Ernst Servil: From Haiti to America

Photo credit: Elizabeth Reid

Photo credit: Elizabeth Reid

Photo credit: Elizabeth Reid
Photo credit: Elizabeth Reid

By Randee May, Staff Writer

It’s easy to overlook the small things in life when one seemingly has it all, but for Ernst Louis Daniel Servil, a Molecular and Cell Biology major at Armstrong, the little things have the greatest impact.

Servil comes from Haiti, currently one of the poorest countries in the world.

He comes from a family of four, being the third child of his Haitian family.

“In Haiti, all of the houses are made from cement instead of wood,” Servil said. “The houses are not flexible. They are concrete.”

This structural norm attributed to many deaths during the massive earthquake in 2010.

While Haiti may have its struggles economically, it is very rich in culture.

“The Haitian culture is a mixture of French, African, and Caribbean,” Servil said. “This is what makes it beautiful and interesting. Anyone can fit in.”

When asked why he decided to come to the United States, Servil responded, “Haiti is very poor. The poverty comes from a lot of different things. After Haiti gained its independence, the country had to work for many decades to pay for its independence. This has left a big hole in the economy.”

“So between natural disasters, the debt of independence, and the lack of vision of the government, it has made the country poorer every day. I chose to come here to have a better education, a brighter future, and to enlarge my culture.”

Servil hopes that one day he can use the knowledge he has gained through his studies to help rebuild his country.

The first steps that he has taken to gain that knowledge is coming here to the United States and studying at Armstrong.

Servil’s reason for attending Armstrong came after he met an American family in Haiti.

“Just the name is fascinating. I was happy about coming because Armstrong and Savannah have a large popularity of international education. Also, I met a family in Haiti who live in Savannah and their kids had been to Armstrong. It was their first choice.”

Moving from Haiti to the United States was quite a culture shock.

Along with moving in with his new American family, which already had two children, he also had to learn English.

“Learning English is like teaching a dog new tricks. The most difficult part was the accent,”Servil said. “Everyone has a different accent that makes it hard to pick up words. The pronunciation was not easy. The sounds are weird. It is all about how well you can move your tongue. In Haitian language, all the sounds are mostly in the throat.”

That didn’t stop him from learning the language in two years.

Servil has managed to keep his head high through it all.

“My inspiration comes from the burdens I have carried for so many years. I just do not want to go back to it again. I understand that great things never come from comfort zones. I think I am closer to my final destination than where I came from. I just have to keep up the good work if I want to move forward. And also, so many people have very high expectations of me. I cannot disappoint them.”

While Servil has come a long way, he is just like every other student at Armstrong. He has hopes and dreams and goals, and of course a myriad of friends to help him along the way.

He is also a part of many clubs, including an international student organization. Here, he has met people from all over the world with all kinds of dreams and purposes like him. “It is so pretty when all those diversities mix as one. Each of us can learn from the others.” Servil also plays soccer, does French tutoring, writes journals, reads soccer magazines, and watches political YouTube videos.

With regards to hopes for the future, “I want to go medical school. I want to do things that everyone can benefit from.” Servil said, “I do not want to just get a job to make money, but to serve and be an active member of my community.”