Haïti and Heritage

Home has been a nebulous concept for me. I’ve spent my life torn between two cultures, never feeling truly American, and never feeling truly Haitian. It leaves me feeling as though I’ve no substantial identity, no home that extends beyond the walls of a house.

But coming back to Haiti for a second time with CU Winds, I felt a distinct sense of familiarity, like coming home from work and making yourself at home. For a moment, I felt like I had indeed come home. But the duality still remains, made painfully apparent in how difficult it’s become to speak Kreyol. I can manage, but certainly not well enough to feel like I belong. But I took heart in speaking with Mildred Aristide about it today after our concert at the Jean Bertrand Aristide University. She told me that heritage isn’t just in the language, but also in the heart. Haiti’s always been in my heart and that makes coming here with CU Winds such a wonderful opportunity.

I’ve been starting to reconnect, talking with students from St. Trinity, interacting with workers, and seeing my family. It’s starting to feel like I have a home, an identity, just one that is incomplete, and now I can fill in the blanks.

-Hendryck Gellineau, Trombone