Keepin' it real
Montreal skater pushes to represent Haiti
Maxime-Billy Fortin, 26, was born in Haiti but was adopted into a Quebec City family and quickly became an avid figure skater. He has dreamed of skating internationally for Haiti ... Read more
Gee, I'd love to see this happen. It would give the skater a chance to compete internationally, and it would give Haiti a moment of good news. I doubt it would spark a skating tradition in Haiti, because they have no facilities, but it might create new fans, and any international success would be good PR for Haiti.
That's some article, by the way. A sobering thought, that diaspora Haitians who send money home represent about 20% of the country's gross national product. But good for them! They don't just leave and turn their backs. This is actually pretty common. I know people from several countries who send money home to the folks. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of crime stories in this country (and I'm sure in Canada, the U.K., and elsewhere) is when an immigrant shopkeeper or taxi driver is killed, and they say that the guy had a family in this country and was also supporting bunches of relatives back home. There are some seriously hardworking people in this world.
Wicked Yankee Girl
Maxime Billy Fortin at Canadian Nationals
He does have the moves
It would be awesome if he were the first Haitian winter Olympian.
I hope he can find his birth parents, too, since he would like to find them.
There's nothing like the publicity of something like Olympics for that to happen.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 08-05-2012 at 02:02 PM.
I love Maxim's moves and have previously proclaimed him the most musical skater in the world! He deserves to be seen and enjoyed by the World so it would be great if he could represent Haiti to skate at Worlds and the Olympics. Moreover, I have a soft spot for Haiti. I went for a vacation there many years ago and, in spite of the excruciating experience of biting into a hot chili pepper during a regular black out and the sad views of abject poverty, I was deeply touched and impressed by the polite teenagers hassling for a living along with the sweet and savvy 4 year old children, and the happy, gentle, and artistic nature of the people in this poorest, and at the time the most oppressed, tiny nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haitian immigrants here seem to have maintained their joyous and gentle character.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti greatly saddened me. The disaster in Japan was recorded by the ubiquitous cameras and its images played around the clock for days and seared into minds globally. In contrast, after the earthquake which collapsed cities and villages, killing over 220,000 and injuring more than 300,000, the US controlled the gateway to Haiti by immediately taking over the Haitian and Dominican Republic's airports and few were let into the disaster zones. The Haitians' suffering got limited press and soon forgotten. Two years later, little has been done to restore either the physical structures or people's lives.
Last year I met a self-made lady from the US who provided and raised funds to build a school in her native Haiti which is now providing free meals and education for 350 children. Our mutual friends have collected and refurbished computers from Montreal schools to be sent to the school in Haiti. I found out that it would cost a ridiculous $3000 to ship the quoted 30 computers so I tried to find a more economical way. All aid organizations I contacted do not ship any goods there, which is simply not an efficient way to help. I finally found how to ship the 43 computers for about $1800 but the slow and at times frustrating responses by people involved to complete the paper work has taken about two months. I figure even without filling a full container, it would still be much more economical to make a larger shipment but my friend is just anxious to ship this load off, which is costing him close to $150/month to store. Hopefully these computers will soon be on their way to the needy children.
I had a thread declaring NHL enforcer turned figure skater Georges Laraque my new hero who is also working to help his parents' homeland of Haiti, among his other admirable endeavours. I wish Georges, Maxime-Billy, and Haiti the best. They deserve it.
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 08-07-2012 at 11:10 PM.
It's the inefficiency that's killing the process, SF. We did get a lot of news coverage over here, at least on the east coast, and a lot of people donated money. I gather that a lot of money and supplies made it over there and then just stopped dead. Not that this is an excuse to give up, but Haiti does tend to end up back in a trough.
A lot of people don't realize that Haiti was the second colony in this hemisphere to declare independence, after the United States. The heartbreaking thing is that the U.S. gave it no support, because the American South was too afraid that Haiti's successful slave revolt would inspire one in their own country. We were happy to support Bolivar and others in South America but not Toussaint L'Ouverture in Haiti. Haiti therefore had no allies to help "midwife" it during its difficult birth. In order for France to recognize its independence Haiti had to agree to pay a kind of tribute to France, which it did by taking out loans. It finished repaying its debt in 1947. That's about 150 years later! Then several generations of Duvalier dictators milked it dry.
I keep hoping that finally, Haiti will have a chance to start fresh. I'm heartened by the fact that many expatriates now living in the U.S. and Canada have maintained loyalty to Haiti and continue to try to help.
Last edited by Olympia; 08-07-2012 at 11:28 PM.
Good luck to Maxime-Billy. I always enjoyed his enthusiasm and musicality.
Originally Posted by gsk8
Another interesting skating connection...the Montreal CTV reporter who filed that video report was Kevin Gallagher, former Canadian senior ice dance competitor!