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OURSELVES Selebre Tèt Nou


Nous Célébrer

ራሳችንን ማክበር

庆祝自己 Celebrando a Nosotros

慶祝自己 Isku Dhiirin Doona Isaga

Writings from the Women’s Education Center at Rosie’s Place, Spring 2018

CELEBRATING O U R S E LV E S Celebrando a Nosotros


Nous Célébrer


Selebre Tèt Nou Celebrando-Nos

ራሳችንን ማክበር Isku Dhiirin Doona Isaga

Writings from the Women’s ​ Education Center at Rosie’s Place Spring 2018

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Celebrating Ourselves Writings from the Women’s Education Center at Rosie’s Place ©2018 Writing Café Artwork: All artwork, including cover image, by students at Rosie’s Place Photography: Sadie Dayton Photography Cover and Interior Designer: The Emerson College Pub Lab: John Rodzvillla, Ross Concillo, Sam Kiss and Brooke Knisley This book was created by students, volunteers, and Rosie’s Place staff in partnership with our publisher. Students Who Contributed to Dedication: Feng Ming D., Fatiha J., Orquidea L., Lucy N., Nilda N., Luz S., Peiyu X., Guilene X. and Xin Ju Y. Volunteers: Liz Mellyn and Allison Munro Staff: Alex Babbist, Cerlyn Cantave, Michele Chausse, Liz Hughes and Sara Jorgensen Publisher: Michele Brennan, Bridgeport National Bindery, Inc. We also thank the entire Rosie’s Place community for their support!

Writing what we feel empowers us, takes away our fears. We dedicate this book to the brave women from all over the world who are willing to learn and use their voices. We celebrate ourselves here and we celebrate the special love at Rosie’s Place that makes us continue to go and go. Celebrate yourself with us.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Who I Am���������������������������������������������������������������� 9 Miriam’s Story, Miriam Omar A. ������������������������������������� 10 This Is Me, I Am Colorful, Maria do C. ���������������������������� 10 My Personality, Marie Christianne Dorilus S. ������������������� 11 I am Beautiful, Kathia V. ������������������������������������������������� 12 Who I Am, Graciete do C. ���������������������������������������������� 12 My Story, Ynes N. ���������������������������������������������������������� 13 I Am Sainte Helene, Sainte Helene C. ����������������������������� 14 Who I Am, Carmen Ayala R. ������������������������������������������ 14 My Personality, Belaynesh W. ����������������������������������������� 15 I Am Clean, Marie Magalie D. ���������������������������������������� 16 My Personality, Salimatou B. ������������������������������������������ 16 Why I Am Beautiful, Nan Z. �������������������������������������������� 17 Personality, Andree J. ����������������������������������������������������� 18 I Am Caring, Marie Z. ����������������������������������������������������� 18 My Personality, Nerlande L. �������������������������������������������� 19 My Personality, Hadiatou B. �������������������������������������������� 20 I Am, Anita Massena G. ������������������������������������������������� 20 My Story, Jeanne S. �������������������������������������������������������� 21 I Celebrate Me, Florence E. P. ����������������������������������������� 22 Celebration����������������������������������������������������������� 25 Celebrating Life, Kettly Jean B. ��������������������������������������� 26 How I Celebrate Me, Marie Roseline A. �������������������������� 27 Celebrating Myself, Lucy N. �������������������������������������������� 28 I Like To Celebrate Myself, Iphonise H. ��������������������������� 31 Celebrating My Womanhood, Teresa S. �������������������������� 32 5 | Celbrating Ourselves

Celebrating My Life, Meixia Z. ���������������������������������������� 34 How I Celebrate Special Occasions, Marie Gesmaine S. �� 37 I Celebrate Myself, Zhixin W. ������������������������������������������ 38 Better Days — I Celebrate Me, Michele B. ���������������������� 40 A Birthday Celebration Encounter, Veronika W. �������������� 42 Thinking of Home������������������������������������������������ 45 Celebrating Myself, Francisca A. ������������������������������������� 46 I Go To Boston From China, Xi S. ������������������������������������ 48 Morocco Party, Fatiha J. ������������������������������������������������� 49 Remembering Chinese New Years, Xiuzhen W. �������������� 50 My Journey, Vilma V. ������������������������������������������������������ 52 About Me�������������������������������������������������������������� 53 8 Things I Can Do, Julissa B. ������������������������������������������� 54 Here’s What I Can Do, Flor A. B. ������������������������������������� 54 I Want You To Know, Khadijo A. ������������������������������������ 55 My Story, Nataliya K. ������������������������������������������������������ 56 Me, Myself And I, Carmen G. ����������������������������������������� 56 Julia, Julia Rosario L. ������������������������������������������������������� 57 Self Portrait, Angelica C. ������������������������������������������������ 58 When I Look In The Mirror, Isabel H. ������������������������������� 58 My Story, Ana C. ������������������������������������������������������������ 59 I Don’t Like The Cold, Marie Rosette P. ��������������������������� 60 Self Portrait #2, Yessenia C. ������������������������������������������� 61 My Story, Baojin S. ��������������������������������������������������������� 62 Taking Care Of Myself, Beklech D. ���������������������������������� 64 My History, Yris D. ��������������������������������������������������������� 65 My Story, Marie J. ���������������������������������������������������������� 66 I Want To Reach My Goals, Milcia C. ������������������������������ 67 6 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Right Mind, Reverend Dr. Norma Stewart H. ������������� 68 What I Like About Me, Yohanna P. ��������������������������������� 71 How I See Myself, Fritzlande B. �������������������������������������� 72 Strong Like My Mother, Martina B. ��������������������������������� 72 Like A Leaf In The Fall, Rosa S. ��������������������������������������� 73 My Story, Ana Patricia L. ������������������������������������������������ 74 Powerful Woman, Hinda F. ��������������������������������������������� 76 My Story, Martha F. P. ����������������������������������������������������� 77 My Journey In This Life…So Far, Karen Febo A. �������������� 78 Things I Can Do, Vicentica Veras R. �������������������������������� 80 My Future Is Being A Student, Anie P. ����������������������������� 80 My Story, Margarita R. ��������������������������������������������������� 81 Self Portrait, Yessenia C. ������������������������������������������������ 82 What My Heart Says, Rosa A. ����������������������������������������� 83 I Go To Church, Askale H. ���������������������������������������������� 84 Church, Junie C. ������������������������������������������������������������ 84 I Like Church, Marie V. J. ������������������������������������������������ 85 I Love My Family, I Love My God, Modesta B. ����������������� 86 Favorite Things���������������������������������������������������� 87 All The Things I Like, Nieves M. �������������������������������������� 88 13 Likes, 3 Dislikes, Aura Yolanda R. ������������������������������ 89 What I Like, Adenise C. �������������������������������������������������� 90 About Someone I Love, Renia C. ������������������������������������ 91 Alourde, Alourde D. ������������������������������������������������������� 92 About The Things I Like, Mary P. ������������������������������������ 93 Adam’s Party, Nancy W. �������������������������������������������������� 94 Look At What I Can Do, Marie Jesula D. ������������������������� 96 What Colors Mean To Me, Rafaela G. ���������������������������� 97 My Favorite Things, Hendry Placencio V. ������������������������� 98 7 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Likes And Dislikes, Estuania L. ���������������������������������� 99 Rice, Beans, Eggs, Potatoes, Anicia H. �������������������������� 100 Things You Should Know That I Like, Maria M. ���������������� 101 What Makes Me Happy, Maria V. C. ����������������������������� 102 I Like My Music, Merengue, Carmen Rosa Garcia E. ����� 103 What I Like, Julia M. ����������������������������������������������������� 104 Hopes and Dreams��������������������������������������������� 105 My Wishes, Carmen T. ������������������������������������������������� 106 I Wish I was a Superstar, Marie Ange D. ����������������������� 106 I Celebrate Me, Fredesvinda C. ������������������������������������� 107 At My Party, Habibo I. �������������������������������������������������� 108 I Know I Can, Ermite J. ������������������������������������������������� 108 My Future Is To Live In Peace, Gladys A. ����������������������� 109 Yes I Can, Carmen S. ��������������������������������������������������� 110 Celebrating Ourselves!, Nilda N. ����������������������������������� 111 The Story Of The Cheetah And The Rabbit, Stella K. ����� 112

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Miriam’s Story Miriam Omar A. I am happy. I am nice. I am strong. I am not nervous. I am calm. I am funny. I am tired. I am not asleep.

This Is Me, I Am Colorful Maria do C. I am black with white skin. I have black grey hair. I have brown eyes. I am sad sometimes. I am colorful. I am happy.

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My Personality Marie Christianne Dorilus S. I am clever because I can fix my broken glasses, I buy the glue to fix them. I am meditative because I pray. I am sometimes calm, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. I am not always sad because I’m happy when I sing. I am a humble woman because I’m always helping my friends to clean, shop, cook, and take a shower. I am content because I don’t need more. I am okay. I am calm when I’m going to the church. I am not an older woman because I don’t have wrinkles in my face.

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I am Beautiful Kathia V. I am beautiful because my mouth is big and pink and because I am happy. I am beautiful because I go to the park. I like to relax and look at the children and flowers. I am beautiful because I go to the zoo. I like to look at the animals and people. I am beautiful because I have fun with my family and my brother. I am beautiful because I have my mother and father together in the house.

Who I Am Graciete do C. This is me: I am wearing a black pullover, I am dark color, I am wearing scarf grey, I am wearing grey pants, I am calm, I am happy. 12 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Story Ynes N. I am from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is hot. The Dominican Republic is beautiful. It has beautiful beaches. It has the blue ocean and it is always sunny. I like the people because they are nice and I like to go to the beach. I’ve traveled to Santo Domingo and New York, and Miami. I don’t like New York because there are too many people. I love my children and my family. I have four children, two sons and two daughters, and one grandchild. My favorite things are my family, working and going to the gym, I also like to listen to my favorite music, which is meringue. I am passionate about my family and friends. I am powerful when I say what I feel and I hate war.

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I Am Sainte Helene Sainte Helene C. I am sad. I am proud. I am brave. I am not very happy. I am Sainte Helene. I am sick. I am tired. I am not busy.

Who I Am Carmen Ayala R. I am dynamic. I am amiable. I am solitary. I am not an angry person. I like family and love caring for them. I am powerful. I am loveable. I am not very bilingual but hope to be soon.

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My Personality Belaynesh W. I am peaceful when I am with my friends we pray together and I feel happy. I am very relaxed when I am with my family because we talk together about everything that we need. I am meditative when I am at school because I am getting more knowledge. I don’t feel good because when I walk quickly I feel bad pain in my side. I am smart because I help myself. I am gentle because I read the bible. I am good when I read a book. I learn new things.

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I Am Clean Marie Magalie D. I am clean. I am a good worker. I am a student. I am not married. I am good. I am tired. I am hungry. I am not cold.

My Personality Salimatou B. I am calm on the bus. I am calm at home. I am not calm in the snow. I am a cook at home. I am a very very fantastic cook. I am a hard working student. I am not lazy. 16 | Celbrating Ourselves

Why I Am Beautiful Nan Z. I am beautiful because I like to cook dumplings and pies for my husband and my friends. I often learn recipes from the internet and provide delicious food my family. I am beautiful because I always help elderly people and the disabled because I love them just like my family. I like to talk to them and give them suggestions on ways to stay healthy. I am beautiful because I care about my very good daughter-in-law. We always give gifts to each other over the holidays. So, I feel blissful when our family gets together. I am beautiful because I am not upset over anything. I enjoy my life. I am thankful in my life. Happiness consists of contentment.

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Personality Andree J. I am quiet. I am relaxed. I am Haitian. I am not happy because my son is in Haiti. I am a listener. I am easy because my family is in Haiti. I am gentle. I am not difficult.

I Am Caring Marie Z. I am happy. I am caring. I am nice. I am not angry. I am sad. I am hungry. I am busy. 18 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Personality Nerlande L. I am kind and I like my Jamaican friends. I am calm. When I go to the park in Dorchester I want to sit by myself in peace. I am loving; I love my lovely daughter. I am not extroverted. I am active. I like to run and do exercises on the machines at the gym. I am going to church faithfully with my family every Sunday. I am not excitable but I like to hear good news.

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My Personality Hadiatou B. I am fun because I like to laugh. I am happy when I go to school. I am adventurous with my children. I am not sad because I am healthy. I am feminine because I wear makeup. I am strong because I go to the gym. I love my Country Guinea. I am not shy when I meet new people.

I Am Anita Massena G. I am from Haiti. I have three daughters. My family is very big. I love my daughters. My favorite thing is traveling. I feel powerful when I am writing. I want you to know I don’t like shots.

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My Story Jeanne S. I am from Haiti. I traveled by American Airlines. I love to eat chicken and drink juice. I love to cook. I am passionate about reading and cooking. I hate being inside. I feel powerful when I breast feed. My past is working at the Market Basket in Chelsea. Always I am happy.

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I Celebrate Me Florence E. P. My hair is my glory, it is like freedom, just natural. My hair is black and gray, wisdom is her name. My mouth is voicing the truth of who I am. God’s truth has set me free I celebrate Me. My skin is like cocoa butter, and soft like a baby. My eyes tell the story, they are beautiful and they see everything. My hands are creative, a writer, quilter, yes an artist. My feet are made for walking, where He leads I follow. I celebrate Me. I am happy joyous and free. I am not the victim of incest, rape, alcohol or drugs. I am victorious. I am freedom. I am peaceful. I am brave 22 | Celbrating Ourselves

I am a book. I am courageous. I am my truth. I am a mentor. I celebrate Me. My inside is peaceful. My inside is happy. My inside is respectful, and worthy of all God’s grace. My outside is graciously holding her head up high. My inside and outside is forgiven daily. I celebrate with flow, wolf, and Florence because a second chance has been given. I celebrate Me. Becoming published. Becoming speaker. Becoming celebrating Those becoming. I am a speaker. I am a writer. Yes I am becoming. I have the Victory, Courage, Strength, to be all I am becoming. I celebrate Me.

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On my sixty-fifth birthday in August, also celebrating twenty five years of sobriety. I would like to have a party. My colors would be yellow and turquoise. My guest list would be my 5 sisters,11 brothers, my two daughters, my son, my three grandsons, one granddaughter. Also my friends Lady D, Laverne & Shirley, Victor A., Rebbeca and Julius, hoping for Michelle Obama, Iyanla Vanzant, Queen Latifah, Ms. Liz, Lucy, Katy, Norma, Sheila C, would drop by. Music guest Kenny G, and Alicia Keys. I celebrate Me!!!!!!!

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Celebrating Life Kettly Jean B. I am very happy to celebrate my life because I feel blessed by God. God has created me and has helped me to grow up. I feel that God loves me and that He has given me many good things. He enables me to move my body. I can see, hear, and I have the opportunity to smell different succulents and marvelous fruits. I am grateful that I can do anything I want. I choose a special day in my calendar to celebrate Him in my life. I am also thankful that I can experience the four seasons of winter, fall, spring and summer. I especially like the summertime, as I can meet many kinds of people as there are more people out and about. When I go to bed, I can sleep in peace, knowing that God keeps me safe.

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How I Celebrate Me Marie Roseline A. At my party I will have music and food. I will say thank you because my family is happy. I will listen to Haitian music. The color for my party is black because it never gets dirty. I will take a trip to Haiti. I will go to the beach. I will celebrate me.

