• Kreyolicious

Claudeen Pierre of Mangoes and Lemonade: The Interview

The most bitter lemons can make the tastiest lemonades; and mangoes, can make the most delicious smoothies with the right handling. Claudeen Pierre makes a tasty smoothie out of everything Haitian through her organization Mangoes and Lemonade.

The name is intriguing to say the least and upon hearing the name for the first time, some wonder what the organization behind it might be all about. A food company, perhaps? A micro-funding initiative for street vendors? Not even close. Rather, it is an informational resource center about things related to Haiti. Mangoes and Lemonade’s mission is simple indeed. It shares vital information about Haiti and the Haitian community, with a concentration on positive energy and good news. Ahem. Pierre makes sure that all the interesting articles and resources that she and her team come across are immediately posted on the site and shared on social networks. Pierre is extremely pleased at the way users have responded to the site.

She happily discussed M&L with Kreyolicious.

Mangoes and Lemonade is an interesting name for an organization? How did it get started?  Mangoes and Lemonade started out as an idea that just came to me one night and I went with it. I put the idea down on paper, designed a banner for the site, and had it up and running the next day. I launched the site on Friday, November 12, 2010, exactly two months before the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. I strongly believe in a better future for Haiti, and I felt that this was a suitable way for me to personally give back and honor those who lost their lives.

How did the name originate?  Widely regarded as a symbol of prosperity and achievement, Mangoes was a perfect way to represent the positive aspects of the country. Mangoes are a great source of nutrition and income for many Haitian people. I personally love them and think Haiti has the best mangoes in the world! Second, it is often said that, “When life give us lemons, we should make lemonade.” While thinking about Haiti, this quote often comes to mind. Haitian people always manage to make the best of their situation, despite the many challenges they face. Together, Mangoes and Lemonade make for a great combination with a powerful meaning! That’s the story of how it originated.

What is it about your background that has helped Mangoes and Lemonade along?  Design. Culture. Passion. As a designer, my personal passion for creating and developing ideas has helped with establishing a graphic identity for Mangoes & Lemonade and it allows me to work at my own pace. Both of my parents come from Haiti, so my connection to the culture is evident and has become more prevalent in my adulthood. I genuinely desire to see positive change in the lives of those less fortunate. So the effort I put forth to grow and maintain M & L comes naturally. It’s a labor of love.

How can those willing, help your mission?  The best way to help is by emailing us information to post on the site. We don’t post everything that we receive but it helps a lot when organizations and companies send us information about their upcoming events, ongoing initiatives, volunteer opportunities and so on; because it save us time from researching and finding all this information on our own. Second, we also welcome the contribution of writers and web developers who share our vision and want to be a part of Team Mangoes and Lemonade.

At which point, will you feel that all your goals and objectives for your work in Haiti have been achieved? Never! I hope that there will always be positive information to share about Haiti.