How storybook-like is this?! I’m currently in Port-au-Prince in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, having just arrived from London via New York. This was the view from my hotel room at dusk this evening. The sky was so beautiful that the view merited a photo, even without the colourful houses. When I saw how the suburb of Jalousie had been painted, I just had to capture the scene and send you a postcard.
Unfortunately, I later learned that the slum painting initiative, part of a project to relocate people from the 2010 earthquake displacement camps, has been somewhat controversial. You can read about this here. I also heard that the slum was painted this way to give visiting tourists and businessmen the impression that Haitians live a colourful lifestyle, and not in unserviced, deprived slums. Indeed, this is the view not only from the hotel I was staying at but also from other luxury hotels, such as the Royal Oasis, infamous for being built with post-earthquake loans from leading development organisations. Sigh!
Anyway, let me just add that I’m in Haiti for two assignments, one for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and another for SmileTrain. For the IAF, I will be shooting here in Port-au-Prince and also in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, covering the work of three of the organisation’s grantees. Then I’ll be staying on in Cap-Haïtien, where I’ll be joined by a team of surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nurses when SmileTrain come to town. Stay tuned for the stories!