Diana reflects on arriving at St. Helene and her beautiful memories of Christmas. December 25, 2017 - Haiti
Diana dressed up for a Christmas party.
My name is Diana. I am 23 years old and a 'hermana mayor', or ‘big sister’.
I came to NPH Haiti when I was 10 years old because my family faced a difficult economic situation, and my parents searched for a better place for us to grow up, that would offer us an education. The area where we lived was a dangerous place due to the daily violence and gang activities.
This motivated my parents to do all they could to take us out of that situation. One day someone in our neighborhood advised my parents to approach NPFS (NPH Haiti) and explain the situation. This is what led to my four siblings and myself to join the NPH family.
I arrived when I was in second grade and my youngest brother, Kesnet, arrived at four years old. He is now 17, and just moved to the NPH Don Bosco secondary program. I left the St. Helene home when I was 18 years old after finishing the 9th grade in 2012. I returned to live with my family and I am still supported by NPH to complete a higher level of education.
In 2016, I finished the 12th grade! Now I am preparing to start university soon. My dream is to become a pediatrician, as I am passionate about caring for children and overall love kids. I want to take good care of sick children.
When I first arrived at St. Helene, it was difficult for a period. Then soon after, I fell in love with it, for many reasons. Once I made friends, and the other children appreciated me and treated me like their family, like someone they knew for a long time, and once I participated in the daily activities that the leaders organized, I started to feel happy and safe.
When I think of Christmas, I think of all the fun, special activities. I like to dance, but the best Christmas activities were the competitions and gifts. I was in charge of writing the Christmas songs for my house for the competition; one Christmas song I wrote had in title “Gade yon nwèl sages”, or “A Christmas of Wisdom”.
When Christmas was on its way, all the children living at the St. Helene home, especially in my house, organized a Christmas market where all the kids went to the store to buy what we needed, such as perfume, clothes, jewelry, nice shoes, and makeup, and saved them for Christmas day.
One unforgettable thing at St. Helene is the food served to the children, especially the salad, called Haitian Russian Salad, 'Salad Wous'. It is amazing! The ingredients: potatoes, beets and carrots. Another Christmas food is chicken drumsticks, sweet bell peppers and tomato paste, which combine to make a delicious dish called ‘poul fri an sòs’.
The Christmas songs that played on the radio, our friends who joined together and sang, all add to the feeling of Christmas time for me. What drew my attention at our home in St. Helene, was when the home was decorated with Christmas lights.
On Christmas day, we brought candles for mass to celebrate Jesus’ Day. I loved participating in the home's 'dance troop', and I loved when Fr. Rick Frechette shared testimonies; some were fun, and some were sad. He told jokes that would make us smile, and would also share stories about his busy week.
I enjoyed the Christmas gifts, and I also loved the breaking of piñatas, and when they would give us something called “Ti Sachè”, a little bag. When we opened it we found candies, cookies, peanuts, mandarins, and more!
My favorite Christmas gift that I have kept for years, that is like a treasure at my home, is a “Nounouse”, a teddy bear. Every time I make my bed and I place him right on top.
Jacquet Diana Hermana Mayor, or 'Big Sister' from NPH Haiti
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson