August 10, 2010
At a tent city in Fort Mercredi in Carrefours Feuilles, rainwater pools on the dirt ground and leaks through the woven plastic tarps.
Coming up on the end of my 6-week reporting trip to Haiti, I’m trying to figure out how to come back and how to keep this site alive. It can’t work if I’m out gathering information, even worse if I have infrequent Internet access. That was to be the topic of this post but then, last night, it rained. Rain should be the most blessed thing in a land where sweat beads three minutes after stepping out of the shower. It ain’t.
One morning after a hard rain a couple of weeks ago, I emailed one of my sources in Tapis Rouge (not the same camp shown in these pictures) asking her to explain what it’s like to live in a tent while it rains. And I don’t mean the lazy dazy kind. When I’d asked for her email address the day before, she said that she checked it once a week at a cyber cafe more than an hour’s walk away from the camp. I wasn’t sure I’d get a response but I did:
lapli a te vreman panike nou.nou te pase you bon pati nan nwit la debou .epi nou te tann dlo a bese pou ranje tapi pou n donmi .mwen ak fanmy m nap viv ak anpil espwa nan ke nou paske nou kwe nan Bondye . … mpanse diw tout mesi paske w panse avem.msalye ak fanmy w m espere nou kenbe kontak…..olivia.
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August 1, 2010
Self portrait: 10-year-old rape victim, Flore (not her real name)
This past Friday, one of nine remaining tents in one of Port-au-Prince’s better camps went to a 33-year-old mother of five whose 10-year-old daughter had been raped and molested by at least three different men on three separate occasions in another camp. I happened to be there reporting another story so after, I went to find this woman. I’ll call her Marie.
My translator’s face froze at a few points during the interview, which lasted about 45 minutes. Marie’s daughter was bright and cheery, giggling while taking pictures of her younger brothers and sisters with my digicam (it was upside down most of the time) while us four adults sat cross-legged on the ground. After a bit of chit-chat I asked the fourth adult, a male member of the camp committee who showed us to the tent, to leave. No fuss displayed but I’d basically come into someone’s house, his camp, and asked him to scram. My translator went outside to smooth that over. On his return, alone, Marie sat up and started talking like I’d flipped a switch.
In my mind, her story is a stand-in for those of the mothers of another camp, Tapis Rouge, where a woman leader said in reply to my direct question, “There’s no rape but a lot of our teen girls are pregnant.”
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