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Haitian man comes to Utah for college

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Years ago, a 10-year-old boy saw the movie "Superman" and wanted to be like the superhero he saw on the screen.

After he got home from the movie, he found an old pink shirt that he fashioned into a cape and proceeded to leap off the roof of his house, knowing full well that he could fly.

The result was a long, deep cut between his eyes that required dozens of stitches to close.

That boy is now a 27-year-old man named Daniel Delva, who couldn't stop smiling after picking up the last thing holding him back from his boyhood dream of coming to America and going to college. On Tuesday, his student visa was delivered to him in Port-au-Prince, as scheduled, and was now clutched tightly in his hands.

"This is worth more than a million dollars to me," Delva said. "This is the day that I know for sure that I'm going to America."

Despite his large smile, Delva worried about a few things, too:

"What do American kids wear to school?"

"How do you ask a girl on a date?"

"Can I get a laptop?"

"Can I get a part-time job while going to school?"

Friends and family members still find it unbelievable that Delva is leaving for the U.S. After living in poverty his whole life and surviving a catastrophic earthquake, he feels greatly blessed and quickly acknowledges the efforts of a few Americans who have given him the funding to attend Weber State University in Ogden. He was scheduled to arrive in Utah late Wednesday.

"This is the greatest of God's mercy," said his aunt Clairemelia Delva. "I'll be praying for him."

It only took a single duffel bag for Delva to pack all of his belongings before boarding an American Airlines flight to start his new life. Airport security confiscated a few liquid items, and one security guard laughingly asked if he would ever come back to Haiti.

Several years ago, Delva heard a speech that he would never forget. The speaker said that when coal is compressed by extreme pressure and high temperatures, it can turn into diamonds.

"I want to be a brilliant diamond," Delva said, smiling. "This is a big step toward that goal."

Delva is finally flying, and the brilliance he seeks — he's had all along.

e-mail: jallred@desnews.com