On February 4th independent journalist Georgianne Nienaber and I flew into Haiti for a five day whirlwind investigative tour facilitated by our driver and "fixer", Andre Paultre, a journalist's best friend in Haiti. This is the third piece in my series, "Haitian Winter".
For Part One of this series, CLICK HERE
For Part Two of this series, CLICK HERE
We last left you just leaving the new women's clinic next to Grace Children's Hospital in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Now we began winding through the often surrealistic streets of the capital again, this time headed to check into our hotel, La PLaza, downtown near the National Palace, known colloquially, traditionally, as the "White House", which had, of course, been destroyed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake. To some, however, it is known as the "Devil's House", for reasons far beyond any curses that may have led to its collapse.
As usual, I started snapping away with my Nikon as we drove through the rowdy streets, finding myself zeroing in on three things, pattern, angle and color as we bounced up and down the often unpaved roads. And this photographic format continued all the way downtown, where, instead of going directly to the hotel, we instead decided to stop at the National Palace, right across from which is the Champs de Mars, the large historical park adjacent to the White House, but now the site of one of the largest IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps in Haiti. Here I literally found more color and pattern, in the form of visual art, as you will see as we tour the city:
Colors abound along this street, particularly from the Digicel and Voila cell phone company umbrellas, in red and green respectively. Digicel is the largest cellular phone service in the Caribbean, owned by Irishman Denis O'Brien, who has poured millions of dollars of his own money into earthquake recovery projects in Haiti, including the resurrection of the famous Iron Market, which I will be writing about later.
There are still collapsed buildings everywhere, although a small dent has been made in the vast fields of earthquake rubble still blanketing the capital.
One of the main thoroughfares in Port-au-Prince. Digicel again on the left.
New construction has picked up since my last trip to Haiti last May. A good sign.
A street vendor's kitchen wares on display.
Need a haircut or shave?
Life on the streets
A grocery store.
Geometric patterns even in the rubble.
Past a bar/restaurant