Wisdom of The Elders

Interviews with People of Color who wish to share lessons through their life experience.


Flore Jean-Paul, R.N.

Cap Haitian
Born 8/13/1931

Flore Jean Paul is a Haitian born woman who relied on her will and strength to push forward when there weren't many opportunities given to her. As a Wife and Mother of 5, she moved to America to work as nurse and create a better life for her children.

How do you remember Haiti in the 1940s and 50s? 

At this time I was a student from cap Haitian that would travel to Port Au Prince with my grandmother to  my aunts home where there was a catholic school across the street. And my grandmother asked the sister and nuns to watch me while no one was home in the morning. They accepted me and this is where I learned to read.

Do you remember a popular tourist area in Haiti?

The Citadel wasn't in town but we traveled to see it often. For its Beauty and structure built by President Christophé.

What would you change in Cap Haitian today?

This town needs to be built.

Still poor...

Most people from there travel for better opportunities.

Haitian children love to learn and they're very smart and the ones who do have the chance are usually laureates. 

Like me.

I used to recite my poetry on May 18th, Flag Day, about the Battle of Vertieres and the way the men fought and won against the French General, Rochambeau.  

What was the life on the "rest Avec" (live in servant) like?

Some were treated well and most were not. This was a common practice of the French that is still going on in Haiti.

Do you consider yourself African, French, both, or neither?

African, because we came from Africa. But the Indians were there already, but French and Spanish I do not see myself that way.

What was it like working as a nurse and Haiti? 

Because I graduated with honors they gave me a job to work in a catholic school, but I wasn't happy, so I went back to school which my family didn't approve because I already could provide for them, but I wanted more. I wanted my respect. Completed three years became a nurse.  I was happy. So when you really want something in life you will do it. No matter how long it takes.. effort over suffering.

Who is your greatest motivation you know? 

My Grandmother. So I named my first child after her.