Tell us a little bit about yourself and your culture.
I was born and raised in Haiti until the age eleven and a half. I have been married for 22 years to Tony Haywood and we have four beautiful children: Aujaurie, Cyerra, Caleb and Carlens, our adopted son in Haiti. I speak three languages and I own and operate Unique Children’s Center in Flint, where we serve children from infant, preschool, PreK and before- and-after-school care. I have been in business for almost ten years and I have a brother who resides in Lansing and is also in business (Good Painting). I run a foundation in Haiti named after my mother, Le Foundation de Nelie Desir. Through my foundation, my family and I give away needed goods such as clothing, food and personal hygiene items, as well as paying for medical needs and children’s tuition. I love being a Haitian and despise what is going on there, though I do enjoy going to my native home and spending time with my son and family. Haiti has a rich culture and the natives there are so friendly and hardworking. They make means with whatever they have.
How did you come to the Greater Flint area?
I moved to Flint 22 years ago after I got married because my husband is a “Flintstone.” He did not want to move to Lansing where I resided; therefore, I made the move to Flint.
What was your perception of the city when you first arrived? How has it changed?
Twenty-two years ago, Flint was a lot cleaner and had many more stores. The water issue seems to have made a big impact on the city including my business, because we to had use bottled water to cook and serve the children. The pipes at my home had to be changed. During this period, I was interviewed by someone and I explained to him to a certain extent, it seemed like I was in Haiti having to search for water. Besides that, Flint has been pretty good. I have had the opportunity to serve great individuals by volunteering in food, bikes, back-to-school items and other giveaways.
What do you see in the future for Internationals and immigrants in Flint?
In the future, I see more Immigrants and Internationals in Flint opening business or owning properties. Immigrants are hardworking individuals and enjoy taking care of their families here and back in their homeland.