I had been keeping a prayer journal for about 13 years. So when God asked me to go to Haiti in the year 2000 it only stood to reason that I would continue the habit that was so deeply ingrained in my daily activities.

I began journalling in 1987 while a victim of horrendous spousal abuse. One of my tools for survival was a diary I kept. I kept the diary to prove to myself that I was not going insane. My husband was a master at his weapon of choice—mental abuse. Inherently no different than most perpetrators of domestic violence he had me brilliantly brainwashed. He not only controlled my heart but he had captured my mind. He would lie and then he would swear that he had not lied. I would ask him to do something and he would not do it. He would then bully me into thinking that I was out of my mind and delusional and that I never had asked anything of him. I was not “allowed” to have an opinion. He was the “man of the house”. I did not need to think. He “preferred it that way.” And when I did struggle to have a voice, a say, an opinion he assured me that my thoughts “were stupid…nobody thinks like that..” Out of pure unadulterated love for him I grew to learn that he was ALWAYS right and I HAD TO BE WRONG. I kept secret journals documenting our conversations. These journals kept me sane. It took 5 years worth of journals to give me the strength to get out of the precarious, dangerous and unhealthy relationship. When no one else listened or cared, my journals did. 5 years of journalling had become a way of survival and a way of life.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when I landed on the beautiful shores of Haiti. It was only natural that I began keeping a journal but this time as a legacy for my two wonderful daughters. A legacy that would leave documentation of my thoughts, prayer conversations with God, poems, and essays of my service in a land engulfed with cultural richness yet enfolded in dire and devastating poverty. Fast forward again to January 12, 2010 and the horrendous Haiti earthquake. According to the statistics this natural disaster took over 316,000 lives. Voices never to be heard from again. It was at that point that God impressed upon my heart, that my scribblings and doodles about Haiti, that I had been diligently keeping as a gift for my daughters, were to be a gift to the world; a gift on behalf of a nation of people who perished in the “abuse” from the awful “husbandry” of the earthquake. I was now to be their voice. The voice of a people, not of a statistic. Thus I present to the world the results of my scribblings and love doodles, two books: HAITI: The Aftershocks of Hope; and HERE’S TO HAITI: Kiss, America, Kiss!!!

diamond mama did itkiss america book headshot
(yolantha’s 10 years of life in domestic violence also became a voice for women and children of hate crimes. She wrote two books based on her survival journals: WING PLUCKED BUTTERFLY–excerpts from her voice as a victim and as a survivor; and SHOUT, MAMMY, SHOUT!!! –excerpts from the rediscovery of her voice as a victor. SHOUT, MAMMY SHOUT, is to be re-released through Trubu-Press by the end of 2013.)

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