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Celebrating Myself Lucy N. Wonderful experience. While I was living in the shelter, I had this great experience. It was about the tote bag that I carried every day for almost two years, from 2012- May 2014. When I moved to the shelter, I realized that I needed a backpack because it was easy for me to carry all my stuff that I needed. My backpack was white and black. I loved it. I felt comfortable with it. It had stripes like a zebra and two zippers. This backpack was my everything at that time. It had everything that I needed inside. It was my house. My backpack had three compartments that helped to keep my things in order. It was very strong and good. I learned a great lesson from being homeless. This new life opened my eyes to see things in a different way. I was thinking that my life was over but all this happened so that I could see the other side of life. Homeless life changed me in so many ways. I started my quiet time. I always prayed. My family and friends were also praying for me too. 28 | Celbrating Ourselves

The Pastor and elders from Anchor Baptist church were coming every Sunday morning to take us to church, rain or snow. They were there. This church cared so much for the homeless people. I started to experience some happiness and I learned how to crochet. Crocheting helped to calm me down. It kept me out of trouble. The long time that I lived in the shelter was not boring. Because I was busy. I stopped crying! In my backpack, I had yarn and needles, all my medications, bus pass, candy or cookies, body lotion, comb, make up, pens and pencils, notebook, toothpaste and brush, underpants, my puzzle book! I carried all my stuff in my backpack. I carried it everywhere I went or sat. I had lockers at the shelters to put my clothes in. The staff respected our bags so much that they advised us to carry our bags at all times. They told us that we are responsible for our bags. Until today I learned to carry my backpack with all my things. I don’t have to ask my friends for anything. This was a very great experience that made me very strong and happy. I loved to share my wonderful experience

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with other people with confidence. When you become homeless your backpack becomes your house. In America homeless people are well protected, and very well taken care of. Thank God for Massachusetts! I will never forget Woods Mullen Shelter. That was my first homeless home. With wonderful and very strong staff! I am beautiful and strong. I love my Rosie’s Place, Rosie’s Place I thank you! I stand tall and pat my shoulders. I am celebrating myself. Rosie’s Place removed me from shame, from darkness to light. I thank God for everything.

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I Like To Celebrate Myself Iphonise H. At my party I will have family, food and music. I like to cook and eat chicken, apples, coffee and chocolate. I will say, “Welcome, my family. Let us be happy, eat good food and listen to music.� I will listen to loud kompa and salsa music so I can dance. The colors for my party are green, blue and purple because they make me feel happy and laugh. I will take a trip to Haiti from Boston for business. I will go to the market for the stores and restaurants. I will celebrate me.

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Celebrating My Womanhood Teresa S. My insides are sometimes peaceful and sometimes rebellious. Because I am rebellious, I had an 80s party. The night of the party I felt distraught because it was freezing and I thought no one would come, but at midnight my house was crowded. My heart was soaring. At my party I was wearing a pink, blue and black dress. My sister and my friends were dressed in the same colors. I felt very stylish. We prepared foods from the 80s. For example, my sister made sweet beans and my daughter prepared gelatin with alcohol for the adults and gelatin without it for the children. I was trying to be sophisticated. I am so focused when I take my English class. I am excited to take my English class and to be part of the book. I get excited when I think about my self-portrait. When I see me in the mirror and I see how my body has been changing every day since I was born. My body is very important to me even though I am so short. I feel thankful to 32 | Celbrating Ourselves

God for my health. My hair is turning gray like an old lady’s. My mouth is big and has many teeth like a crocodile. Sometimes my insides are friendly and confusing. At the same time my heart says you can’t cry today. You have to think more for yourself.

Watercolor (detail) by Mirna A. S.

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Celebrating My Life Meixia Z. When we think about celebrating we often think about a party, but I celebrate my life and how this story has changed my heart. I celebrate I’m still alive even though I suffered from a life-threatening disease, a heart attack. I had a heart attack more than 10 years ago. It happened suddenly. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t speak. Fortunately I was in my apartment and my husband was with me. He called 911, and the ambulance came immediately. It took me to Mass General Hospital (MGH). I had to have a catheter and a stent put into my coronary artery. I would have died, but instead I have a new life. After this life event I thought about why this happened to me. When I came to this new country I didn’t know any English. When I couldn’t understand I got very nervous. This also made me depressed and negative. Maybe my heart attack was caused by stress. I thought I have to change my mind, my attitude, now to stay healthy. I have to learn more English. 34 | Celbrating Ourselves

Now I want to be a positive person. But it is not easy. The Chinese have a wise saying: “To change a river or a mountain is easier than to change the personality.” I asked myself “How can I change my personality?” First of all, I have to make new friends. I have made new friends who help me improve my English and make me happy. We go out to places like the beach in the summertime. They help me practice my English and I help them with tai chi. I teach them about Chinese culture. We have lively communication. My friends make my life delightful. Second, I started attending school to learn English. This makes me very happy. It has been 4 years. I learn­ ed new terminology for medical interpretation. It keeps me busy and I enjoy learning. I also joined a discussion group and we chat about many things. Now I am not afraid to go out because I do not need an interpreter for everything. Also, I’m doing exercise, I walk and climb the hills every day and that makes my heart grow stronger. Meanwhile I changed my diet and eat healthy food such as white meat, vegetables and fruits.

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All of these things have helped me to change my personality. I’m celebrating my life this way which is more important than having a party or getting a gift or an award. My heart is healthy because it is full of joy.

“Snowy Day” by Osazuwa U.

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How I Celebrate Special Occasions Marie Gesmaine S. I celebrate myself on my birthday because I am happy to celebrate my birthday. I like to cook and drink champagne and wine, to put on the nice dress to go to church. My family surprises me in a restaurant. I like to receive gifts. I like to eat cake. I need to serve my family and my friends. I feel happy on my birthday. I’m happy with my husband because I have a big family to celebrate my anniversary. I like my family all around when I celebrate because they make me happy. I love my husband because he loves me too. I love myself because I have a marriage and I have four children. I have a good heart. I am smart. I am a good person. I love my family, and that is something to celebrate.

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I Celebrate Myself Zhixin W. I moved from the suburbs to downtown Boston nine years ago. The city can be good for people who want better transportation and activities. My life has changed a lot. At first, because I did not know English, there were many difficult and inconvenient questions in my life. For example: I took the bus but I didn’t know how to get off the bus. I needed to push the bus signal, a yellow bar, but I didn’t know how and I could not ask the driver for help to stop. I tried to say something but my voice was too soft. As a result, it took me to the wrong station. Then I didn’t know how to go home. I wished someone could speak Mandarin, but no luck! I had to walk all the way home. The worst time was on a weekend, when I had acute gastroenteritis and intestinal spasms. So I went to the Hospital emergency room. The nurse gave me a few tests and told me, I need to wait for a translator. I waited for 5-6 hours without any translator, because I couldn’t describe my

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symptoms of illness. Finally, I decided to go home, because it was midnight, without seeing a doctor or getting any medicine. I live in an apartment for the elderly. I often needed to ask others for help for many things, I always felt that I was disturbing others. And so, I started to study and go to English class. Although I am not young and I do not have good memory, I try to keep learning with the help of many teachers. They are very good, nice and patient, especially in Rosie’s Place where I have been for 3 years. My English has improved and I still have more to learn. When I read and write I understand more. My life has changed. I can ask for directions. I can tell the doctor about my symptoms. Occasionally with my new English I can help other people worse off than me. I also go to study computers. Now my life has more content and I am more confident. I like to go to the parks, museums‌ and I joined the chorus in my building. We sing Chinese and English songs. My life is full and interesting and more joyful. I celebrate myself!

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Better Days — I Celebrate Me Michele B. My Heart says: My heart says trust, everybody is not the enemy. My heart says let go, move is too short. My heart says Love, it makes things more meaningful and optimistic. My heart says don’t “fear” failure, it makes for a better tomorrow. My heart says I am a “Survivor,” whose journey will get through life’s hardships. My heart says Fight because I have weathered so many storms alone. Better days I celebrate ME! My Personality I am aloof at times. I am scared about the future. I am hurt from the past. I am not weak, destroyed, or haunted, but I am me, Better days I Celebrate Me ! I am driven only for myself. I am a survivor of my past. 40 | Celbrating Ourselves

I am lovable, but...Scared of Abandoment. I am not Shallow, cunning, or self-centered. Better days I Celebrate Me! How I Take Care of Myself To take care of myself, I run for isolation from the worlds stupidity, havoc and hardships that one faces. To take care of myself, I encourage, embrace and take long walks, listen to jazz, opera and classical music. To take care of myself, I shut out people and their problems, which make me gloomy and dark to one’s needs. To take care of myself, I hold back from loving. To take care of myself, my heart is guarded from the wrong individuals and skeptical of their intentions, because everyday people come with baggage. Better days I Celebrate Me.

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A Birthday Celebration Encounter Veronika W. When I remember my last birthday party and I imagine how I danced with my special enemy. It looked liked I was queen of the dance floor and the only woman in the Saturday salsa party, at least in my enemy’s eyes. From the first moment I entered to that club and he noticed me, there was no way I would dance salsa or bachata with somebody else. He literally waited for me to finish my dance with some random guy and after he didn’t let me go. He completely forgot all our rules, for example no approaching, no marking territory etc. It was exciting and unusual for him. He was supposed to run the party, his party, being the DJ, moderator, photographer, and boss at least until midnight. Suddenly the music stopped playing on the busiest night of the week when the club was completely crowded. He realized he should manage the other DJ who started work ahead of the usual shift. When he was on the stage, he announced everybody that it was my birthday 42 | Celbrating Ourselves

but he wasn’t planning to give me a birthday dance like everyone else usually gets in the middle of dance floor. That night he didn’t want to share me, he didn’t care about his business for the first time. He cared only about me being happy that night. It wasn’t because I was wearing my sexy black dress which fit perfectly and accentuated every curve of my body. It wasn’t because I had perfect make up on or my hair was fixed up great. Something changed this night and it had never ever been like this before or after. The biggest surprise was still in front of me. Out of nowhere in the middle of the dance he asked me what my plans from Wednesday to Sunday were two weeks later and whether I could be free to join him for a New York trip and what were my plans for Halloween. It was only September so I was absolutely speechless and happy in the same time that he was planning so far ahead. Was he really the same person who was yelling on me during our fight a couple weeks ago that he would never date me and he didn’t want to mix his work with personal life? I don’t think I will ever find the correct answer to that question. I figured out that sometimes it is better not to ask any questions and just live for that moment. Each moment is unique and marks that one moment in time. This night was 43 | Celbrating Ourselves

the night when all my wishes came true as well as the ones I didn’t know I had. For one short night “Mr. Wrong” was Prince Charming. It was the best and most surprising birthday party of my life.

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Celebrating Myself Francisca A. I will have a party in Cape Verde because there it is different than America. America is beautiful and it is the best country because it has opportunities for everyone. If you don’t have a job, there are support systems, like housing, food, clothes, shoes and more. In my country we don’t have stress because we don’t pay rent or a mortgage. However, we pay for electricity and water which is not expensive. I want to go back to my country in two years to visit my family and enjoy the famous festival in August. In Cape Verde, we celebrate New Year’s and Christmas with our families. We make different tropical food, cake, sweets, for example flan. After we finish eating, we go to the party to dance. The party dance is popular for everyone, it’s a lot of fun because we start at 9:00PM and go to 5:00AM. We don’t sleep during this time. When we finish the party, we go home

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and take a shower. We eat breakfast and go to church. After church we go to dance again until midnight. This is our tradition. I will say that my country has healthy fruit, meat, fish, and vegetables. I will go to my hometown, Fogo. This is where my mom and my father currently live to make them happy. I have lived here about ten years, but in this time I went to my country twice. The first time was very sad for me because my nephew passed away. I didn’t feel happy when I saw my family crying. He drowned in the ocean. The second time was in January 2016. But this time was different than 2012. I feel happy enjoying time with my family and friends. Sometimes I went out with my sisters and brother to a party. We listened to music and danced. It was a lot of fun. I took with me a lot of recordings, for example, photos together of me and my mom, me and my father, and all my sisters and brothers, niece, nephew, and my friends. In Cape Verde, we wear special clothes for parties, the dress, jeans, and skirts, for each different party. For shoes we have to match our clothes. I like dress and pants. 47 | Celbrating Ourselves

I Go To Boston From China Xi S. I am from China. China is a large country. It is very beautiful and rich. It has a long history and is an ancient civilized country. It has many big and rich cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai. In China, I’ve traveled to the Ancient Capital of Xian. I visited many places of interest. I went to Zhangjiail. I saw a lot of beautiful scenery there. My hometown is Wuhan. There is a big river. The Yangtze River flows there. I like this city. It is very beautiful. A lot of my friends live there. They are very good. I live in Boston now. I love this city. It is very beautiful. I feel very happy with my family. English is hard. I need to study harder. I am thankful for my teacher!

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Morocco Party Fatiha J. At my party I will have different foods, my friends, my family and a good time. I will say dance sing enjoy the loud music there will many popular instruments, same costumes. We will listen to popular music. I like nice words in singing songs because I am positive and happy in my body and heart. The colors for my party are green and white because they are nice colors and of paradise and life. I will take a trip to my country Morocco because I miss my family especially my sisters, my friends and my neighbors. I will go to relax, change my routine, eat different foods, and especially because I went to visit my sisters, I love my family. I will celebrate myself.

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Remembering Chinese New Years Xiuzhen W. Everywhere in the world, people celebrate New Year’s in their own way. Chinese people follow ancient traditions to celebrate the New Year. When I was a child, it was an important and joyful time. New Year’s was a time of hope and anticipation. Children had great times playing with their siblings. They wore new clothes and played with small fireworks. Parents gave them New Year’s money and they ate all kinds of delicious candy and desserts they weren’t allowed to eat. All the children in the neighborhood played together. There was lots of laughter and joy. Friends and relatives visited each other’s homes to bless the family and wish each other a safe and happy New Year. Nowadays, the Chinese still celebrate this important holiday. In the countryside, people value this holiday more than ever. There are many young people from all over the country who come back to their parents’ for a family 50 | Celbrating Ourselves

reunion. They talk intimately, eat the family’s traditional New Year’s dinner and celebrate. They also together play games, watch TV programs, talk to each other about hometown changes with family. Each family is filled with happiness. I always treasure these memories. Now I live in Boston, but every year I still celebrate the Chinese New Year. In this holiday, I invite my daughter and family, my friends and family together in me home. We cook traditional delicious Chinese food: dumplings and a whole big fish that symbolizes good luck with many vegetables. We play wonderful Chinese and American music and talk about happy things. On New Year’s day, I remember my parents and siblings enjoying the holiday many years ago, how we shared special times my family and friends. We wish each other a safe and happy New Year. I always honor this Chinese traditional reunion New Year.

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My Journey Vilma V. I am from Honduras. I’ve traveled from my country of Honduras to New York City. I love the music, dance and the restaurants in different countries. My favorite things to do is cooking and cleaning. I want my house in Boston and my son to be very good. I am passionate about cleaning and cooking. I hate that my house isn’t as pretty I would like. I feel powerful because I have a very nice family. My past is my friends in my country and my sister who is in Honduras. I love everybody. My future is to work and make my home so that my children have somewhere to live. Always, I am someone who likes to fight for what she wants.

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8 Things I Can Do Julissa B. I can study English. I can work. I can dance salsa. Next year, I will be able to cook soup. I can exercise. I can run. I can eat ice cream. Next year, I will go to the Dominican Republic.

Here’s What I Can Do Flor A. B. I can drive my car. I can dance merengue. I can speak Spanish. Next year, I will speak English perfectly. I can write a little English. I eat hot and delicious food. I can get a job this summer. Next year, I will cook different food. 54 | Celbrating Ourselves

I Want You To Know Khadijo A. I am from Somalia. The weather is warm. Somalia has big farms and animals: cows, goats, and camels, and big cities. I have traveled to Minneapolis. I now live in Boston. My favorite things are baking cookies and drinking tea. My favorite foods are vegetables and fish. I cook them all the time. I feel powerful when I am with my family. I have one nephew who is in the Navy. I want you to know I want to be a teacher and I am passionate about reading books.

