 15% of their purchase go towards the service trip and future international efforts for girls in other countries Girl Power Outreach visits.