Clerichena’s Story

“I am grateful for misery. It has helped me become who I am.”

“I stood on the stage of the World and Eye Story Slam storytelling contest, faced the audience, picked up the microphone and told my story: a five minute detailed account of how it felt to graduate high school with honors and not have one family member there to celebrate me.

I took the bus home after the graduation and cried all night. Looking back, that event was my pivot point. The all-night cry ignited my strength and now I see it as just one more thing I had to endure to get to where I am now. It felt good to be part of the storytelling contest.

My high school graduation was years ago. Since then I’ve earned a college degree from Florida Atlantic University and I have my own family. I see myself as an earth mom: homeschooling my boys, growing my own food and feeling blissfully healthy. All of us are vegetarian. Our kids have never eaten meat.

Although I live a good life now, it wasn’t always like that. The high school graduation snub was a culmination of my nasty family history. From knife threats from my father to being raped during a family gathering to my battle with alcoholism to my feelings of worthlessness. My father’s idea of discipline was to beat me so bad that I had to lie to teachers in school when they noticed bruises on me. I grew up being told that I was a mistake, that I should never have been born. My father told me that I smelled funny and would never amount to anything. I should just be a whore. People who hear my story now say they are amazed that I just don’t just sit around and cry all the time. Some said I am sorry or OMG. Sometimes they don’t know what to say, they just hug me.

The effects on my life were more than hurt feelings. I started having extreme mood swings. I was very sluggish and any task became a huge effort. My concentration suffered. I had an inflamed liver from drinking too much alcohol. I was showing signs of hepatitis, My colon was clogged. My skin was dull. I could feel myself deteriorating.

I knew that my nutritional deficiencies were adding to my problems but I also knew I could cure them with the medicinal remedies of my Haitian culture. It was time for me to be my own patient, to embrace my cultural roots and to eventually cure others with what I knew. That is how I created my business, Te Wellness offering combinations of herbs, tinctures and teas to put the body back in balance.

This is how I regained blissful health: First I stopped eating processed food, and meat. Then I noticed a slight change in my mood. I felt more balanced. I drank cerasee tea. It was bitter but I felt cleansed from it. This lead to me to studying more about nutrition. I spoke to people, researched on the internet and figured out combinations by trial and error. I constantly refined what I ate.

By the time my son was born, I felt so good that I returned to dancing as part of my routine, something I had not done since I was a little girl in Haiti. I could feel joy re-entering my life.

In Haiti, we don’t go to doctors. Not every town has a doctor or a hospital. It takes hours to get to a doctor, hours to wait to see one, then hours to return home. It also costs a lot of money to go to doctors. Haitians believe in cleansing the body and being in balance with nature, a philosophy that comes from our African roots. I used the business and research skills I learned at FAU to create my business. I don’t have notebooks or notes. I set this up by trial and error. I just study what happens in the body. My clients tell me that my herbal mixtures have lowered their high blood pressure, increased their energy and healed their discomforts.

My home garden provides the fresh herbs I need for my business. Right now I have aloe vera, lemongrass, rosemary. grapefruit, avocado.

I didn’t win the story slam but I feel like a winner because I spread my message of hope to the audience.

I have a message for younger girls in a bad situation: The way out of a seemingly hopeless life is to follow your dreams and never give up. We all have our struggles … keep going … do your best and never stop. The people who cannot celebrate you cannot celebrate themselves either. For me, I got pride from my good grades and good nutrition. No one can give you pride: it must come from within.”

Clerichena’s Bag

I have a 1 year old and 4 year old, so I always have a clean pull-up diaper and extra change of clothes because you never know when the diaper is not enough. I also carry toys for the kids to play with
The notepad is for looking for coconuts. Sometimes when I see coconuts outside a home I use leave a message at the door. We drink a lot of coconut milk.

3 thoughts on “Clerichena Clerjuste: Back to My Haitian Roots

  • LindaJanuary 30, 2020 at 3:20 am

    I admire that you found your balance in your Haitian culture and gardening in your own back yard.

  • RandyJanuary 27, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Nice story

  • MonicaJanuary 8, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    What a woman. She is an inspiration. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *