Saturday, February 8, 2014

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: collision of ideals and aid has yoked progress

Nearly four years after the earthquake that eviscerated their city, Jimmy Alex, a chauffeur, and Magalie Noel, a schoolteacher, personify Haiti's capacity for resilient hope and determined rebuilding amid the ruins that remain on their doorstep.

At either end of the social spectrum, Jimmy and Magalie's response to the 7.0-magnitude quake that struck in the early hours of 12 January 2010 was identical. Both their houses fell down, so they simply moved their families out into the front yard. With more spare cash than Jimmy, Magalie quickly built a tiny structure near the rubble of her home.

Jimmy stoically lived in a tent for 15 months, then scraped together $1,500 (£917) to build the single room he shares with his wife and two children. "I received no help from the government or anyone, so I just have to carry on building on my own, whenever I have cash," he says. For Magalie, the money saved by leaving the rubble intact was worth more than the psychological benefit of its removal. "It's true I don't like seeing my destroyed home everyday, but at least I'm solvent," she says.

No comments:

Post a Comment