Foye Maryam & Khumra Foy.JPG
Maryam shows Khumra a picture of her brother because they look so much alike.

Maryam shows Khumra a picture of her brother because they look so much alike.

Maryam Foye & Khumra Foy

Washington, DC

During my interview with Maryam at The Den, a reading room and artist exchange she started, Khumra walked in to browse the shop.  Soon he joined the interview, not knowing us both.  When I asked him to say his name to test microphone levels, this happened...

My name is Khumra Aungkh Foy. 

Did you say Foy? I’m Foy. 

Your last name’s Foy? 



F-O-Y-E or F-O-Y?  

Just F-O-Y.

Ah, Where are you from?

My father is from New Orleans,

Oh my god!

Wow, this is crazy. 

Do you know about the Foys?  Foy is a Haitian name that originates in  areas of Senegal which still have active tribes under Foy, F-O-Y-E.   Many of the Foy men were generals in *Toussaint’s army.  And most were either brought to Haiti or ended in Brazil.  So you have these poor people who knew that they shouldn't be slaves, right? So they are going to revolt, they're going to rebel, they're going to fight, right?  I can't imagine that we're not related.

Wow.  No, that's amazing. I'm really glad I came in here. I'm really glad I walked in here.

*Toussaint L'Overture was a famous leader in the Haitian revolution, a revolt by people enslaved by French colonizers, which led to the end of enslavement and the founding of Haiti as a republic.

On my 21st birthday, one of my father's elderly friends, she came up to me and she was like, “Do you know what you were in your past life?”  And I started looking at her and, you know, kind of weird like, “Why would I know that?”  She was like, “You were a general, and the way you died is because before you went to battle you went to talk to the elders for guidance and the oracles on how you should fight.”  And I ignored them.  So I told my father that and he started laughing.  He was like, “Yeah, I've known this since you were born.  And he was like, 'Your destiny, basically, here is to just listen to the elders and, you know, whatever wisdom you received from anybody, listen to it and stop trying to do things by yourself and ignore it."  So when you just said general, it just rung a lot of bells and yeah.  It's kind of scary (laughter).

It’s been about five years now.  My life started changing for the better.  Really started growing up spiritually.  Listening, and just being aware and pay attention, and don’t think things are coincidence.  Actually things are planned out to happen.

That’s real.

I’ve really learned to stop thinking things are a coincidence.