Monday, August 22, 2011

Life in the Slums

Since the Navy operation has been shut down until Wed. thanks to Hurricane Irene, we've had to find other things to do, which hasn't been difficult. Both yesterday and today, we spent time in two of Haiti's poorest slums: Wharf Jeremie and Cite Soleil.

We'd been staring last week across the water at Wharf Jeremie from the Naval clinic at Terminal Varreux. A friend of ours, Jean Claude, who is helping to build houses there, took us to look around. It's difficult to describe these places in words or pictures, but they hardly look fit to support human life. And really, they don't, or at least not very well. Rocks, dirt, sewage, rusty tin, gray-brown water form to combine a hellish scene. Yet children, with their unnatural pot bellies, often naked from the waist down, laugh and play there, just like they do everywhere.

Before visiting Wharf Jeremie, we had stopped by the ruins of the Port-au-Prince cathedral. The semi-professional beggers descended on us, while not once in Wharf Jeremie did anyone ask for anything, other than to see the picture we had taken of them. Below are some children in Wharf Jeremie, carrying a picture of Haiti's most appropriate patron saint, Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Today in Cite Soleil, John worked at the clinic run by the Daughters of Charity. The Sisters have an oasis in the middle of another harsh environment, where children receive medical treatment, food, and schooling. Their mothers learn to sew and embroider. Once again, John Claude was our driver. He knows Soleil well, having grown up there.

We saw this champ in Cite Soleil, enjoying his bath.

My thanks to John and Tommy Carroll for the generous use of their pictures.

No comments: