Geto/Ghetto

7 04 2011

Se la m’ grandi

Se la m’ ka ri

Se la m’aprann lavi

E tout nan m’ soude ak li

Anndan l mwen gen patnè

Ladan m’ ka mache nenpòtlè

Tout moun anndan l’ pou mwen se frè ak sè

Pou mwen yo toujou la lè malè

Menm si sa di m’ pap dòmi grangou

Vwazin nan ak mwen chanje plat chak jou

Lè youn genyen lòt pa jou lou

Pase kanmèm fòk li ba ou.

Vakans nou fè bèl chanpyona

Kay yon patnè n’al gad tele lè swa

Pale foutbòl ak bay istwa

Avan pou n’ kase randevou pou demen swa.

Manman youn se manman tout

Nan geto nou tout fè youn

Nan geto tout moun konn moun

Anndan geto nou tout se youn.

Menm si yo di li bay bandi

Men andan l’ nou tout se fanmi

Paske nou pa gen lajan

Yo ban nou move jan

Lè zòt bezwen pouvwa

Yo fè n kwè n’ap manje zwa

Men aprè se menm traka a

Li lè pou geto a gen lajwa

Menm si nou sot ba

Nou ka rive wo

Men nou pap bat ba

Paske nou se geto

E nap toujou rete geto.

— DUPALIS Élie

****************

It’s where I grew up
It’s where I can laugh
It’s where I learned about life
And my whole soul is welded to it.

Inside is where my boys are
Inside, I can walk around at any time
Everyone inside is a brother and sister to me
They’re always there when something goes wrong.

So that means I never go to sleep hungry
Neighbors share their food every day
When one has enough, no one suffers
Because everyone must give to one another.

During summer vacation, we play sports in the street
Go to friends’ houses and watch TV
Talk about soccer and tell stories
Before we make plans for tomorrow night.

The mother of one is everyone’s mother
In the ghetto, we all become one.
In the ghetto, we all know each other.
Inside the ghetto, we are all the same.

Even though they say it makes people gangsters
But inside it, we’re all family.
Because we don’t have any money
They treat us like we’re nobody.
But when those Others need power,
They make us think we’ll eat caviar
But after that, it’s just the same shit.
It’s time for the ghetto to at last know joy.

Even though we’ve started low
We can reach high
But we’ll never surrender
Because we are ghetto
And we will always be ghetto.

— Élie DUPALIS





They make their money off the misery of the people/Yo pran mizè moun yo pou yo ka fè kapital yo

10 06 2010

Before January 12, the population of Cité Soleil lived in extreme misery.  After January 12, it got even harder.  Cité Soleil is the place everyone comes to make money.  The NGOs come here to make money.  They take people’s misery in order to make capital.  I’ve been living in Cité Soleil since ’77, I know all the problems that the Cité has gone through since then….Cité Soleil is a place where a lot of money is spent but nothing ever happens.  It is the place where everyone comes to make money, to get rich.  After January 12, it got even worse.  After January 12, everyone mobilized, the international community mobilized.  Myself, I thought that things were going to change.  Au contraire!  I see things getting more difficult.  I see there’s a lot of food distribution happening, I see that.  At the beginning, it went well, but after a while things start getting looser, people started making money off it.  When you look at it, what hurts the most is that people from Cité Soleil have been working to have political representation, to have people who will represent them at the state level.  But when you see how things have turned out, that it’s those same people who are turning a profit.  Think about it, really think about it – when a person isthe premye sitwayen (first citizen) in a community, there are a lot of things that person shouldn’t do.  Then I see lots of people, the population, coming to a place to buy food cards.  There are people who took those cards and made a fortune with them.  They bought cars with them, they bought motorcycles.  They were selling a single card for 100 or 150 Haitian dollars [$13-19 US].  Something that was meant to help the people, and they were selling them, they were selling them.  I think this deserves to be changed.  This is something we need to be talking about.  This is something that cannot be hidden.  OK, we must do an inquiry to find the people who are creating disorder.  All the population would know.  Talk to the people to identify those people, and they’ll find them very quickly.  Myself, I believe – I give my promise – I blame the majistra for all of this, because it’s they who are selling the cards, and you see all these people standing to buy cards from them.  Well, that’s something that hurts a lot, as a leader who has been working on the ground for a long time, and people are in misery, in need.  I think this is something that needs to be changed.

