Family, friends, supporters and well-wishers feted Haitian national and Flatbush, Brooklyn resident Carida Sanon with a gala centennial celebration Friday night at El Caribe Country Club Caterers on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn.
About 200 celebrants – primarily Haitian nationals in Flatbush – toasted the 100-year-old birthday girl, all decked out in an elaborate outfit, recalling her tenacity in raising nine children, and others in the village, almost singlehandedly, after her husband expired.
“Nothing is too much for Carida to do for her children,” Issa Auguste, Carida’s daughter, told the ceremony. “This is the kind of mother she is.
“My mother takes care of everyone around us,” she added. “When my mother is cooking, she cooks for everyone. She always has a smile on her face.”
Kevintz Merisier, 33, Carida’s first grand-child, described his grandmother as “a very strong woman.”
“She raised all her kids by herself,” he said. “I was a handful. I have 67 more years to go.”
Ms. Sanon was honored with citations from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblywoman Rodeyse Bichotte, the Haitian-American representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.
Debbie Pierre, Ms. Sanon’s last grandchild, read Adams’s, while Rebeca Lafond, Bichotte’s director of constituent and support services, read her boss’s.
According to Stephanie Pierre, Ms. Sanon’s granddaughter and organizer of the gala, Sanon was born in Bon Repos, Haiti on Tuesday, Jul.1, 1919, at 6:00 p.m., to Félicité Valembrun and Aurélien Sanon.
“Carida, the youngest of her four siblings, was noted for her remarkable strength and resilience at a very young age, and home-schooled by her mother to avoid the brutality of the school system at the time,” Pierre said.
“To assist her family in making ends meet, Carida became a vendor in a local marketplace, selling everything from charcoal to fresh vegetables, while remaining resilient in the face of economic and personal adversity,” she added.
Pierre said it was at that time that her grandmother “met and fell in love with her only life partner, Pierre Cedan Auguste, and his daughter, Marthe.”
“Carida has always considered Marthe to be her first child and raised her from the moment they met until Marthe started a family of her own,” Pierre said.
She said Carida and Cedan Auguste “went on to build a beautiful life together and had eight other children: (in order) Romaine, Amony, Clovis, Issa, Fritzner, Faviel, Yvrose, and Sancionne until his untimely passing after the birth of their last daughter.”
Pierre said Ms. Sanon migrated to the United States in 1983, adding that, since then, “the fruits of her labor have blossomed.”
“Carida’s legacy of love, strength and resilience has since been extended and sustained several generations through her 28 grandchildren and over 40 great grandchildren.”
Ronald Merisier serenaded Ms. Sanon, while his son, Roldan, 13, backed him up on keyboard.
The gala celebration – which comprised a five-course, waiter-style dinner, with Zouk and other Haitian, Caribbean and American musical genres – was emceed by Haitian American comedian Haitian V.