Port-au-Prince – Depending on who you listen to, you can hear many defamatory descriptions of Haitian youth. Yes, it is true you’ll find some of them walking the streets all day long, playing cards or dominoes, basketball or football.
But these three brothers decided to show a different side of the youth. The oldest one is only 27 years old, done with classic study but can’t go to university. As a self-taught actor, he teaches the art to his younger brothers so they can make a living.
The brothers spent months performing in the city of Hinche, as well as in Port-au-Prince, because they were trying to save $45.000 Haitian dollars they needed to realize their dream: building this model helicopter:
For these brothers, creating this helicopter is the realization of a lifelong ambition. When they were kids, they were fascinated with the “ti totè”, a local slang for helicopters. The two started to think about making their project a reality when helicopters started to frequently fly over the Haitian soil in the past few decades.
So they have been searching about helicopters for years before they finally figured out the mechanics of what makes helicopters fly. Even once they understood the process, however, they still needed more support and knowledge before they could make it fly.
They began building the chopper in March 2007, and finished it in March 2008. The two participated in a local competition with their helicopter where they made it fly for several minutes, and won the first prize. They tell me that at the same time, a local company offered them $13 000 USD for their creation, but they turned them down. They wanted to receive something more important than money, like training or continued education. They also wanted it to become a part of Haiti’s national heritage.
After the January 12th earthquake, they took their helicopter out to the airport arrivals area. Their hope was that the foreign people arriving in the country would admire their creation, and that one of them would help them achieve their goals. And by the way, they stuck an Obama picture on the front window next to their own photo, as well as both the American and Canadian flags.
On the top they put the Haitian flag so everybody can easily identify the country in which this helicopter was created.
They also placed their helicopter there as a welcome to all nations coming in their country, especially the U.S Army.
Starting from scratch to create a helicopter, with no experience in the area is not an easy realization and to succeed is quite amazing. These two give Haitian youth a good name – there is no other way to describe these three young men except as “strong minded”!