Thursday, June 30, 2011

photos - home rebuilding - part 13

I took a lot of photos because it was neat to see something nice taking shape out of the destruction all around. Here is the Coram Deo Construction Crew at work. On the left Jn. Eddy is catching the empty buckets coming down the line.

Here is another photo of the "roof assembly line". The guys worked quickly. You can tell how the line forms a circle. The mix area in the corridor, up to the base of the ladder, up the ladder to the roof, buckets handed off to the pourers and then sent to the other guys collecting buckets and attaching the buckets to the line.

The "cement boss" kept an eye out. He is the guy on the right wearing a cap.

The guys would get a break while batches of cement were made.

Here the guys are taking instructions from the cement boss below.

photos - home rebuilding - part 14

The sun was hot and Jn. Eddy made sure that everyone was hydrated.

It didn't take long for the roof to be poured.

With everyone working together as a team they only took a couple of hours to pour the roof.

Some of the children in the neighborhood kept an eye on the roof pour.

With all the brokenness around them, the children can still smile and have fun.

photos - home rebuilding - part 15

After a couple of days waiting for the cement on the roof to cure, the supports and support poles were removed. Reginald (green shirt on the left), Jameson (middle - son of Yonel) and Yonel got to work carrying sand to make mortar for the parging.

The first step is a rough parge.

The rough parge is followed by a fine parge which smoothes the roof and walls. These guys were good at parging. They finished the inside of the house first.

We got some different colored cement powders to form a pattern on the floor.

The cement boss making a "homemade" ceramic style floor. The Haitian people are artistic and resourceful

photos - home rebuilding - part 16

Here is a distance view of Yonel's house. It looks high because the floor is raised up the height of canal. One of the cement bosses posed for the picture.

Yonel's house is almost the same height as the 2 story house further down the canal. During the earthquake most of the canal walls collapsed.

The British Red Cross is repairing the canal. Another story which I will have lots of pictures of because it has something to do with Yonel. Sort of a David and Goliath type battle! The battle isn't over yet. Yonel (David) needs a lot of prayer for his fight against Goliath (I won't identify who Goliath is yet)

Once the fine parging is done the house really is taking to form. We installed a door and it is almost ready to move in!

Here is one of the bosses doing some of the fine parging.

photos - home rebuilding - part 17

Because the house is raised up a stair needed to be built. The cheapest way was to make a "cement block stairway. One of the workers is mortaring the blocks together.

The other boss is parging one of the side walls. He is enjoying himself. They are happy that their work is almost done!

It didn't take too long to build the cement staircase.

At this point in the building process the house is almost ready for painting! It is starting to look like a home! Designing the small veranda was Yonel's idea. He worked hard at building his house right from start to finish.

The fine parging is being done to the stairway.

photos - home rebuilding - part 18

The worker added some colored powder for the ceramic look and the parging is finished!

In Yonel's neighborhood you have to have a good sense of balance!... like this boy is demonstrating....

To cross from one side of the canal to another means "walking the log". For 3 steps you have nothing to support yourself with.

One misstep and you land in the sewer. Haiti is full of challenges!

Pray for the construction work being done in Yonel's neighborhood. There was a lot of buildings and lives lost during the earthquake. The whole neighborhood needs to be rebuilt. The hope is that the children will have a better future.




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By William Butler of Arcade Fire on the continuing challenge of helping to get a nation back on its feet

One pound, dollar, or euro from each ticket we've sold since 2007 has gone to organisations that work in Haiti, chiefly Partners in Health. This past year ticket buyers have given more than $300,000 to PIH. Our upcoming show in Hyde Park will raise in the realm of £60,000. One point of our trip to Haiti was to see how this money is being used.

Partners in Health works all over the world. In Haiti, PIH and its sister organisation Zanmi Lasante ("Partners in Health" in Creole) employs more than 5,000 Haitians. There are some non-Haitian employees and foreign volunteers – visiting orthopaedic surgeons, engineers – but the vast majority of the doctors and nurses are Haitian, as are the construction workers, janitors, community health workers, secretaries and so on.

One thing I learned was that PIH employs lots of construction wohelrkers. They are building a large teaching hospital in the town of Mirebalais (the biggest construction project begun in Haiti since the earthquake). The main result will be access to high-level medical care for the 140,000 people living in the region, but employment is an intended side effect. Haitians do the construction as far as possible. Where locals are unskilled – in plumbing, electrical wiring, welding – foreign volunteers are brought in to work and help train. John Chew, the project co-ordinator, was excited about how his bricklayers could now read blueprints – a good, marketable skill. When people have jobs, other people can sell them cell phones or, hey, bootlegged DVDs. The economy slowly grows. This is happening not just in Mirebalais but also with smaller clinics and schools PIH is building throughout rural Haiti.

