“Yokesta”, a children’s story based on the history of Haiti

Jose Rikama Charles publishes his first children’s story on May 18th “Yokesta” is inspired by the story of the first inhabitants of the island of Haiti. This captivating story takes the youngest to the time of the Taïnos to relive the journey of a beautiful Taino named Yokesta, who through her courage and determination was able to help the prince save her people. The National met the author. Maintenance…..

Le National: Can you introduce yourself to the readers of Le National newspaper?

Jose Rikama Charles: I answer the name of Jose Rikama Charles, better known as Tarah Charles. I am a computer technician, graphic designer, web designer, storyteller.

Born on July 2, 1995, I am the only girl in a family of five children. Since my childhood I have been passionate about art. I listened to music religiously and launched into writing with passion. For my leisure time pleasure, I wrote stories and song lyrics. For me it is always an exciting adventure.

Then I like working with children. I teach computer science in elementary school. When I was young, I started a kids’ club. The goal of this club is to help children express themselves and show their talents. Today this club bears the name of Yokesta which is the title of my next book.

LN: What led you to write?

JKC: As a teenager, and being the only child in the family, I didn’t have many friends. To distract myself, I enjoyed reading or watching comics. And, in the evening to fall asleep, I created my stories by imagining scenes from books or from these comics. And one day I got the idea of ​​creating these stories on white sheets so as not to forget them. And the desire to write has taken me since childhood and the green years of my adolescence.

LN: Tell us about your book, which is a children’s story?

JKC: Yokesta is the story of a beautiful young Taïno orphan. She was about to be adopted by Butios who were considered religious lords and priests and who were respected within the village. At that time, it was war between the Guarada and foreign countries. Defeated by the invaders, the prince of this people was forced to flee; unable to continue his journey, he passed out near Lake Innana which was near the village of Yokesta. So Yokesta and the Butio decided to come to his aid by healing him.

In light of all these events, Yokesta and the prince fell in love with each other until fate fought hard to separate them. In his new adventures, Yokesta decided to accompany the prince in the search for him to free the people of him. Despite the concerns of those close to her not to leave, she was motivated and determined; because she believed in victory. So it was that, thanks to her courage, she was able to help the prince to free her people.

LN: Why such a book?

JKC: As a child, I was lulled by comic book stories like: Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, etc. I wanted to write children’s literature inspired and based on Haitian history. My biggest dream is to see them in comics on the big screens. I believe that thanks to these stories our children could learn more about our values ​​and our ancestral origins, about the past of our country. It is also a way to help them read Creole and help them learn more about the history of the Taïnos considered the first inhabitants of the island of Haiti and to draw inspiration from them.

LN: Can the youngest learn from this story?

JKC: Today, looking at what is happening in our country, we see that young people tend to forget the notions of courage, kindness and hospitality. Through this book, they will be able to learn and re-cultivate these values ​​thanks to the Taino lifestyle that we have taken the time to explain well in this book. Even our girls will be able to draw inspiration from Yokesta’s courage. So they will know as girls that they can also become a heroine and overcome all obstacles. Nothing is impossible for those who believe. Yokesta believed she could help the prince save people, despite the obstacles she faced, she really managed to help them free them as she had foreseen.

LN: Who are your favorite authors and tell us why?

JKC: Odette Roy Fombrun and Marlene Etienne

They like to write stories that also reflect our values. Our children can recognize and identify with the characters that these two successful authors portray in their stories.

LN: Do you have any other writing projects?

JKC: Keep writing more stories based on the same main character (Yokesta). But, for this dream to become a reality, this great first must be a success with the young.

The National: one final word

José Rikama Charles: First of all, I thank Le National for this article. I look forward to the readers on May 18th, I hope they will be satisfied, because my goal is to ensure that in the days to come, like Kirikou, a comic that translates African values ​​that Africans are very proud of, Yokesta also becomes our Haitian proud compatriots.

Finally, I invite people to follow us on social networks like Facebook and Instagram by typing Yokesta.

Interview by:

Schultz Laurent Junior

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