Meet Suzanne Simpson
Who is Suzanne Simpson?
I was born 47 years before the turn of the century, exactly two days after the slum priest who was the son of the heartland. I am (Poliana) the 7th of 10 children of the late Oriol (Mr. Rigid) and Jeanne Lascaze (Mrs. Passive). I was Married to Jeffrey Simpson (Mr. still friend) and added 2 names to Nashua’s teeming list: Jeffrey Jr (Mr. Shy) who now lives in Maryland and Ebony (Social butterfly) who lives in NC. Destiny (cudly baby) whom I call Destine is my 10 months old grandchild.
I left Haiti at the blossom of my youth, it took 3 years to recuperate from nostalgic illness, but my parents grew impatient. Their melancholy became so terminal, they hopped on a plane to reclaim their mother’s home “Haiti”. That decision allowed me the opportunity to stay connected with relatives who would otherwise be forgotten and made it possible now for those of us who live in our adopted land, to reach out and pave the way for others to become self-sufficient.
Where did you grow up for the most part? Where do you live now for the most part?
33% of my life I lived in Port-Au-Prince, 7/13 of my life in NH, 5 years in Charlotte, and the last 19 months, split 50:50 between Belle Fortune and Manchester.
How do your youth experiences relate to your life as an adult?
My parents were more spiritual than religious. They did not just take, but also gave. They took advantage of opportunities that opened up doors to self sufficiency. They reduced the ration of our meal to accommodate the unexpected empty stomach. Though theirs was limited, they stressed the value of a good education. These experiences have shaped my life as an adult and I try to pass it on to my children.
Are you the person that you wanted to be as you grew up?
I wanted to get an education, be a wife and mother with options. Becoming an accountant never crossed my mind till I met my husband. I wanted to give back what I once received.
How did your physical and social environment impact your personal development? Are they conducive today to your own sense of fulfillment?
As a young child I was very sheltered, my social activities were limited to school and the program sponsored at the church. Later on the social circle I became part of, contributed more to my personal development. I then realized volunteering some of one’s time to the community can yield high intangible returns.
Tell us about your activities in general and your special interests.
I like to visit shut ins after church on Sundays and give a helping hand to organizations in the NH community. I gave up my passion to grow fine herbs when I moved back to NH. I like to try unheard of receipes with the fruit of the land in Belle Fortune. I share my jig saw puzzle addiction with the people in Belle Fortune. When the mood strikes I quilt, sew, and try to pass it on each Saturday afternoon when I am in Belle Fortune. When I am in NH my muscles get stiff, I take one of my nephew or niece roller skating. When I want culture I drive to the Wang Center or Schubert Theatre in Boston. When I want to be comical, I go bowling. The last time I went to the slopes, I crashed into some skiers making them think it was part of a movie scene. When I want Haitian food, I go to Calypso or Bon Appetit in Boston. When I want to get away, I take my daughter on trips to Barbados, or Jamaica. When I want thrill, I go on roller coaster rides, especially the vertical drop at Old Dominion. When I am in Haiti, I suffer withdrawal syndrome from my daily visit to WOH.
What is your perception of the community or communities in which you are currently engaged - or - that you wish to belong to, on a long term basis?
The Belle Fortune people are protective, hospitable and giving. Leoganais living abroad have pitched in to bring electricity, but the work is still in progress because the community‘s portion has not been met yet. Fundraising activities are unheard of. Although the village has potable water, some of the people in the community do not have means to have it connected. Ecole Patriotique De Belle Fortune provides them water and at the same time teach them the value of conservation. Darbornne, the next village is in a developing stage.
New Hampshire on the other hand is becoming more diverse. Because of lower housing cost, many have crossed the Mass border to make NH their home. It now claims its share of once unheard of social issues but is still not a bad place to raise kids.
What would you consider the biggest challenge to the development or betterment of your community/communities?
There are many challenges not only in Belle Fortune and surrounding communities but in Haiti as a whole such as:
- Lack of tax base to fund public education, paved roads, and to keep Haiti clean
- Lack of sugar cane to keep the factory in Darbonne running all year long
- Lack of production
- Lack of employment
- Lack of means for some parents to send their kids to school
- Too many borlette banks
What are your persistent hopes and most frequent fears?