And another thing – now in this country, NGOs are coming up like mushrooms.  And everywhere you go you see these NGOs, you may not know this, but it’s those same NGOs that are forcing people to turn a profit, so they can justify all the money they  make.  My god!  People are sleeping in  mud.  People are sleeping on garbage.  When it rains, people don’t have anywhere to sleep. I think that the most important thing now is a public housing project within Cité Soleil.  That is fundamental….I think everyone, the whole international community, everyone who wants to help this zone, must sit with the leaders of the zone, with the people of the zone, listen to the community first off, so that they know how to start working here.

— “Oxygen,” community leader from Cité Soleil, April 2010

Avan 12 janvye, popilasyon an te gentan nan yon mizè ekstrem.  Aprè 12 janvye li vin pi red.  Andan Site a se yon zòn kote ki tout moun se la pou fè kòb. ONG a, se la yo vini pou yo fè kòb, yo pran mizè moun yo pou yo ka fè kapital yo. Map viv andan Site Solèy depi ’77, mwen konn tout pwoblem Site a ap viv depi lè sa, e size patant gras avèk mè yo pè yo, moun legliz katolik yo, Site Solèy sa tap pi mal.  Aprè nou vin genyen rantre de Doktè Reginald Boulos, men aprè sa li vin pa la anko, Depi lè sa a Site Solèy se yon basyon kote anpil lajan dipanse men nou pa wè anyen ki reyalize.  Se yon zòn kote tout moun se la pou yo fè kòb yo, pou yo pi rich. Aprè 12 janvye menm, sa se pa pale sa se, sa vin pi red aprè 12 janvye.  Aprè 12 janvye, tout moun mobilize , kominote entènasyonal la mobilize, Mwen menm te kwe ke bagay yo tap chanje.  O kontrè! Mwen wè bagay yo vini pi di, pi red.  Mwen wè gen anpil distribisyon manje kap fèt sa, mwen wè l.  O komansman sa te komanse trè byen, men aprè bagay la vin lage, nan biznis, Lè nou gade, mwen menm sa ki fè m pi mal nan kesyon an, moun Site Solèy travay pou yo mete reprezantan, moun ki pou reprezantan, moun ki kapab reprezante yo o nivo leta.  Men lè nou gade nou wè bagay la vin tounen, se yo fè biznis,  Imajine, lè ou imajine w byen, lè yon moun, se premye sitwayen ou ye nan yon komin, gen yon seri de bagay ki pa dwe ap fèt.  Lè m gade anpil moun, popilasyon ap vin yon kote se pou achte, lap achte kat manje a.  Gen moun yo pran kat la, yo fè fortin avèk li,  Yo achte machinn avèk li, yo achte motosiklet, e moun yo… ap achte grenn kat 100 dola, 150 dola.  Yon bagay yo te bay pou popilasyon an, o kontrè, pou popilasyon, se achte yap achte l kounye a la.  M panse sa ta merite korije.   Sa ka merite pou yo deba fèt sou li.  Sa, se pa yon bagay ki merite kache.  OK, fòk ta gen yon ankèt pou nou mennen pou ta wè, pou ta jwenn moun sa yo ki fè dezòd sa a,  E tout popilasyon an ap konnen…ale ak popilasyon an pou yo idantifye moun yo, yap jwenn yo trè rapid.  Mwen panse mwen menm, mwen pran angajman m, mwen menm met majistra yo trè kilpab nan bagay sa a, kelkans ki te fè l, se tout ki ladan, ki ap vann kat la.  Men lè ou wè, moun yo kanpe lè moun vin achte kat la yo bay 40, 50 dola pou achte, pou pran manje a pou li.  Bon, sa, mwen menm, sa fè m mal anpil.  Se tankou yon lidè kap travay sou terenn nan lontan, e moun yon nan mizè, moun yon nan bezwen.  Mwen kwe sa se yon bagay ki merite korije.

