HCX’s new team member: Across the Ocean and Back – by Yushabel Lubrun, Brooklyn Community Foundation Fellow


I was not ready.

As I disembarked the packed plane in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I was unsure what to expect. Of course, I was exposed to the disheartening photos and footage of Haiti on television growing up, but something was different. The life and energy flowing from the country’s rich history and culture engulfed me as I was greeted by a group of musicians playing Twoubadou selections. It was as if the lead singer was a harbinger of what was awaiting me. I did not know it then, but my life was about to change forever.

During my six week medical internship in Haiti, I was immersed in a new way of life that intrigued me every day. Though a first generation Haitian-American, I was connecting with my roots from the actual source….the motherland. During my stay I was able to shadow physicians in local hospitals in Port-au-Prince, drawing upon their vast knowledge and experience. Their passion and dedication to the community helped me to solidify my desire to pursue a career in medicine after obtaining my bachelor’s degree. My eyes were opened to the strong correlation between healthcare, wellbeing and culture. Nutrition tied into traditional dishes. Pharmaceuticals tied into visits to the local Vodou priest. From landmarks such as the National Haitian Historical Museum, MUPANAH, the military base at Fort Jacques that housed the revolutionary troops of General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and the Parc Historique de La Canne a Sucre, to local favorites like the Champs de Mars during Carnaval des Fleurs, watching the final match of the World Cup at a local restaurant, or just assisting a little league soccer match in La Boule, I was shown a different side of Haiti.

I dreaded my flight back to the states. The journey was as painful as a child being separated from its mother. Since that big milestone almost a year ago, I have not only fully embraced my heritage, but I have acquired the desire to learn more about Haitian culture and share it with the people I interact with. When I was given a chance to be a part of the HCX team as a Brooklyn Community Foundation Youth Fellow, I knew that this organization’s core values and mission statement was something I wanted to support. Although I am not physically in Haiti, the different programs and events hosted by HCX definitely capture the spirit and beauty of “la Perle des Antilles”. As a Brooklyn Youth Fellow, I would like to be able to see medicine holistically through the lense of the arts and culture. I also look forward to strengthening my leadership skills, becoming more versed in program management, and collaborating in different groups to identify and solve issues within our community. I am honored to have been considered as a fellow and I am excited to embark on this new experience with the awesome team at HCX!

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