So it’s 2017, and I’m approaching two years working here in Port au Prince. One of the things I’ve always loved about this city is the views from the mountains out over the plain which is the core of the city; also, the views of the mountains, from when you’re on a rooftop in the city. This post is lots of individual shots I’ve taken over the past couple months – walking to work on a weekend morning, hanging out on the terrace of the Olofson Hotel, which is the grand old victorian-style institution in the heart of old town where it’s fun to have a relaxed breakfast every now and then. The earthquake affected the city itself — heart of town, where Olofson is — more than most of the other parts of town, and afterwards many businesses, NGO’s and other offices moved higher up into Petion-Ville and surrounding areas. Slowly the old city is rebuilding, and that’s great because more of the beautiful old houses are there, and that’s where the city’s historic core is — see some of my earlier posts , such as the about numbers in Haiti, with a few photos of the monuments to the first constitution and some of the early heroes of Haitian independence. (For example, https://somuchworldsolittletime.com/2016/10/09/41-26-23-and-other-numbers-from-haitis-history/)
It’s been a busy several weeks here at smw, slt — busy enough that I’ve barely brought out the camera lately. I did manage a long-delayed walk around our neighborhood last weekend with the intention to collect many shots of the plethora of campaign posters, signs and graffiti which have proliferated in recent weeks as the country prepares for the biggest day of voting in, I think, its history: on the 25th of October there will a chance to vote for all three levels of government (president, legislature, and municipal posts all in one day). In the past, I believe these different levels have usually been elected in different years. Before then, I’m sure I’ll put a large collage of electoral miscellany up here, but for the moment I’m missing a few things I’d like to find, photograph, and add before I post for my much-appreciated, loyal and lovely readers. As it is, I’ll give you a wee appetizer of a sort – in the photo above you will see some posters if you look a bit, and in one of the other shots they’re there but you have to look harder to see them. 🙂 Hope you enjoy these little snaps ’til the larger selection’s ready.
Arcahaie is a small city on the coast north of PaP, and the first place outside metropolitan PaP that I’ve been so far. This was a work trip, with the team to visit some of the locations where we’ve been supporting oral rehydration points for cholera patients (creating a spot where very sick people can get rehydrated fast, after traveling often quite long distances from even further into the hills you see here on bumpy roads by foot, motorcycle or animal of some sort). The idea is for the staff of these points to get patients well enough to be out of danger and then transfer them to a facility with full care until they’re really well. Anyhoo, though, since this is a personal not a work blog, and since this was the first view I got of those many mountains beyond mountains for which Haiti’s become so well known by so many who’ve never been here, I took my camera and made some photos. And yes, the hills are as sadly deforested as I’ve read…and yes, it was as hot as it looks. (It was brutal.) Still and all, great to get out and about, and the local neighbors we ran into were friendly and interested. One of the kids above took a few selfies and enjoyed looking in the screen after. The shot below, and two in the gallery of circles further down, are the only ones in this set from Port au Prince rather than Arcahaie: if you enlarge the shot below, and look closely, you’ll see that there’s a city below and behind the trees & the lovely red flame tree. I drive past this every day on my way to work — that’s the main part of the city of PaP as seen from Montagne Noir which lies directly to the south. I waited and waited and waited for a clearer day, but it’s been hazy and humid most of the time and I worried we’d lose the bright color of the flame tree which makes it so beautiful. Further down are a close up, and a bigger shot, of plants growing from one of the stone retaining & protective walls which surround so many compounds around Montagne Noir.
smw, slt is based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a while. I’ve been busy meeting new colleagues and partners, and probably won’t post much until I’ve settled down more. However I know a few friends back home wanted at least a view or two of me in my new home-for-a-time. Also, this second weekend here is a long weekend and so I’ve had some time to walk around at least a bit, and although the clouds have built and mugginess makes these views less spectacular than they’d otherwise be, I did catch a few views of the city of P-a-P spread along the plain. Also, the kids of some colleagues discovered a nest of baby tarantulas when they went to get some Malay (or Mountain) apples off the tree in the yard…and though I showed up too late to see the several dozen babies surging up out of the nest, I did snap this shot of a colleague holding two of them in plastic…
Today is jour du drapeau in Haiti, honoring the emblematic moment when Jean-Jacques Dessalines removed the white stripe from the flag of France in 1804 to acknowledge the creation of this new nation whose slave inhabitants had freed themselves from deadly forced labor in the sugar-cane plantations of the most lucrative colony (thanks to all that unpaid, forced labor, don’t ya know) of Europe’s mightiest nation at the time, then removed the remaining whites on the island as well as the white on their new flag. Anyone who hasn’t read up on Haiti’s history will find it well worth studying. And if you’re curious what we’re doing here, check out this from the 2013 annual report (I’d assume 2014’s will be out soon, but I’m only just back on the job and forget the timing of these things): http://www.msf.org/international-activity-report-2013-haiti. In the meantime, peace :-).