Faith Makes Us Live

Faith Makes Us Live: Surviving and Thriving in the Haitian Diaspora

Faith Makes Us Live: Surviving and Thriving in the Haitian Diaspora was my first book (University of California Press 2009). To order it, click here.

To see a series of articles I have wrote about the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, click here.

Based on fieldwork in Haiti and three cities of the Haitian diaspora–Miami, Montreal and Paris–this study provides a vivid portrait of the power of faith for immigrants. By comparing the same immigrant group in three countries, this book also shows that government cooperation with religious institutions–which is stronger in the U.S. compared to either Canada or France–is crucial in harnessing immigrants’ religious piety to empower them towards more successful adaptation.

Jerry Berndt’s Photos of Notre Dame d’Haiti

To see some pictures from my fieldwork, click on the webalbum above. The cover of the book (shown above) is a picture I took at the Good Friday re-enactment of the Crucifixion of Jesus at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church, in Miami, Florida. I chose this picture for the cover of my book because the title of my book comes from the Haitian proverb that says “Faith makes us live, but misery divides us.” When I asked people to tell me about their life in the U.S., Canada or France, they often used this proverb to illustrate how even though Haitians have a lot of faith, they also live in misery and need to work hard to overcome their social problems. Biblical narratives such as that God became man, was crucified and rose from the dead become one way that Haitians find inspiration even in the midst of great suffering and continue to struggle for social progress.