Sunday, July 3, 2011

Life in Haiti: Housing, Food, Electricity

What is Life in Haiti Like?

One of my friends who I worked with a few summers ago asked me about things in Haiti. Some of the specifics that he wanted to know about included housing, food, electricity, water, and gas services. He basically wanted a better understanding of what it is really like in Haiti…
In the city
These first two images of a mountain side in Port-au-Prince really helped me to understand the amount of lives that were lost.  These houses were not earthquake proof to begin with and are crammed together so tightly that it is little surprise that so many tent cities appeared, where parks had once been, the night of the quakes.
One of the smallest tent cities.
We spent one afternoon driving around Port-au-Prince to see the destruction from the earthquake. The few traffic lights were ran by solar power. There were restaurants and business that had facilities (not sure if it was gas or solar, my guess is both).  There were power lines in the city (of 2 million people). With the exception of businesses, most of what we saw in Port-au-Prince was pretty sad. This was the part of the week that was the most shocking to me. Driving through Port-au-Prince was the one thing to me that set Haiti apart from other poverty stricken areas.

A house in a tent city.
Not much seems to have changed. The tent cities from the night of the quakes are still full and appear to be some of the best homes in the area.  The tent cities that have the red and blue tops were set up by foreign aide (I think this one was the Red Cross, though I am not sure) The government is still keeping foreign aide (supplies and money) for themselves and many people are living in rubble and trash. I saw several people just going to the bathroom up against walls along the street. I would assume that there are some bathrooms and I just never had an opportunity to see them.

Images of city life
The ladders lead to ledges where people live/sleep
 An image of a tent city in one of the parks.

Trash is swept into piles and burned.  Families can pay to have trash picked up, but it is not a priority for many.

We were driving though the town and had to go to the bathroom. The restroom I used was in a house that was being used a store as well. It was pretty “normal.”

Our hotel in the city of Croix-des-Bouquets had electricity  (I didn't get any great photographs of our hotel). There were several large solar panels on the roof. We were pretty spoiled at Vila Mimica. We could even purchase AC for $30 a night.

Most of what we saw was driving from the town of Croix-des-Bouquets and going east to the village of Thomazeau. This drive was pretty rural. There were water pumps every three to six houses. I did not notice power lines. The majority of the houses were concrete and/or brick (picture) with a tarp for at least one wall.  Some roads were great some were not so great.  Once we got closer to the village the roads turned to dirt.
The road to Thomazazeau
See some of my artwork in response to this trip on my art blog, Felicia Follum Art + Design.
In the Country
I didn’t see many power lines in this area (though I think that most of the electricity is solar powered). There were about 100 families in the community and a few other buildings, mostly churches and temples. Thomazeau’s community center, currently the school, is solar powered. I did not see any other power lines, though I was not looking. The new school building does not have electricity yet but it does have a bathroom. I believe the water was controlled by gravity. The bathroom we used was a toilet placed over a hole in the ground. To flush you would carry a bucket of water from the pump and pour it in the bowl.

I am not sure if there were public bathrooms or where they were. The houses were small and I find it hard to believe there were working toilets in, though it is possible. This community bathed in the creek/spring water and drank from water pumps. The family that I was the closest to had a small fire one night to cook. Though I could not tell what they were burning.

The community center is cut off and the building farthest to the left.  The new school building is behind that with the blue roof. The rest are houses.

Kids swimming and bathing.  You would often see adults in these rivers soaped up and bathing as well.

Houses and animals.

Houses.  The blue structure may be a tomb.

The kids wanted me to take the picture of the water pump.

No comments:

Post a Comment