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My Story Nataliya K. My hair is blonde like the sun, or a sunflower, or a dandelion. My mouth scarlet like rose. My skin is white and elastic like snow and plasticine. My eyes are dark blue like cornflowers. My hands are soft and strong like velvety silk and a big rope. My body is thin and shapely like young birch.

Me, Myself And I Carmen G. My hair is brown and straight and in a ponytail. My mouth can eat. It is happy. My skin is creamy and fair. My eyes are brown and oval. My hands are soft and my nails are blue and pink. My body is strong. 56 | Celbrating Ourselves

Julia Julia Rosario L. My hair is black and gray, like black pepper and gray metal. My mouth is brown and small, like a chocolate. My skin is brown, like brown sugar. My eyes are brown, like my face and my mouth. My hands are big and they work hard, like my heart. My body is beautiful, like the flowers and trees.

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Self Portrait Angelica C. My hair is big and strong, like a banana and a flower. My mouth is small and red, like a strawberry and candy. My skin is white, like pearl earrings. My eyes are brown and medium. My hands are medium and good, like a hairbrush. My body is medium and good, like an apple, pear or peach.

When I Look In The Mirror Isabel H. My hair black like smoke. My mouth is pink like flowers. My skin is black like coffee. My eyes are black like the night. My hands are soft like a pillow. My body is beautiful like my heart. 58 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Story Ana C. My name is Ana C. I am from Venezuela. I come to Boston two years ago. I am a permanent resident. I have three children and two grandchildren. My family is very big. There are eight sisters and eight brothers. They are in Venezuela. I love my children. They are in Boston. My favorite things are the gym and traveling. I go to the gym three days a week. I like to fly on my vacations. I want to know about different countries. I feel powerful when I understand English. I am learning English at Rosie’s Place. I like the class in English with the teachers Kathy and Mary. They are very good. My past is life as an educator. I love teaching. I worked for thirty years in education. I taught from Kindergarten to High School.

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I Don’t Like The Cold Marie Rosette P. I like coffee with milk. I like bread with butter. I like the color pink. I like boiled eggs. But I don’t like strawberries. I like fish baked on the stove. I like my big family. I like sunny Haiti, it’s not cold. I like red apples. But I don’t like snow. I like TV, I watch weather and sports. I like school, I learn to read. I like my black cat Kim. I like vanilla cake. But I don’t like the cold.

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Self Portrait #2 Yessenia C. My hair is black, yellow and long. Like a strawberry, apple, or a banana. My mouth is small. Like a flower or chocolate. My skin is beige like wood carvings. And soft like cotton. My eyes are brown like coffee. As well as my face and lipstick. My hands are small and good. Like with fingernail polish. My body is medium . Like a pear.

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My Story Baojin S. I am from China. It is a very big country. China is beautiful and rich. It has a long history. It has mountains and water. I am from Hangzhou which is a big city. It has the beautiful Westlake. It has a lot of places of historic interest and scenic beauty. It has a lot of local specialties like longjing green tea, bamboo and silk. I have traveled to Hong Kong for a vacation. It is a busy city, and it is clean. It has a lot of high buildings and large mansions. I go shopping with my friends. I like to see sea view at night. The light flickers. We went to the aquarium. All kids of sea fish are very beautiful. I love my family, my husband and my daughter. My family is happy. My daughter is smart and beautiful. She reads well. She studies at BU now. I am a happy woman. I have a good family. It is very happy and wonderful. I love my family. I love everyone in my family, I love all my friends. I love everyone in the world.

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My favorite thing is swimming. I swim at the Blackstone Community Center. Sometimes I go alone, and sometimes I go swimming with my daughter. I feel powerful when I can learn English at Rosie’s Place and when I speak English and understand English. I want you to know I have improved at Rosie’s Place. I have more understanding, and I can speak better. But I still have to work hard.

watercolor by Maria T. C.

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Taking Care Of Myself Beklech D. To take care of myself, I do not drink alcohol. Â I drink water and juice. To take care of myself, I eat food and I rest on the bed. To take care myself, I am happy and play with my family. I take care of myself. I read a book and I go out to walk.

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My History Yris D. I was born in the Dominican Republic. There I grew up. I was studying to be a teacher and was teaching children for over twenty years. Later I came to the United States. Here I have three children – two daughters and one son. I have eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. I love them. At my age I am studying English. I want to thank my teacher and Rosie’s Place. I feel happy because I can read and write in English. I understand most things in English. I am powerful. Thank you.

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My Story Marie J. My name is Marie Joseph. I am from Haiti. I have seven children and twenty grand-children. My family is six sons and one daughter. I have twenty godchildren, both boys and girls. I love my family because they respect me. My favorite thing is cooking for my family. I feel powerful when I’m with my family. They love me powerfully. I want you to know I love to go to church to pray to God.

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I Want To Reach My Goals Milcia C. I am from the Dominican Republic, we have beaches and rivers. The weather is hot. It is very happy. It is very good. I’ve traveled to New York and Pennsylvania. I love my family. My favorite hobby is sewing and knitting. I want to reach my goals. I am passionate about the summer. I like to walk by the beach. I don’t like the snow. I feel powerful when I achieve my goals, and I am with family. My past is good because I spent time with my sons.

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My Right Mind Reverend Dr. Norma Stewart H. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I know this quote first hand. Once upon a time, I lost my mind. I mean, I went plumb loco and did not find my mind until 5 years later. My sanity started to slip when I started hearing voices. I heard God and his Angels and I also heard Satan and his Demons speaking to me. God would give me directions but I thought that these instructions were too hard to follow. I could not fathom giving up drugs, fornication and swearing! Satan gave me well direction. At the time, the Devil’s plan sounded much easier for me to live by. For example, I could still go to the club and hang out with the bad girls and boys. Gradually, I lost touch with reality. It had gotten to the point where I gave up on life. That life was staying in the house and getting high all day. I accepted the fact that I was going to die that way. I looked and acted like a zombie. I literally felt like the living dead.

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My family prayed intensely for me to come back to my senses. They were afraid for me because I could no longer read and write. I was unable to listen to music and couldn’t bear watching television. I was eventually able to watch 30 minute sitcoms. I would watch, “Martin” every day, over and over again. The news and documentaries were way out of my league. And music brought an unbearable pain in my heart. The depression was over the top. After my soulmate died in my arms, my world came to an abrupt halt. I knew then and there, I had to do something different or I was going to die. I started having suicidal ideologies and I did not know how to live on my own. The mental illness along with my substance abuse was beyond my control to get better by myself. I knew I needed help. That was when I reached out to God for help. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I did not like the way I was living and God was so good, he turned my life around with a 360 degree circle. God started talking to me again. I was giving strict instructions on what to do in order to save my life. I went to a church and told the saints my dilemma. I was homeless and on drugs and desperately needed prayer. The prayers were 69 | Celbrating Ourselves

answered in less than 24 hours. The desire to smoke crack was completely lifted from me. I was seeing a psychiatrist, therapist and several support groups for my mental health and addiction. I was led to Rosie’s Place. And that was when I knew that everything was going to be alright. I was able to connect with other nonprofit organizations, such as Back on My Feet, Union Capital Boston and Dress for Success, just to name a few. It took a village to raise this child! Today, I live in safe, permanent housing and I started my own business. I help women who are under-represented in my community. Through Recovery Coaching and Peer Specialist work, I give others hope. When someone wants to give up, they can look at my story. If I can do it, you can do it. I promise. My pride and joy is being a teacher in the Women’s Education Center at Rosie’s Place. Life is good. If you feel as if you are losing your mind, ask for help! Research has shown that those in Recovery who develop social circles have a much better success rate than those who isolate. Get up, Get out and Get with it. The world needs you in your right mind. Because “a mind is a terrible thing to waste!”

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What I Like About Me Yohanna P. I like my family. I like walking. I like shopping. I like church but I don’t like getting shots. I like my baby. I like money. I like the beach. I like English class but I don’t like pork. I like my teacher. I like coffee with milk. I like sleeping. I like bananas but I don’t like drugs.

