After nursing school, Mom was employed five years as a charge nurse at Port Au Prince's General Hospital. She made $70/month working full-time. Serving as a nurse in any developing country meant that you can find yourself performing minor surgery. For a brief time in the early 60s the Haitian Gourde was as strong as the US dollar so it was the equivalent of $2.50/day US. My dad made $3/day as a laborer in a sugar mill. At ages 24 and 31, my parents hit the top of their pay scales - $6/day was the most money that they could ever expect to earn if they remained in Haiti.
At ages 24 and 31, they hit the top of their pay scales - $6/day was the most they could expect to earn if they remained in Haiti.
My parents were also motivated to leave Haiti due to limitations imposed on them for not being Duvalier supporters. At the sugar mill where Dad worked, 10 machinists suddenly lost their jobs after having sanguinary off-the-clock discussions about the regime. As the 10 men were escorted out, 10 more men -- supporters -- were invited in. Whether Dad had said anything or not, his time there was ticking, and jobs were hard to come by.
Mom, on the other hand, was outspoken. She felt compelled to express her opinions about the injustices taking place around her. Her dad, a colonel in the Haitian army, had suppressed his opinions. He later died of a heart-attack at his desk. She wasn't about to let the same thing happen to her. Nor did she want to live life in fear that she would be kidnapped and tortured for her views.
She did not want to live life in fear that she would be kidnapped and tortured for her views.
My parents were motivated to leave for both political and financial reasons. If they stayed in Haiti, they would've gotten stuck in the quagmire of authoritarianism. Their timing to leave made all the difference. The U.S was at war in Vietnam, there was a shortage of nurses in the states. That shortage served Mom well because she had a job before she even set foot in Chicago. God bless the USA!