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Manze Dayila

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Manze Dayila-The Haitian Empress
One of the songs on Manze Dayila’s album is about Simbi d’lo, the Vodou spirit of water.

And it’s no wonder.

Manze grew up in poverty in the coastal town of St. Marc, Haiti, believing success in life lay far across the sea.

And one fall day in 1985, 19-year-old Manze boarded a rickety, overcrowded boat and headed for America.

After three rough days at sea, the boat was in bad shape and Manze was very ill, so the captain landed in Cuba.

Manze was seen by Cuban doctors and was urged to stay put. At the time, she was eight months pregnant. But after three weeks in Cuba, Manze and some of the other travellers got back into the still-un-repaired boat and continued on.

Manze: “Oh yes, I was determined to keep going because I really wanted to live the American dream, so I said I have to get here, we have to get here somehow.

A few days later they arrived on Miami Beach.

Manze: The boat ran ashore and it was a bright, beautiful day. And everybody was on the beach having fun, old, young people, everybody, and when the boat gets there people was very shocked, especially when they lift me up to take me off the boat. That’s when I heard all the screaming. People were saying, oh my god! She’s fully pregnant!

All those on board were taken to Krome Detention Center.

Manze was given an I-94 form to allow her to stay in the country and apply for a green card, and she was taken to the hospital.

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