Health, as you might think, is the main concern of PIH. They are known and celebrated for their successful treatment of Aids and TB patients in extremely poor regions. But they take a broad view of health. One employee talked about digitising medical records and seeing several prescriptions for "needs new roof". And these prescriptions had been filled. We met Genevieve Joubert, a nurse who lives and works in the tent camp of Dadadou in Port-au-Prince. She has helped deliver more than 150 babies since the earthquake. But she is also focused on latrines – on the struggle to find someone to build more. And on the more infuriating struggle to get someone to regularly empty them.

The people who work for Partners in Health work there for the same reason any of us would. Some work just because they need a job. Most seem to strongly believe in PIH's vision. The doctors and nurses could get higher pay working for other foreign organisations, or the UN. Many, with foreign graduate degrees, could get jobs any where in the world. Dr Patrick Almazor is from Port-au-Prince and a former Fulbright scholar with a master's degree in public health. He runs the hospital in St Marc, a coastal town where cholera hit particularly hard last year. He'd started with PIH because of a mandatory year of service post-medical school. He'd stayed because he realised he wanted to serve the poor, and he found working with PIH was the best way to do that.

PIH are breathtakingly competent. I would describe them as efficient, but that might imply a focus on cost-effectiveness and the system, instead of on the patient. I'd rather say that PIH are thorough in all aspects of operation and wise in their use of money and supplies. They are part of a strong, organic movement towards a functioning society in Haiti.

For more information on Partners in Health, go to


( -

For Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Haiti's struggle to cope with last year's earthquake has been poignant – her parents fled the island under Papa Doc's regime. So when the band returned to play a unique show in a remote mountain town, she was swept away by the emotion. Here, she tells the story

It is late afternoon. A perfectly calligraphed banner is suspended over the dry dirt road: "Bienvenue à Cange, Régine et Win, Arcade et Fire." We are all both touched and giggling a little bit. Formerly a dusty, barren hill, Cange now looks like a surreal, lush, medieval village grown out of the Haitian mountains.

The trees that were planted 25 years ago when the NGO we work with, Partners In Health (PIH), began work here have now grown into a landscape hinting at Haiti's luxurious forests of the past. But Cange – PIH's headquarters in Haiti – is definitely one step into the future as it springs out of dry mountains, organised, filled with Haitian nurses and doctors, electricity and paved roads. You can see that the town has been built in phases over the years, up and down the hill, in and around large medieval-looking metal gates. This makes Cange's unusual charm.

This is my third time here, but our first as a band. As we unload the equipment I can't stop noticing how they really pulled out all the stops to welcome us. On the dusty soccer field the town has built a wooden stage, with another crafted and charming "Bienvenue à Cange, Régine et Win, Arcade et Fire" banner hanging above it. Knowing how few resources there are in the Central Plateau, it is becoming clear that this evening is a really big deal. We are happy to see the sound system we rented from Port-au-Prince has arrived in time. It is probably the biggest sound system the town has ever seen. Or seen at all. This is exciting.

We plug the instruments in, but there is no power. The Haitian soundman goes to check out the gas generator. It hums back to life and everything powers up fine. To be honest, the monitor set up here sounds better than what we had on the Funeral tour. But now a dark rain cloud is approaching and we feel a few drops on our heads. The rented equipment is too precious to risk, so we pull out big white tarps and cover it up with the help of staff from Partners in Health.

In the meantime, a small bus enters through the Cange gates. RAM is here. We have played with this Haitian band a few times now and we are happy to see that they, too, made it safely on time. They opened for us once in Quebec City, but here in Haiti we are definitely the support band. Caribbean showers rarely last for long. So we decide to take the opportunity to all go for dinner.

We walk down the hill to the small community centre that is the one room large enough to accommodate us all. I can tell that the cooking staff have been working all day, if not all week, in preparation. The table is set for a banquet. Goat and chicken, plantain, two kinds of rice, salad, rum cake… Last time we were here, it was rice and beans for lunch and peanut-butter sandwiches for dinner. One of the staff tells us a story about a funeral for a young man that had taken place a few days earlier. During some recent funerals people had become so riled in their grief they'd broken several metal folding chairs (at around 500 Haitian gourdes or £7.60 each). The priest, Father Lafontant told everyone during the last eulogy that anyone breaking a chair during the service would have to pay for it, and sure enough he had to point to two people during the service and yell out: "Cinq-cent gourdes!"