Yon lòt bagay ankò: kounye a peyi a, vin ONG pouse tankou djondjon, tout kote ou pase se ONG, ou pat konnen, se yo menm ki bagay sa a pouse tankou djondjon, se ONG menm kap fose moun yo profèt, pou yo kapab fè abri, pou yo kapab jisitfye kòb la pi byen.  Mezanmi.  Moun yo ap dòmi nan labou.  Moun yo ap dòmi sou fatra.  Lè lapli tombe, moun yo pa gen kote pou yo dòmi.  M panse ke kounye ya la, sa ki pi enpòtan, sa, nou konnen sa, yon pwoje alojman sosyal andan Site Solèy, sa se primodyal… M panse tout moun, kominote entènasyonal la, tout moun ki vle ede zòn sa, fòk yo chita avèk lidè zòn nan, avèk popilasyon ki nan zòn nan, bay yo, tande moun yo dabò, lè yo fini, nap konnen kote pou nou premye travay.

— “Oksijen,” lidè kominotè Site Solèy, Avril 2010





Manmi Zò

19 05 2010

Manmi Zò, “ti manmi nou an” kouman moun nan Site Solèy te rele l, te mouri 12 janvye nan tranblemanntè a 99 an devann legliz kote li te konn kanpe chak jou.  Li te fèt Jakmel nan lane 1910, e te vin Pòtoprens kom jen fi pou travay nan gwo kay, pandan premye okipasyon marin ameriken yo.  Li pat janm marye e pa janm te fè pitit li menm, men li te elve ak okipe anpil timoun òfelen ak abandone nan Site a, malgre li te malere li menm.  Lè nou te mande l kouman li te vin gen laj sa a, li te ose zepòl li e reponn, “M manje banann bouyi ak sòs pwa.”  Ale an pè, Manmi Zò.

Manmi Zò, at home in Boston, Cité Soleil, December 2009. Manmi Zò, lakay li an Boston, Site Solèy, desanm 2009. ©2010 Stories from Haiti

Manmi Zò (Mama Bones), “our little mama” as people in Cité Soleil used to call her, died on January 12 in the earthquake at the age of 99, in front of the church where she used to stand every day.  She was born in Jacmel in 1910, and came to Port-au-Prince as a young woman to work in one of the big houses during the first US occupation.  She never married or had children, but she raised and took care of many orphaned and abandoned children in Cité Soleil even though she was poor, herself.  When asked how she reached that age, she shrugged and replied, “I eat boiled plantains and bean sauce.”  Go in peace, Manmi Zò.





Cité Soleil after/Site Solèy aprè

23 04 2010

In purely physical terms, Cité Soleil was not as badly hit on January 12 as many other areas of Port-au-Prince.  Therefore, it was not prioritized for receiving aid.   As Marlène wrote in February, “Nan moman m’ap ekri w la, leta ak ONG di nan Site Solèy pa moun ki viktim.”  “At the moment that I write you this, the State and the NGOs say that the people of Cité Soleil aren’t victims.”   But this lack of prioritization ignores the fact that the community of Cité Soleil was particularly poor and marginalized before January 12, and therefore, in social and economic terms, particularly vulnerable to the earthquake and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

Nan sans fizik la, Site Solèy pat frape 12 janvye menm jan avèk kèk lot zòn Pòtoprens.  Rezon sa fe gouvenman ayisyen an pat mete l nan lis priyorite pou resevwa èd aprè evenman an.  Kom Marlène te ekri na mwa fevriye, “Nan moman m’ap ekri w la, leta ak ONG di nan Site Solèy pa gen moun ki viktim.”  Men, mank priyorite sa a meprize verite a: Site Solèy te deja viktim, sitou defavorize e gen plis ris nan sans sosyal ak ekonomik empak tranblemanntè a avek kriz imanitè ki te vin aprè tranblemanntè a.

BELOW: Tent cities on the Plas Fyète, Cité Soleil, February 2010.

