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A Taxi Driver from Haiti Prospers in the USA

3 April 2009 One Comment

Mandoux from Haiti is proud to retain his thick accent after seven years as a cab driver in the USA- Tampa, Florida, to be precise.

“If I didn’t keep this accent, I might be mistaken for a US born African American!” he proclaims thickly.  We both pause to take in his meaning, which is not complimentary to our US citizens.  Our thoughts delve into the “why’s” of the desire for disassociation and quickly become mired in complex and confusing possibilities.  But the lingering discomfort of the fact that US immigrants often do not want to be mistaken for US blacks is left to be re-stirred at a later time, as he continues in excitement to introduce himself and his life.

Mandoux is on a mission.  Proudly pulling photos of a beautiful home, wife and children from his wallet, he explains how he has capitalized on global economic opportunity for the benefit of his family.  He works as a cab driver in the USA, and with the differences in currency exchange and lower cost of living “back home” in Haiti, he is able to translate his earnings as a cab driver in the USA into a beautiful, custom built 4 bedroom, 2 bath house in Haiti that any native US citizen would be proud to own.

Beaming, he explains that this is also important to him, because as a 54 year old man married to a 24 year old woman, with two young children between them, it is hard to hold on to his wife (e.g., others will try to “steal” her), but he can do that if he is a good provider.

So many lessons from this short trip with a Taxi Driver:

1)  In accessing global economic opportunity, currency differences can be used to advantage, regardless of what country one comes from.

2)  It is saddening and humbling to see the reflection in an immigrant’s eyes of our worst societal failings.  And what exactly is it that causes this desire for disassociation?  Where is the root cause?  The responsibility?  Have centuries of economic plight of minorities materialized into new stereotypes for foreign visitors – even as our efforts to discard stereotypes and overcome inequalities have enabled us to enthusiastically elect an African American as our Chief and Leader?

3) Some things in our world are universal.

One Comment »

  • Haiti said:

    Haiti…

    An interesting post by a blogger made me think ……

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