It was last summer when we invited RAM to Quebec City to play with us at a festival. Over that weekend we became friendly with many of the group. I remember eating dinner in the catering area and noticing one of them had a distant look on his face. I realised he was looking at the festival's catering tent, which was bigger and nicer than the one he lived in. Many of the musicians in this amazing band are still living in tents in Port-au-Prince, more than a year after the earthquake.

I am grateful that they are with us tonight. As part of the evening programme we also invited a man called Ti Zwazo (Little Bird) to come and sing for the crowd. He is a part of Zanmi Agrikol, PIH's agricultural project. Back in 2008, as we were visiting his sapling farm, he sang two of the most beautiful songs I'd ever heard. Joan, a PIH staffer called him the day before and left a message on his mobile. (Everybody has a phone in Haiti. They might not have a house or enough to eat, but somehow phones spring up everywhere.) Little Bird called back leaving a most solemn message: "Hello. This is Ti Zwazo. I understand you need my services to sing at a concert tomorrow night. Thank you for thinking of me. I would like to notify you that it will be my pleasure to perform at your concert. Merci et au revoir."

The fancy French expressions I hear around Cange amaze me. Brought into a 2011 context, they turn any mundane conversation into sophisticated 18th-century court talk. It blows my mind to hear a 13-year-old ask me about the simplest thing using language that probably would have appeared normal to Shakespeare. It is surreal. I love it.

Ti Zwazo arrives, all shaven, in a pressed shirt and tie – quite a change from the second-hand T-shirt and straw hat he was wearing when we met him three years ago. Has it been three years? He stands in a corner, all shy. I get off my seat and insist he comes to sit and eat with us. Ti Zwazo's face is the one of a rugged middle-aged farmer, his eyes are sharp with wisdom, but in this unfamiliar context he sits down and eats silently like a timid schoolboy.

We all walk back up the shady hill. The sun has reappeared after the rain and is now setting. A crowd has started to form. On the opposite side of the stage is a stone wall and a winding concrete path that goes all the way up to the top of the mountain where sits the church of beloved Father Lafontant. People keep pouring in through the gates. They are sitting on the walls, their feet dangling. Now the scene is starting to look like a Préfète Duffaut painting. We don't want to spoil the surprise so we do the quickest soundcheck ever. The soundman is the same one who mixed our small show in Port-au-Prince two nights earlier, so he pretty much knows what to do with us now.

The sun has finally set. John, one of PIH's few non-Haitian staff arrives with yellow construction lamps as makeshift stage lighting. The evening is about to start. Down comes the night's busy bee, cheery and driven Marie-Flore, the daughter of Father Lafontant. She's the one behind all this welcoming protocol: "We need you to go on stage and stand in line please. Somebody is going to introduce you."

So we do as we're told. The next minutes look like a surreal inauguration. The youth of Cange has formed a marching band and is walking towards us. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome from Canada, Arcade and Fire. Please, clap for Régine, please clap for her husband Win, clap for Tim, clap for Jeremy, clap for Richard, clap for Sarah, clap for Marika, clap for manager Scott! And now allow us to play for you the Canadian national anthem!"

You'd have to have a heart of stone to remain unmoved by the gigantic effort this community had put forward. I notice that the students are playing the very instruments Win and I brought them last August. "They've gotten so good!" I whisper to Win. I can't believe how much they've improved! They must have been practising a ton!"

"And now, please oblige us as we play our own anthem, La Dessalinienne!"

After the honours, we step down and it's Ti Zwazo's time to take the stage. He could have a band, but he doesn't need one. His voice is pure gold and reverberates off the stone walls across the soccer field. In true troubadour tradition, he sings about this evening, about tonight, he sings about us arriving in Cange, about the need for the country to come together, Haitians and non-Haitians… "For all farmers here tonight! You here?" The farmers cheer. "For all the mechanics here tonight!" Mechanics cheer. "We've got to put our heads together, for a better Haiti…" And as his powerful song comes to a finale, his last soaring note is drowned by thunderous cheers. I wonder how many other Ti Zwazos this country holds, singing alone in the night when the lights are out.

We then take our instruments and launch into "Keep the Car Running". Some of the people who were sitting back by the stone wall hop down and come to the front. The first song goes well. This is a good crowd, considering the town has never had a concert of this kind, never mind a rock concert.