ANBA: Sant debejman nan Plas Fyète, Site Solèy, Fevriye 2010. (Photo credit/kredi foto Alix)

BELOW:  Extremely precarious shelter in Cité Soleil, February 2010.
ANBA:  Ti tonnèl tre pa asire nan Site Solèy, Fevriye 2010.  (Photo credit/kredi foto Alix)

BELOW:  Children in tent communities are particularly at risk.  Cité Soleil, February 2010.
ANBA:  Timoun kap rete nan sant debejman sitou gen plis ris. (Photo credit/kredi foto Alix)

BELOW:  Temporary shelters spring up along Route 9, one of the main roads through Cité Soleil. (January 2010)
ANBA:  Titonnèl miltipliye akote Wout 9, yon wout prensipal ki travese Site Solèy. (Janvye 2010)
(photo credit/kredi foto: Marlène)

BELOW: St. Vincent de Paul Primary and Secondary School and Cultural Center in Boston, Cité Soleil.  Previously the site of grassroots community meetings.

ANBA: St. Vincent de Paul Lekòl Primè ak Sekondè ak Fwaye Kiltirel, Boston, Site Solèy.   Ansyenman, kote te konn genyen anpil reinyon oganizasyon baz lokal. (photo credit/kredi foto: Marlène)





Cité Soleil Before/Site Solèy avan

23 04 2010

In the shantytown community of Cité Soleil, life was precarious before the earthquake.  The following are photos of Cité Soleil before January 12, 2010.

Nan katyè popilè Site Solèy, lavi toujou te prekè, pa stab, jis avan tranblemanntè a.  Foto swivan yo te pran avan 12 janvye 2010.

Originally known as Cité Simone for the wife of Francois Duvalier, Cité Soleil expanded over the second half of the 20th century.  Its first residents were the displaced residents of the older shantytown La Saline, which burned under mysterious circumstances as Haitian industrialists sough to build  an industrial zone where La Saline was.    Many people came from the Haitian countryside to work in those industrial factories, including the now-defunct Hasco sugar refinery, the chimney of which can be seen in the distance, glimpsed from the neighborhood of Belekou (ABOVE).

Nan tan pase, sou Prezidan Franswa Divalye, Site Solèy te rele Site Simon.  Li te pote non sa a paske Madanm Divalye te rele Simon.  Site Solèy te grandi aprè 1960, lè leta a te fè tout moun nan ansyen katyè popilè Lasalin deplase a l rete nan Site a.  Yon gwo difè te detri tout Lasalin (pèsonn pa konnen kiyès ki te fè difè a) e tout rezidan Lasalin te oblije kite l.  Epi, anpil moun kite pwovens yo pou chache lavi nan faktori endistryel yo, ki ankli faktori sik Hasco (ki pa mache anko).  Chemine Hasco parèt nan foto a ki te pran nan Belekou (ANLE).

From 1999 to 2006, Cité Soleil was the site of virtual warfare among politically-positioned gangs (chimères), and between chimères and MINUSTAH peacekeepers.   The community still bears the physical and emotional scars of this violence, and also suffers from a universal reputation for violence and criminality both within Haiti and internationally, even though most residents were victims of the violence rather than perpetrators of it.

Nan epok 1999 a 2006, Site Solèy te konn fè anpil gè. anpil bandi nan zon sa a konn goumen ant yo sa vle di katye ak katye. tout moun te konnen yo sou nom sa  chimè, epi te konn gen ge ant chime yo ak MINUSTAH andedan site soley.  Kominote a toujou gen mak fisik ak emosyonel sou vyolans sa a, epitou soufri yon repitasyon inivèsel pou vyolans ak kriminalite, isit an Ayiti menm ak entenasyonalman, malgre pifò nan rezidan yo te viktim vyolans lan, tan pou kriminel.

BELOW:  Mural, Plas Fyète.  Behind the swing set, the people in the mural demand, “Aba Lavichè, Nou Vle Travay, Pa Fe Vyolans Sou Fanm, Aba Kidnaping, Nou Vle Lape, and Nou Gen Dwa Pou Nou Edike Tout Moun.”  Down with “Laviche” (literally, “life is unaffordable”), We Want to Work, Don’t Commit Violence Against Women, Dow with Kidnapping, We Want Peace, and We Should Educate Everyone.

ANBA:  Tablo sou mi a. “Aba Lavichè, Nou Vle Travay, Pa Fe Vyolans Sou Fanm, Aba Kidnaping, Nou Vle Lape, and Nou Gen Dwa Pou Nou Edike Tout Moun.”