My hope is for Haiti to reach political stability, paving the way for economic equilibrium. Although it will take time, but today’s new born, if placed under the tutelage of true believers and practitioners of “L’Union Fait La Force”, their mind can be transformed from the “me mode” and be molded to “the country first mode”; in doing so, they can be prepared to become tomorrows responsible leaders and carry the torch of true liberty. Then, the Haitian people may finally be cured of their distorted view that hope only lies in distant shores, only to feel like prodigal sons and daughters.
My fear is, when changes do not happen fast enough, today’s supporters who lack insights may grow disillusioned and enroll in the university who rewards opposition majors full scholarship so they’ll graduate magna cum laude, with an emphasis on perpetual instability, thus, guarantying economic dependence on the powers forever and ever. Amen
What is your most cherished dream?
My most cherished dream is for the Haitian people to amalgamate so we‘ll attain political stability.
Now suppose, just suppose, that we grant you ten million dollars for doing this interview, with the stipulation that you must spend it in 24 hours or less, what would you do?
If given such a large amount just for doing this interview, I would think that this is too good to be true. I would assume there may be tax consequences for personal use. The most efficient way I could shelter it within 24 hours is by donating the entire amount to a community foundation, stipulating for the money to be placed in a donor advised fund restricted as follows:
- I would endow $5 million to some churches and organization in the US in partnership with Haiti for business development for the benefit of investors and the people in Haiti.
- I would give WOH $100,000
- I would give 300,000 to setup a town hall in Darbonne, fund salaries for a progressive administrator/inspector, a sharp accountant/administrator, train and hire 20 dedicated temporary inspectors to inventory property in all surrounding towns. Pay for a survey and map all properties in the surrounding communities.
- I would give 250,000 to have the roads paved in Belle Fortune, Darbonne and surrounding communities. I would stipulate that any one applying to work on this project must show proof of annual payment of 250gdes to DGI.
- I would purchase farm equipment for 250,000 to improve farming and increase production in Belle Fortune and surrounding communities.
- I would give a 3 year grant for a total of 150,000 as an incentive to the farmers for sugar cane production in Leogane.
- I would give 150,000 to bring electricity to Belle Fortune and surrounding communities.
- I would give 50,000 to upgrade the water system in the village.
- I would give 25,000 to ad public toilet by the public transportation stations in Darbonne and in the city of Leogane.
- I would endow 1.5 million to fund elementary education for children in Leogane.
- I would grant 75,000 to be divided among all schools in Leogane for hot lunch. Stipulating that the goods and services be purchased from farmers and workers in surrounding communities at a competitive price.
- I would give 300,000 to have the market in Darbonne cleaned and rebuilt. Stipulating a yearly fee be charged to each vendor for the upkeep of the market.
- I would give 25,000 to setup adult literacy program in Leogane
- I would grant 300,000 to fund public High School in Darbonne
- I would grant 50,000 in scholarships for Leogane students who aspire to become agronomist in exchange for their binding commitment to their community after their study.
- I would give 200,000 to College Bird in Port Au Prince to setup an adult literacy program to be run by their students in exchange for free tuition.
- I would give 1.3 million as discretionary gifts to individuals in exchange for their contribution to Haiti’s development.
- The residual, I would give to Ecole Patriotique De Belle Fortune for programs and expansion.
Now suppose, just suppose, that you knew for certain that you had one week (7 days) to live, how would you spend your time?
I would spend time with family, friends, and send out notes to others. I would drive to Richmond with my daughter for one last ride on the vertical drop.
Is there a world leader (past or present) in any field (arts, science, rights, political, spiritual, etc) that you most admire?
- Toussaint Louverture for his courage when he traced the constitutional line
- Frederick Douglas for his struggle for human right, equal right, and civil right
- Thurgood Marshall for his sensitivity to the voiceless in America
- Mother Theresa for her dedication to mankind
- The slum priest for his embrace of the children of the lowly God
- Princess Diana for using her power to give comfort to the untouchable
Leave us a parting word.
WOH, such a miraculous site, Ann Pale members especially Jaf and Michelnau, you give me hope that one day, our Haitian grandchildren with opposite political views, will join hand and seat at the unison table, listening the echo of their ancestors voice: adje, li pran nou tout tan sa, kounyè ya nou kapab fèmen je nou an repo. Nou konnen ke nou pa’t travay pou anyen. Mèsi anpil rasin nou yo.