Former President Jean Bertrand-Aristide landed in Haiti on Friday, ending a seven-year exile in South Africa, less than two days away from a run-off election.
Accompanied by actor and activist, Danny Glover, Aristide was welcomed by many of his supporters.
“If you could lean your heart against mine, you would hear how it beats faster, you would hear how it sings a consoling melody for Haiti,” Aristide said in a public statement at the airport, alternating between Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and Zulu. “Haiti is our mother who needs to breath the oxygen of dignity…”
Ricardo Noel witnessed the reaction of Aristide’s supporters upon his arrival.
“The streets of Port-Au-Prince were in total jubilee,” he said. “The people that worked in the airport actually left their job site and ran towards the airplane. It was amazing.” Noel, along with a group of nearly 30 Howard students and faculty, volunteered in Haiti as part of Alternative Spring Break.
Noel recalls seeing graffiti on the wall that said, “Obama, fok Titide retounen,” (Obama, Titide must return).
Aristide said that he will not participate in politics, but will focus on education.
“Today, in the shade of Toussaint Louverture, we are happy to come engage the youth, the new generation, who want education in dignity and without exclusion,” he said.
“My job is to serve you with love. Your job is to live so Haiti does not die. The job of a good patriot is to love his country.”