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How I See Myself Fritzlande B. My hair is black braids like coffee with smooth cream. My mouth is dark purple like my favorite lipstick. My skin is brown like chocolate ice cream. My eyes are light brown like tea. My hands are big like my father’s hands. My body is small and short like my mother.

Strong Like My Mother Martina B. My name is Martina. I am strong like my mother. I like to dance because it makes me cheerful. I love Rosie’s Place and coming to class because everyone is friendly. I am from the Dominican Republic and I speak Spanish. I miss my family in the Dominican Republic. 72 | Celbrating Ourselves

Like A Leaf In The Fall Rosa S. My hair is brown like my boots. My mouth is pink and small like a flower. My skin is light brown like a leaf in the fall. My eyes are small and black like a black stone. My hands are small like a young child. My body is beautiful like a flower.

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My Story Ana Patricia L. I am from Costa Rica, it is beautiful and it is hot. It is has many animals like lions, crocodiles, monkey and birds. It is has beautiful beaches. The people are nice and it is a good place for vacation. Now I live in Boston, but I have family in Costa Rica. I want to go visit my family. I have two daughters in the Dominican Republic. They are Nayeli and Anaili, Nayeli is nine years old, Anaili is ten years old. I love to travel. I’ve traveled in Panama and the Dominican Republic. I love to learn English and I love my home. My favorite thing is to have my family together. I am passionate about learning English and meeting more people. My other favorite things are my home, dancing, listening to music, going to the park and walking.

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I feel powerful when I am with my boyfriend who loves me and my daughters. I also feel powerful when I am with my friends. Always I am happy.

Drawing by Clara P..

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Powerful Woman Hinda F. I am from Somalia. We have a big river and long beaches. I want to go back to Somalia to visit my parents because they helped me every day when I was a child. My favorite food is vegetables. I hate the rain. I am passionate about my children and my husband. I hate the fall. I am powerful when I cook. I am powerful because I am a beautiful woman. My past is that I cleaned house and walls. In my future I want to visit my mother.

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My Story Martha F. P. I am beautiful because I eat healthy. I am beautiful because I am from the Dominican Republic. I am beautiful because I am petite. I am beautiful because I do exercise every day. My country is beautiful because my country has people with courage. My country is beautiful because it has pretty beaches. My country is beautiful because the people are fun. I love my family. I am a good person and I have two daughters, six grandchildren: four girls and two boys. I love friends. I love to go to church on Sunday. I love to go to school. I love my teacher. I love Rosie’s Place English class. For a long time I was unable to thank Rosie’s Place for helping me. I also thank God. 77 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Journey In This Life…So Far Karen Febo A. In this history I want to tell you about myself. I am a woman, 36 years old. I am from Puerto Rico. I have a son who is 17 years old. The first time I came to the United States I was 11 years old. Then I came back when I was 14 years old to live with my older sister because my family had problems with the addictions of my father. So, I stayed with my sister and went to Lynn English High School. I went there for three years. And I have to say that I didn’t appreciate then what I really needed to grow. So, I was expelled in the 12th grade but I took my GED. What I really liked there is that I met good people. I am friendly because that makes me feel alive. I like to help others because I love when people say thanks and are happy. I love music; it makes me relax. I like all kinds of music. The only point is all the music captures a different moment when I listen. I love to be creative because that is me. I’m also an introvert. I like to be my own leader. It makes me different.

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My son is the reason of my life. When I had my son I was 19 years old, and I remember that day I could have died but God didn’t let that happen. And now I can say I have a smart, amazing and responsible son. I changed my life and made a good man. I started doing the right things. I got out from the streets and started working and I’m showing him how responsible he has to be when he has his own house and family. I want to do something with my life. At one time I lost myself. When I say I lost myself, it was because I didn’t know what I wanted or where I was going. It took me time to come back but I am here and I want to do everything that I have to do for me, for myself. To start, I’m organizing my life. I’ve started working out in the gym to lose weight. I’ve started taking English class. I do volunteer work with my friend and I try to surround myself with positive people. I love to be me. I love myself. I know what I want and where I am going. Life can be hard and unjust, but we are alive so that is enough to say thank God for everything and for another day. It’s never too late to follow your dream. 79 | Celbrating Ourselves

Things I Can Do Vicentica V. R. I can clean my home. I can smile and laugh. I can go to church on Sunday. I love church because I feel in communication with God. Next year I will go to Santo Domingo. I can dance the bachata. I can take the bus. I can sing beautifully. People say it’s very pretty. Next year, I will drive a car.

My Future Is Being A Student Anie P. I am from Haiti. I’ve traveled to New York City. I love to walk. My favorite thing is summertime. I want vegetables to cook. I am passionate about church. I don’t like snow. I feel powerful when I eat at a restaurant. My past is I moved from Haiti to the United States. My future is being a student. Always, I am beautiful. 80 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Story Margarita R. My name is Margarita. I’m from Puerto Rico. I now live in Boston. I’m kind and lovely. I’m a homemaker. I’m a good mother and a good grandmother. I have a beautiful family. I love my family. I’m studying English, and I have a very good teacher. I like spring for the flowers, but I don’t like the snow because it is very dangerous. My favorite things are exercise and watching TV. My favorite foods are soup and vegetables. My favorite colors are green and black. I go to English class on Monday. I go to cooking class on Thursday. At the weekend, I go shopping with my daughter and my grandson. When I am stressed, I listen to music and clean my home. I feel powerful because I have a beautiful family. I feel powerful because I have good health, thanks to God. 81 | Celbrating Ourselves

Self Portrait Yessenia C. My hair is black, yellow and long, Like a strawberry, apple, or a banana. My mouth is small, Like a flower or chocolate. My skin is beige like wood carvings And soft like cotton. My eyes are brown like coffee, As well as my face and lipstick. My hands are small and good, Like with fingernail polish. My body is medium Like a pear.

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What My Heart Says Rosa A. My heart says God is good and I pray in church. My heart says I love my family because they are nice people. My heart says I love my boyfriend because he is very good to me. My heart says I love me because I am a good person. My heart says I am a beautiful person because I help others. My heart says people are my brothers and sisters because God says we are brothers and sisters.

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I Go To Church Askale H. My hair is black and white, like salt and pepper. My mouth is red and small, like a heart. My skin is brown, like Ethiopia. My eyes are wet, like rain. My hands are brown, like my skin. My body is fat, like bread.

Church Junie C. My name is Junie Charles. I am always early for church and school. I like going to church every Sunday. When I go to church everybody prays. I love my teacher.

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I Like Church Marie V. J. I like my church. I like to pray. I like to read my Bible. I like to sing in church. I like to talk to people at church. I like to pray with them. I like God. I like talking with Him.

“Church� by Nerlande L.

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I Love My Family, I Love My God Modesta B. My sister is good at organizing her house. I love her family. I love God. I have three children and two grandchildren. I am powerful when I eat good food like fruits and vegetables. I am powerful from singing in the church. I am powerful because I am a woman from the Dominican Republic. I love my family. I love my God.

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All The Things I Like Nieves M. I like chicken. I like my family. I like French fries. I like rice but I don’t like turkey. I like salad. I like avocado. I like soup. I like vegetables but I don’t like eggs. I like tomatoes. I like mango. I like cruises. I like vacation but I don’t like to dance or cook.

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13 Likes, 3 Dislikes Aura Yolanda R. I like the beach because of the water. I like sleeping too much. I like drinking coffee with milk. I like my church because it is very good, but I don’t like the cold—I like hot or warm weather. I like bananas. I like walking in the park. I like shopping in the mall. I like dancing with my friends, but I don’t like the buses in the Dominican Republic. I like dogs because they are so beautiful. I like cats because they are affectionate. I like my teacher. I like money, but I don’t like chocolate.

