Whatever else the story of Haitian asylum seekers Daniel and Rodeline is — an epic quest or near Job-ian test of faith — it’s also a love story.
They met at Daniel’s cousin’s place in Rio de Janeiro seven years ago. Separately, at their parents’ urging, they’d both fled for their lives from Haiti to Brazil. Rodeline says Brazil is “a beautiful country, but there’s no work.” Unable to support herself, she was trapped in escalating domestic violence. Daniel would sometimes visit his cousin, a close friend of Rodeline’s, and he’d hear them talking about her increasingly dangerous living situation. He helped her get away from all that, and helped her heal.
In the spring of 2021, Daniel, Rodeline (pregnant with their son) and their 5-year-old daughter Jeanine left Brazil and made their way by foot, bus and taxi to Central America. Stalled in Honduras while Daniel worked to raise additional funds for their safe crossing to the U.S., Rodeline says she experienced anti-Black racism so extreme that she worried about whether her baby could be delivered safely there. The couple made a painful decision: Daniel would stay behind to continue working and Rodeline and Jeanine would go on without him. Mother and daughter crossed in a caravan in June, and he followed in September.
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