RESSOURCES HAITIENNES DE SUDBURY
In September 2013, I, the actual owner of the restaurant Cuisine Tropicale moved here in Sudbury to pursue a second career at College Boreal in Civil engineering and mining. By April 2014, I found myself homeless, sleeping in my car and sharing a couch with a dog at friend’s place because of lack of funding of the program. Actually, it wasn’t really a lack of funding but, I just wasn’t aware there was a cut in the funding that allows him to pay for my and my 14 years old daughter’s living from April to September. This is when I realized how important it is to be surround by people you culturally know and who know you. After arriving in Sudbury, I had only met 2 Haitians student at College Boreal, but they didn’t seem to be able to help. When come the time to meet with a few more Haitians, I explained to them what happened to me and my desire to prevent such atrocity happen to other people a few months ago so I begged them to join me in the foundation of an organisation to promote mutual help and Haitian’s culture in Sudbury.
We were about 13 of us gathering in my living room on September 23rd, 2015, in a Sudbury Housing corporation apartment at Louis St. to launch the organization. I was the one to propose the name Ressources Haitiennes de Sudbury with the mission to promote mutual help and Haitian culture. Since that time, there has been several gatherings to celebrate birthdays, newcomers, newborn and many type of events. Every year, we invite our friends from different community to share an annual dinner where Haitian foods are served made with fund collected among members of the organization. Funds are also collected every time a member has either a family tragedy or a celebration. Many newcomers in Sudbury have had the opportunity to stay for free at other member’s home for a while until this newcomer found a proper place to live. In 2017, the organization lunched it’s first and to become an annual celebration to honor graduated from different high school, college, and university in Sudbury. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic that began last year it has been impossible for the organization to meet. But we are still connected to each other via a WhatsApp forum counting 35 Haitians with many newly created families here in Sudbury. I insisted since day one that every single Haitian who come to Sudbury is automatically a member of the organization regardless of their knowledge about the existence of the organization. I personally met a couple of Haitians who happen to be living in Sudbury for over 40 years but this organization that me and and other members have created is the very first one.
The organization’s mission is clear: Mutual aid and promotion of Haitian culture. As the president of Ressources Haitiennes de Sudbury, I helped many people with housing for years. And now, I am the co-owner of Cuisine Tropicale, an haitian/afrocaribean restaurant that serve mainly haitian foods in addition to some other specialities such as the Jamaican jerk chicken and the famous Nigerian jollof rice. My dream is to convert this restaurant into a community restaurant that can provide free or subsidized meals for people who cannot afford a good meal.
Despite the pandemic, Ressources Haitiennes de Sudbury is doing everything it can to stay operational in order to keep supporting the Haitian and every other community in Sudbury. We cannot wait to life to come back so we can continue meet with our friends from different community for a strong and prosperous Sudbury.