WASHINGTON, D.C. (sentinel.ht) – My dad asked me to go to Haiti with him many times, but I never did. He’d usually go for two weeks in the summer, but there was always some conflict that kept me from going with him — usually preseason or a practice when I was at LSU. And my schedule only got crazier after I made it to the NFL.
I just was never able to make the time for a trip like that. I couldn’t make the time to go to Haiti.
“Sorry, Dad. Next time I’ll see if I can make it.”
My dad’s family is Haitian and I’m from Miami, not far from a part of the city called Little Haiti. So, yeah, I sort of grew up surrounded by Haitians. Folks around town would hear my last name (Francois) and expect me on the spot to speak Creole. If another Haitian comes up to you and you can’t speak Creole? Well then you’re gonna get in a full-on argument — for no other reason than you can’t speak Creole.
I’d picked up a few words here and there, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Sitting at a table of 20 Haitians and not understanding anything they were saying made me feel weird and out of place, even around my own family.
So once I got to college, I took it upon myself to learn — about our history, our independence, even some of the crooked politicians. Haiti, well, it’s a complicated place. But for everything that I read or asked my dad about, it always felt like there was this gap. Something missing.
Read the full article by Washington Redskins Defensive End, Ricky Jean Francois and Wide Receiver Pierre Garçon at The Players Tribune.