Haitian Community in Mount Olive, A Small Town in North Carolina
There are many stories behind how this transition started. At the most basic, every story goes like this: in late summer of 2010, a Haitian who was working at the Butterball plant in Mount Olive once heard that his boss has to replace a dozen of his workers because their work permits have some problems. The Haitian worker came forward to solicit new workers from his country. He first called an aspirant friend in Miami, who again called some of his mates in other places. Two days later, two vans packed with energized Haitians arrived at Butterball who were offered immediate jobs. This was the beginning of exodus. Another similar wave of immigrants came twelve years ago when Mexican workers came to pick cucumbers for pickle factories.
Since the late summer of 2010, when tourists abandoned South Florida following the recession, many Haitian immigrants have flooded to this small pickle empire. Some came from Florida but there are many who came direct from Haiti. The limited numbers of rental homes at Mount Olive are overcrowded. Many have to sleep in shifts. When earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the United States granted provisional protection to Haitians by granting temporary legitimation. Work permits and promises of jobs were offered which was further extended beyond the given deadlines on 2013.
The migrant workers are mostly found to be fluid in nature. The local Church has planned to develop a regional community center for Haitian immigrants. Addressing a community in Creole is difficult. So the church has begun to offer literary classes both in French and English.
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