In recent years Cité Soleil has received a great deal of attention from international organizations.  However, many of their interventions are done without input from community members. For example, many of the seemingly “modern” paved roads built by foreign development organizations are higher than the homes, which regularly leads to flooding whenever it rains.

Resanman, Site Solèy resevwa telman atansyon oganizasyon entenasyonal yo.  Epoutan, oganizasyon sa yo fè anpil pwoje san mande kominote a sa yo bezwen.   Pa egzanp, yo te konstwi anpil bel wout ki genlè “modèn” e pave ki pi wo pase kay yo, ki se yon nan kòz inondasyon le lapli tombe.

Flooding, October 2009. Inondasyon, Oktòb 2009

Flooding in Ti Ayiti October 2009. Inondasyon nan zòn Ti Ayiti Oktòb 2009

Early-morning after the rain, flooding in Belekou. Inondasyon nan Belekou gran maten aprè lapli, desanm 2009

Flooding inside Sainte Catherine Labouré Hospital – Solèy 17. Inondasyon nan Lopital Sainte Catherine Labouré -- Solèy 17.

Bailing water in Premye Site. Moun kap jete dlo in Premye Site.

BELOW: A morgue on Route National #1, which passes along the top border of Cité Soleil, advertises with a painting of a dead little girl going into God’s hands.  While this may seem to be manipulative or in poor taste, it reflects something of the precarious reality of life in this community.  November 2009.

ANBA:  Yon mòg nan Wout Nasyonal #1 (ki fè fwontyè Site Solèy anlè) fè piblisite avèk desen yon tifi mò kap antre nan men Bondye.   Petèt sa genlè degoutan oubyen manipulatè, men li reflechi reyalite danjere a ak ris ki egziste nan kominote sa a.  Novanm 2009.

BELOW: A young boy in Boston, Cité Soleil plays with a homemade kite.  December 2009.

ANBA: Yon ti gason nan Boston, Site Solèy ap jwe avèk yon kap ki li te fè li menm. Desanm 2009.





They say we’re not victims/Yo di nou pa viktim

20 04 2010

“Other countries who claim they have come to help us have come like tourists.  All the American soldiers walks around taking photos on the streets, but they haven’t come to truly help the Haitian people. Every day people are dying.  The military and MINUSTAH don’t do anything; it’s only God that can protect us.  At the moment that I write you this, the State and the NGOs say that the people of Cité Soleil aren’t victims; they aren’t giving drinking water or medical care.  Everyone is in the street.  In the country of Haiti, human rights aren’t respected.  Everyone in Pétionville, the bourgeoisie, have the right to eat, to find potable water, to find medical care. But we in Cité Soleil, they say we’re not victims, that it’s us who are looting the city, who are breaking into stores. But they forget that if the prison crumbles and all the bandi [criminals] return to the streets, it is we who are going to pay for their sins.

— Marlène, 25.  Belekou, Cité Soleil.  February 26, 2010.

Tents in Cité Soleil/Tant nan Site Solèy

“Lòt peyi ki di yo vin ede nou yo, se nan touris yo vini.  Chak solda ameriken ap mache, fè foto nan tout lari, men yo pa vini pou ede pèp ayisyen an vre. Chak jou moun ap mouri. Militè yo ak MINUSTAH pa fè anyen, se sel Bondye k’ap pwoteje nou.  Nan moman m’ap ekri w la, leta ak ONG di nan Site Solèy pa gen moun ki viktim, yo pa bay dlo potab ni swen sante.  Tout moun nan lari.  Nan peyi dayiti dwa moun pa respekte.  Tout moun Petyonvil, sa ki nan klas boujwa, se yo ki gen dwa pou manje, pou jwenn dlo potab, pou jwenn swen nan.  Nou menm nan Site Solèy, yo di nou pa viktim, se nou ki al fè piyaj lavil nan kraze magazen.  Men yo bliye si penitansye kraze tout bandi nan lari, se nou menm ki peye tèt kase a pou yo.”

— Marlène, 25.   Belekou, Site Solèy.  26 fevriye 2010