‘Orevois’ special: they say a final goodbye to 11 Haitian women who died in a shipwreck near Descheau

“Orevo (Farewell in Creole)”. With this farewell phrase, dozens of relatives, religious and political leaders from the capital and Puerto Ricans said goodbye today, Wednesday, to the 11 Haitian women died In early May in a shipwreck north of Decio Island as it attempted to reach Puerto Rico.

Shilove, Lunique, Woodeline, Smeralda, Saint Ursule, Shmid, Erlie, Dania, Echeler, Lucner, and Wendy are the names of those who died on the high seas.

The coffins were arranged side by side in front of the altar, and Haitian flags were placed on each, as well as portraits of the victims and flower arrangements. Most of them were women under the age of thirty, young students, and others were mothers.

About 200 people attended the party, which began at 11:00 a.m., including the director of the Dominican Women’s Center, Romilinda Grollon; mayor of san juan, Michael Romero; Haitian Reverend Olin-Pierre; Elected Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, Lizette Gabriel, and Bishop of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Caribbean, Idalia Negron.

“It is very distressing. A mother told me – on a phone call from Port-au-Prince, Haiti – last night (Tuesday) that she is suffering because her sister died seven days ago from the same situation as her daughter,” said Leonard, the Haitian community leader in Puerto Rico, Leonard. Profil, at the Capital Cemetery, in Kobe, “told me grief was unique in his life.”

After mass, the funeral procession will go to the Parish of San Mateo, also in Santurce, and then they will be interred at the San Juan Municipal Cemetery, in Kobe.

“I am bound by friendship and respect for the Haitian community in Puerto Rico… Today is different. Tragedy has a woman’s face. It is necessary to think of May 12th when the dreams and hopes of 11 women were at the bottom of the sea,” shared the Director of the San Juan Municipal Integrated Development Office for Women, Valerie Rivera Vargas.

In the boat that capsized on May 12, between 60 and 75 people were traveling, according to the Coast Guard. However, only 49 people were recovered, of whom 38 are alive and 11 dead. Of the total survivors, 36 are Haitians and two Dominicans; All adults.

Because of these events, the captain of the boat, Fermin Montella, a resident of the Dominican Republic, was Indicted by federal authorities To smuggle aliens into the territory of the United States, culminating in deaths. Earlier this month, he pleaded not guilty to the incident and remains in custody pending trial.

Meanwhile, next to the altar, they have placed pictures of all the still missing people whose families in Haiti have reported having been on the ship that sank a month ago.

“From the beginning it was difficult because we got on the boat at night. It was never what we were told it would be. They were all young,” one boat survivor shared after the burial.

Emmanuel Felix, a relative who lost seven women as a result of the accident – including Schmid Bonnie Bigord, 23 – also shared some words of comfort at the ceremony. Bonnie Bejord’s father attended the funeral via video call after he was in Haiti.

Schmid had three sisters. Nothing here. I have a father and he is not here. “He had a mother and she’s not here…” said Felix from the altar.

Thus, many Haitians witnessed the event through mobile devices because they lived in the neighboring country or were afraid to go to Puerto Rico due to their irregular status as immigrants in the United States. Some relatives even came from Canada to say goodbye to the women.

They think they will be arrested. We had Santa Teresita (the church) full of family. However, many are afraid and do not have the resources to come because they are newcomers.Prophil explained.

Likewise, he denounced that the bodies could not be returned to Haiti due to problems signing the certificate. The Consul General of Haiti to the United States, Stéphane Gill, visited the Institute of Forensic Sciences on May 20. However, today he did not participate in the funeral service.

The Funeral Home Association of Puerto Rico donated the coffins and helped transport them and bury them in the capital’s cemetery. Likewise, designer Carlotta Alfaro designed Haitian women’s clothing. Prophil appreciated the help they received from the various community and private organizations on the island.

“I give you a hug. And our spirit of solidarity, too, overwhelmed when so many citizens and businesses came forward and came together to give our sisters a dignified, Christian burial.For his part, the mayor of San Juan.

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