...many Haitians in the contemporary United States perceive themselves to be living nan djaspora, ‘in the diaspora,’ defined against Haiti as an essential location of its own, regardless of whether they live in Miami, Montreal, Paris, or Senegal. Haiti itself is real, tangible, and, in fact, often a place of partial residence. From local points ‘in the diaspora,’ Haitians live transnational lives. That is, they live embedded in international networks, sustaining social relations that link their societies of origin with their new settlement (Basch et al. 1994). Haitian transmigrants typically work jobs in New York to support homes in Haiti, keeping their children in Haitian schools until they are young teens. They return to Haiti during periods of illness or unemployment; for vacations; for important family events like baptisms, marriages, or funerals; and sometimes for national celebrations like the inauguration of a president, the yearly Carnival or Rara, or the pilgrimage to Sodo for Fèt Vièj Mirak. After decades in the United States, the elderly may return to spend their last years at home. Family roles shift between the two countries, so that children come of age and migrate north, and old folks retire and return southward to home. Both opportunity and tragedy can be the occasion to janbe dlo, or ‘cross over the water.’
— Elizabeth McAlister (excerpt from the chapter "The Madonna of 115th Revisited" in Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration by R. Stephen Warner, Judith G. Wittner)