Inmy family, men and women had distinct roles to play. Men took theresponsibilities of farming and related monumental works. Women werenever involved in such work but were required during weeding andharvesting periods. The women also involved themselves in trading ofagricultural products. Our family conformed to traditional roles aswomen were responsible for taking care of children as men were busywith farming. The men had the power to make the major familydecisions and hold a status in the family that was highly recognized.The male family members were highly regarded in the family, but thedecision making was under the hands of the father because he is thehead of the household. Men were prominent in the culture as they arethe ones who solved the family disputes whenever they arose and wereresponsible for feeding the family.
Themost important meal was served at lunch time and in most cases it wasrice and beans though this one was consumed mostly in urban areaspeople in rural areas took sweet potatoes and manioc. Culturally, theHaitians did not take non-Haitian food, especially when in hospitalsbecause we believed it will make us sicker. Likewise, it wasforbidden to take yoghurt or cottage cheese. Teenagers were notrequired to take citrus juices like lemon or orange. Pregnant womenwere not supposed to take spices. The typical foods served in ourculture included the rice and the Haitian cuisine. Dietary habitswere applicable depending on the nature and the type of person likepregnant women and teenagers were prohibited from taking some mealsas explained early. Foods eaten in our culture included Haitiancuisine, rice, soup joumou, legumes among others. There was diet forhealth and cultural festivities purposes.
Theaged people were highly respected and valued because of their wisdom.The culture required children to take care of the old. Most elderlypeople were cared at home though a small percentage had decided totake the old to the nursing homes.
Theculture regarded pregnancy as the happiest moment for the family andchildren were celebrated as a gift from God. We did prefer firstbornto be a boy, but we welcomed girls as well to help with house chores.The mother was taken good care of during pregnancy and after birthand she was responsible for rearing the child. The death of anelderly person was acceptable, but the death of a teenager was likean evil omen to the Haitians. The norms during pregnancy includedfeeding the mother well, after birth the child was to be cared for bythe mother who was to take the child rearing responsibilities. Thedeath was given the last bath before burial.
Ibelong to the Catholic religion, and we had priests who used to holdprayers during the periods of bad and good health. They used toencourage the Haitians to pray at all times and embrace the spirituallife.
TheHaitians used to believe common illness was a will of God, and itlasted for a short period whereas unknown disease that took quite along time was anger from the spirits. There were issues with healthcare providers as they required everything to be done according tothe health care rules and regulations that differed with the culturalbeliefs slightly. When one was hospitalized and can’t makedecisions, a close family member would do it instead. The cultureallowed nurses to let the Haitians hold prayers for the sick.
Ihad an experience with the health care system, and a difference arosebetween health, dental, and vision insurances depending on the natureof the complication that had arisen. But generally, there was noproper medical insurance and if there was, most Haitians did notafford it. I was exposed to cultural practices where we used to betreated with traditional herbs instead of seeking medical attentionbecause most Haitians were self-diagnosticians.
Myfamily had no genetic condition and the environment that we werebrought up dictated most of our activities. Prevalent diseases arosedue to several conditions, but our culture attributed it to poor dietand, as a result, we were encouraged to take nutritious foods always.
Haitiansembraced a warm relationship amongst themselves, and I neverwitnessed any stereotyping in our culture. Exclusions arose regardinggender only, and it happened during the performance of some specifiedroles.