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What I Like Adenise C. I like the teachers because they teach me how to write and read in English. I like Rosie’s Place for the English class. I like the people in my class at Rosie’s Place. I like the United States because I can work many jobs and learn English. But I don’t like cooking at home because it may smell bad. I like talking to the people in my class. We teach each other how to speak English. I like to walk in the morning for my exercise because it is quiet and not sunny. I like my church because I love Jesus and can talk with him. I like to speak English with my classmate in the class. But I don’t like to study in evening because I am tired. I like to travel to Haiti. I like going to the market to buy food and fish, rice, and apricots. I like to practice English in the class. I like my city, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am a citizen of the United States. But I don’t like the cold in Boston and snow too!

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About Someone I Love Renia C. The people I love are Pierre, Jul Bert, Jeanny and Marie. I care a lot about all my children. I have four children. They are all grown up and independent. My family is fun. I love my family a lot because they care about me.

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Alourde Alourde D. I like the Catholic Church. I like my family. I like to cook. I like the news on Channel 7. But I don’t like cold wind. I like fresh strawberry. I like salmon. I like squash soup. I like fresh sweet potato. But I don’t like cold snow. I like Haitian music. I like a not too hot summer. I like happy children. I like my teacher. But I don’t like loud noises.

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About The Things I Like Mary P. I like to eat rice. I like to cook. I like to do laundry. I like to go to school at Rosie’s Place. But I don’t like beef . I like to eat. I like to walk. I like to talk. I like my kids. But I don’t like cold. I like my country Sierra Leone Freetown. I like my mother. I like my brother. I like to be happy. But I don’t like snow.

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Adam’s Party Nancy W. My son is 26 years old now. I still remember celebrating my son’s first 30 days. Chinese people celebrating a baby’s first month of life. We invited relatives and friends, more than 30 people came to our house. Before the party, my mother-in-law spent all day cooking. We cooked chicken soup with wine, ginger, dried flowers and mushrooms. We also made chicken, vegetables, noodles, beef with tomatoes, and pork with oyster sauce. We baked a cake, which was round with almonds and other nuts. When the people arrived, they first saw the baby and gave the baby “hong bao,” which is good luck money in a red envelope. When people saw my son, he always smiled at them and they felt hopeful. After they saw the baby, they talked to each other. They talked about the cute baby’s shiny hair, nose, face, ears, forehead. They all noticed how active he was, and talked about what he would do in the future. I thought he was adorable. I was a new mother. I felt the responsibility and I also felt grateful. I was glad to have the support of so many people. After 94 | Celbrating Ourselves

that we all ate together. Some people stayed very late. We were excited because all the people came to celebrate our son.

Drawing by Mercedes P.

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Look At What I Can Do Marie Jesula D. I can dance to Haitian music. I can cook everything for my family. I can clean my house. Next year, I will speak more English even though it is difficult. Right now I speak Creole. I can go to school and read. I can go to the supermarket and get rice and fish and watermelon and carrots. I can go to church on Sunday. Next year, I will visit my son in New York.

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What Colors Mean To Me Rafaela G. Green is a new leaf. Green is a new beginning. Green is hope. Red is passion. Red is happy. Red is blood. Blue is a beautiful sky. Blue is the sea. Blue is jeans. Yellow is bananas. Yellow is happiness. Yellow is the sun. Purple is flowers. Purple is eggplant. Purple is relaxing.

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My Favorite Things Hendry Placencio V. I like studying English because it’s important. I like dancing to disco music when going to a party. I like to read romance books. I am very romantic. I like eating vegetables because it’s healthy food, but I don’t like to cook—I hate cooking. I like going to church with my sister on Sundays. I like snow because my son plays in it. I like going shopping at the end of the month. I like to play in the yard with my ball, but I don’t like the rain because I don’t feel well. I like to watch Netflix movies on TV. I like to sing in the bathroom. I feel relaxed. I like to talk with my mom about the Bible. I like my relationship with my friends in class, but I don’t like to wash the dishes—I prefer to wash the bathroom.

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My Likes And Dislikes Estuania L. I like everything. I like the sun. I like spaghetti. I like rice, but I don’t like snow. I like eggs. I like to cook. I like spinach. I like milk, but I don’t like the cold. I like my family. I like mango. I like avocado. I like broccoli, but I don’t like smelly food.

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Rice, Beans, Eggs, Potatoes Anicia H. I like cooking. I like school. I like chicken. I like rice. But I don’t like carrots and pepper. I like eggs. I like beans. I like potatoes. I like ice cream. But I don’t like mangos and oranges. I like my family. I like my grandson. I like pears. I like my mother. But I don’t like snow.

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Things You Should Know That I Like Maria M. I like dancing in my house. I like running in the morning. I like working at my company but I don’t like big pumpkins. I like the rain. I like the snow outside. I like having cool hands. I like warmth but I don’t like dark colors. I like hearing the wind in my ears. I like snow balls. I like snow in the park. I like broccoli but I don’t like dogs.

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What Makes Me Happy Maria V. C. I like shopping at Macy’s. I like my pizza with chicken and tomatoes. I like salad with avocado. I like banana but I don’t like the cold winter. I like my chicken with potatoes. I like coffee with milk. I like apple pie with ice cream. I like to party and dance to bachata and merengue, but I don’t like chocolate. I like riding my bus. I like mariachi music. I like milk. I like English class but I don’t like pork.

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I Like My Music, Merengue Carmen Rosa Garcia E. I like my family. I like my music, merengue. I like all chocolate. I like casual fashion But I don’t like the wind. I like my boy. I like my flowers. I like cooking soup. I like watermelon. But I don’t like red, green apple. I like sandy beach. I like to dance. I like all family at Christmas. But I don’t like to fight.

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What I Like Julia M. I like cooking and walking in the spring. I like writing poems in Spanish. I like shopping and listening to varied music. I like to watch suspenseful horror movies and romantic movies, but I don’t like heights. I like to swim at the beach. I like to drink coffee in the morning. I like sunny days and walking in the sand barefoot. I like dancing, merengue, bachata and salsa, but I don’t like liars or hypocritical people. I like drinking wine with my husband. I like looking at the stars. I like to plant flowers and water them. I like to look good and wear good perfumes, but I don’t like to step on wet ground, mothers who neglect their children, and people who do not clean their bodies or their houses.

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My Wishes Carmen T. I Wish I can go to Dominican Republic in December. I Wish I can go to the beach. I Wish I can go to hotel in Miami. I Wish I can go to church in Roxbury. I Wish I go see my six sisters. I Wish I go see my five grand-children, Carlos, Ashley, Christian Damyelin, and Noah.

I Wish I was a Superstar Marie Ange D. I wish I was a superstar. I wish I had a chocolate bar. I hope my 4 sons are happy. I wish I was going to Haiti. I wish my mom was here. I hope I have a good healthy life.

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I Celebrate Me Fredesvinda C. At my party I will have my family and friends with bachata music, dancing and beautiful decorations. I will say, “Welcome to my home—let’s party!” I will listen to merengue and salsa and I will dance. The colors for my party are red and white because they make me feel happy and excited. I will take a trip to Canada with my daughter. I will go to the Dominican Republic. I will celebrate me in June.

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At My Party Habibo I. At my party, I will have my special friends and my good family. I will say, “Hello everybody! Welcome! Come eat some delicious food.” I will listen to my holy Quran. I will read while everyone eats the food. The colors for my party are green because I like green. I will take a trip to Kenya, Africa. I will go to Abdi and my mom. I will celebrate me.

I Know I Can Ermite J. I can shower in the morning. I can go to church on Sunday. I can go to school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Next year, I will travel to Haiti. I can pray to God. I can take care of my family. I can sing songs to praise God. Next year, I will go Rosie’s Place for school. 108 | Celbrating Ourselves

My Future Is To Live In Peace Gladys A. I am from the Dominican Republic. I’ve travelled to New York and Pennsylvania to visit my family. My favorite place is Boston. I want to travel the world. I want to go to Italy, England, Switzerland, and Holland, because they are good. I am passionate about music, singing, and going to church. I hate the lack of opportunity from the government. I am always working. I love my family. They make me happy. I feel powerful when my family is healthy. I have four children, two sons and two daughters. I spend time with my family. My future is to live in peace.

