October 23, 2019 / Interview with Thrive Ansanm student Diemsonn Victor by Thrive Ansanm director Josh Gray [translated from Haitian Creole]
The other day Thrive Ansanm Director Josh Gray had the chance to catch up with Diemsonn Victor. Diemsonn is a regular at the Thrive Ansanm resource center, and after waiting for a long time he finally received a scholarship this past summer. He was planning to start his first year of college in September, but because of the current political turmoil in Haiti, he hasn’t been able to start yet. Still, he remains hopeful and he is committed to starting school as soon as possible.
Josh: How do you see the current situation in the country?
Diemsonn: Currently the situation is not very good. It’s not good at all because you have children that can’t go to school, and me too with the current situation I cannot go to school. I received a scholarship, but I haven’t yet had the chance to use it because the streets are not good, the country is not good, “peyi lok” (the country is locked) as people say, and there is no possibility of going to school.
Josh: Currently, your school is completely closed?
Diemsonn: It’s completely closed.
Josh: What do you believe the country should do to fix this situation?
Diemsonn: They’re asking for the president to resign, and then everything would calm down schools could open, institutions could start to function again. The president needs to listen to what we are saying and give his resignation, even if this is not what he wants to do. For the good of the people, this is what he should do.
Josh: Explain for others why it was difficult for you to go to college and why it was important for you to receive a scholarship.
Diemsonn: Primarily, the reason that I wasn’t able to go to school was that in my family only my father was working. He alone is working, so what he’s making isn’t enough to pay for school for my little brother, little sister, and myself, therefore, he put me through school [high school] first. He needed to pay for school for my other siblings so they could go, thus when he finished paying for the other children’s school, what remained wasn’t enough. We had no choice but to sit and wait for me to receive a scholarship so that I could go, but now I have received it thanks to Thrive Ansanm. It’s become very important for me to go to school so that I can work to help them [my siblings and parents] after I am finished.
Josh: What are you planning to study in college?
Diemsonn: Accounting. I have this goal, if I am able to get my license and diploma and continue even farther, after this my goal is to learn digital media such as photography and video editing.
Josh: It seems that you like to learn?
Diemsonn: So much, so much, so much.
Josh: When you aren’t going to school, you don’t have anything to study how do you like to pass your time?
Diemsonn: I often read. I watch videos on YouTube so I can learn how to do things that I want to do, and I listen to music and exercise.
Josh: What kind of exercise do you prefer?
Diemsonn: The gym
Josh: Do you want to bulk up, build muscle?
Diemsonn: I don’t need to be big, big, big just normal.
Josh: You don’t want to put on too much weight?
Diemsonn: No (smiles)
Josh: Do you have someone who is your hero? A person that you admire?
Diemsonn: It’s my father, as it is he that took on the whole burden of caring for our family. The place where he works doesn’t offer a lot of possibility, how can I say it, a lot of benefit, so he didn’t have a lot of time to spend with us. Instead he preferred to go to work, so he could provide us with as much food as we needed. Like, he would wake up at 4:00am every morning to go to work all the way in Tabarre, and when he came back it would be very late, and he wouldn’t have time for us. He worked very hard so that we wouldn’t be hungry, so that he could put clothes on our backs, so that we would have money in our pockets, so it was he [seeing him] that made me say when I finish college I would like to work so I can find a way to help him.
Even if I don’t have a lot, I can take some of the burden he has on his back, like I could help pay for school for my little sister and little brother.
Josh: But right now he can’t go [to work], right? Because the country is locked.
Diemsonn: No, he can’t go. Well, he goes but he can’t go often. He normally goes six days a week, and now he might only go three days a week. He still tries every day, but if he sees that the streets are not good he has to quit [return home].
Josh: What dreams do you have for the future? For yourself?
Diemsonn: For myself?
Diemsonn: My dream is to finish college. This is normal, but I must secure what I need, like I must continue working all the time so that I can find a place to live with my wife and kids so that I can simply live.
Josh: It sounds like you want to have a wife and kids someday?
Diemsonn: Yes, a stable life.
Josh: And it’s not easy for people in Haiti, yeah?
Diemsonn: No, this is why I want to work hard to attain this.
Josh: Do you have a favorite Haitian proverb?
Diemsonn: There’s one that says, “Mache chache, pa janm domì san soupe.” [Go out and look for what you need, don’t ever sleep without supper.] Like, it’s saying when you work for it you’ll find results. You need to work hard to find what you’re seeking.