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Yes I Can Carmen S. I can visit my family in Haiti. I can travel to Haiti next year. I can play basketball with my brother. Next year, I will party in Haiti because my family will be happy to see me. I can dance with my family. I can go to church with my family. I can party with my family. Next year, I will come to class at Rosie’s Place. I like Rosie’s Place because it helps me. God bless Rosie’s Place.

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Celebrating Ourselves! Nilda N. At my party, I will have cake, food, drinks and my family will come. I will say thank you for coming to my party. I will listen to music. I will dance and I will sing a song. The colors for my party are red, yellow, and green because they are my favorite colors. I will take a trip to New York in a boat. I like the sea. I will go to the Statue of Liberty and I will see beautiful places. I will celebrate myself!

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The Story Of The Cheetah And The Rabbit Stella K. Once upon the time there was a cheetah and rabbit. They were very friendly. They lived together in one house with their wives. One day cheetah and his friend rabbit were sitting together. They decided to build a new house, so each of them could have his own house to live in. The first one was cheetah. He found a good place and he said “Oh, here is a good place where I can settle down with my family without any problems.” So the cheetah decided to come tomorrow to this place to clean up in order be ready to build his house. Then he went home. But cheetah’s friend rabbit was still looking for a new place. Finally, he got to a good place to live. Rabbit said, “Oh, thank you, God. Now I’m happy because I will build my house here. I must be quick and work hard, I must clean this place right now, and I will come back to put the foundation in.” So rabbit cleaned the place and 112 | Celbrating Ourselves

went home. Rabbit didn’t know that he had found the same place that his friend cheetah had. When rabbit arrived at home, he said to his friend “Hi, my friend, I’m coming in. And I already found my place, and cleaned it up.” Cheetah said, “That is great! I also found my place and tomorrow I will go there to clean it. Rabbit said to his friend “Okay, good, my friend. I will rest tomorrow and the day after I will go to my new place to put in the foundation.” The next day when cheetah arrived at his place, he saw that it was already cleaned. Cheetah was confused. He said “I think I have forgotten what I did yesterday. I must have cleaned this place already. So now, I will put in the foundation.” And he did. He said to himself, “I’m tired. Tomorrow I will rest, and I won’t come here.” Then he went home. Rabbit had been resting the day before. So, the next day, he went to the place early in the morning. When he arrived, he was frightened of what he saw. He stood for five minutes thinking about it. After that, he had an idea. He said to himself, “That’s right! The day before yesterday, when I came and cleaned, I also put in the 113 | Celbrating Ourselves

foundation. Now, let’s get started building my house.” He built the walls, the door, and the windows. After that, he was very tired. He said to himself, “Tomorrow I must rest. I will come back after tomorrow.” And he went home. The next day, while rabbit was resting, cheetah came to the place. He saw the house already had walls, a door and windows. Cheetah didn’t understand. He was surprised, but then he said, “Oh! I did a good job the day before yesterday. Now, let me put in the roof and the floor.” He did this and went home. After that day, rabbit came to the place. He was afraid because his house already had a roof and floor. He said, “Maybe, when I came here, I put these in already. Now today I’m going to paint the house many colors to make it pretty. I’m going to rest tomorrow, I will Rosi After this day, cheetah came to the new house. He saw this house already had some nice colors on it and said “It is very pretty!” He was surprised. He said to himself, “Ah, now I am happy! Yesterday when I came here, I finished everything. Now today I will clean it and the after tomorrow I will move my family in.” So he cleaned the house 114 | Celbrating Ourselves

well. After that, he said “Tomorrow, I will go to the store to buy furniture.” After that he went home. The next day, Rabbit came to the house to clean it. He saw that house was already cleaned, and said “It looks very pretty!” He looked for five minutes and wondered “How did the house get so nice?” Then he said to himself, “I’m happy, I did a good job. My house is all ready, now let me quickly go to the store to buy furniture. Tomorrow I must be in a hurry to move my family to the new house.” So he went quickly to the store and bought furniture so that he could move it tomorrow. This day, all of them decided to go to the store on different schedules to buy furniture, and afterwards they are going to move into the now house, on different schedules too. They all moved into the same house. It was a big surprise! Then they began to quarrel. Cheetah asked rabbit, “Why are you come here to my house?” Rabbit answered, “This is my house!” They were both very confused and sat down to settle the matter.

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Each of them explained to the other that he had been building the house thinking that it was his own. However, they then agreed to live together in harmony. Cheetah said “My friend, let us live together like before. I will have one bedroom and so will you. We will share the sitting room, bathroom, and kitchen. This way, things will be peaceful and we will live happily together.�

Print by Clara P..

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Index Writer / Artist Page A

Adenise C. 90 Alourde D. 92 Ana C. 59 Ana Patricia L. 74 Andree J. 18 Angelica C. 58 Anicia H. 100 Anie P. 80 Anita Massena G. 20 Askale H. 84 Aura Yolanda R. 89


Baojin S. 62 Beklech D. 64 Belaynesh W. 15


Carmen Ayala R. 14 Carmen G. 56 Carmen Rosa Garcia E. 103 Carmen S. 110 Carmen T. 106 Clara P. 75, 116


Ermite J. 108 Estuania L. 99


Fatiha J. 49 Flor A. B. 54 117 | Celbrating Ourselves

Index | 117

Writer / Artist Page Florence E. P. 22 Francisca A. 46 Fredesvinda C. 107 Fritzlande B. 72


Gladys A. 109 Graciete do C. 12


Habibo I. 108 Hadiatou B. 20 Hendry Placencio V. 98 Hinda F. 76


Iphonise H. 31 Isabel H. 58


Jeanne S. 21 Julia M. 104 Julia Rosario L. 57 Julissa B. 54 Junie C. 84


Karen Febo A. 78 Kathia V. 12 Kettly Jean B. 26 Khadijo A. 55


Lucy N. 28

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Writer / Artist Page M Margarita R. 81 Maria do C. 10 Maria M. 101 Maria T. C. 63 Maria V. C. 102 Marie Ange D. 106 Marie Christianne Dorilus S. 11 Marie Gesmaine S. 37 Marie J. 66 Marie Jesula D. 96 Marie Magalie D. 16 Marie Roseline A. 27 Marie Rosette P. 60 Marie V. J. 85 Marie Z. 18 Martha F. P. 77 Martina B. 72 Mary P. 93 Meixia Z. 34 Mercedes P. 95 Michele B. 40 Milcia C. 67 Miriam Omar A. 10 Mirna A. S. 33 Modesta B. 86


Nancy W. 94 Nan Z. 17 Nataliya K. 56 Nerlande L. 19, 85 Nieves M. 88 Nilda N. 111 Norma Stewart H., Reverend Dr. 68 119 | Celbrating Ourselves

Index | 119

Writer / Artist Page O

Osazuwa U. 36


Rafaela G. 97 Renia C. 91 Rosa A. 83 Rosa S. 73


Sainte Helene C. 14 Salimatou B. 16 Stella K. 112


Teresa S. 32


Veronika W. 42 Vicentica V. R. 80 Vilma V. 52


Xi S. 48 Xiuzhen W. 50


Yessenia C. 61, 82 Ynes N. 13 Yohanna P. 71 Yris D. 65


Zhixin W. 38

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Founded in 1974 as the first women-only shelter in the country, Rosie’s Place provides a safe and nurturing environment to help poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. More than four decades after our founding, Rosie’s Place not only provides meals and shelter but also creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing and education services. We are grateful to our staff, volunteers, and donors, who work together to offer our guests the unconditional love, respect and caring that can change their lives.

889 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118 617.442.9322

Celebrating Ourselves 2018  

Compilation of writing from guests who attended the Writing Cafe in the winter.

Celebrating Ourselves 2018  

Compilation of writing from guests who attended the Writing Cafe in the winter.