We're happy to see people appear genuinely happy about the music. So we play our hearts out. No super fans, no journalists. Just us, the townspeople, Ti Zwazo and RAM. As we play the song "Haiti", I invite Philemond, one of the older youths of Cange, to come on stage. In 2008 he sang the song with Win and me, and has learned it on the guitar since. We're out of guitars, but it doesn't matter. He starts to sing front and centre and leads the singing crowd.

Surprisingly, everything sounds good on stage. No feedbacks, everything is clear. We definitely have had worse sound in fancier places. By the end of the show a good number of people are jumping, hands in the air, all smiles. I think we've made new friends.

As we walk out, an 11-year-old boy runs up to Win, eyes as big as dollars, wearing the widest grin. "I just want to tell you… I will never forget you my whole life!" he says, then vanishes. Marika also has a new friend. Raoul, a studious 12-year-old orphan who is the town's number-one student in all fields, especially mathematics, is following her everywhere. Marika taught high school for five years, so she takes an interest in his curriculum and favourite classes.

Meanwhile, between the two sets and a bit of Haitian-style DJ-ing, PIH's Haitian peptalk man jumps on stage to MC a little: "One more round of applause for Arcade and Fire! Come on! Arcade and Fire ladies and gents! They play North America! They play South America! They play Europe! They came on a plane! They came on a boat! They came on a bus! They eat mango! They eat rice! And now they are here to play for us tonight!"

The crowd cheers. Pepman then goes into the most clever cholera prevention song I've ever heard. Using Creole's percussive rhythm he chants: "What do you do after this and that?" The crowd answers: "You wash your hands!" "Put your hands up in the air! Let me see those hands! Now after this, what do you do?" "Wash your hands!" "And after that, what do you do?" "You wash your hands." "That's right!" he answers the crowd each time. "You wash 'em. You wash those hands!" Hands are waving as if we're at a hip-hop concert.

His spiel then turns into a stand-up comedy act where he pretends he's a man struck with tuberculosis who's come home coughing, but keeps pretending to his wife (acted by him putting a hand on his hip and talking in a high voice) that he's all right. The crowd laughs. "Now what shall we do with a fool like that?" The crowd answers in a blur: "You send him to the hospital!" "I didn't hear you!" "You send him to the hospital." "You send him where?" The crowd replies in unison: "To the hospital!" "Good… and now ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the great band RAAAAM!"

RAM comes out, all dressed in voodoo white. I wonder what Father Lafontant might think of all this. RAM plays mizik rasin – roots music. Their exuberant style draws on various voodoo rhythms and their lyrics and inspiration call on folklore and lwas – the deities or spirits that are said to have originated all the way from ancestral Africa. A very contrasting style to Cange's sweet and gentle church choir. Either way, the band and crowd, old and young, are all in good spirits. More watchers come down off the walls to get closer to the action.

I watch a few songs, but then remember we are leaving the next morning at 7am, so there are a few things I want to settle. On the side of the stage is the dusty library/soccer equipment storage/backstage area where we keep the 20 hockey bags we have brought to Haiti. (We've brought as many as the airline would allow us. They are filled with musical instruments, their extra parts and accessories, hospital sheets and other things.) Win is telling me to come out on to the field and have fun, but I really want to sort out the instrument distribution so that everyone ends up with the right combinations.

"One electric guitar and one amp to the community leader in Kay Epin, because they have a little electricity there. Wait. No. Yes. One here. And one there. The accordion and the three acoustic guitars go to the three churches of Bay Tourib. The bass to the Cange bandleader… One guitar for RAM." Making piles, making piles. Making sure to include the right strings for the right guitars and not forget anyone.

The party is now raging outside. It's dark. The dusty library is hot. I'm unpacking and repacking every hockey bag under the harsh white fluorescent lights. Win finally comes in in a fast swoosh, stops, and says sweetly: "Enough with this, I order you to come out now!" I walk out, looking backwards… but after a few seconds, I forget about the hockey bags. The whole town is jumping and wailing for RAM. Children, patients, doctors, teenagers, even the elderly. The entire community has surrendered itself to the music.

All that dancing in the dirt is churning up a beautiful cloud of dust that engulfs the whole scene under the home-made stage lights, adding to the surreal atmosphere of the evening. So much joy is everywhere… In these mountains, where nights are so dark, strangely, it feels like we're all dancing in broad daylight.

Patients have walked down from the hospital. Some on crutches, some in casts, some still wearing hospital masks. The elderly are dancing with children. Toddlers are imitating the adults. It seems the whole town has been given a chance to shake out their woes for one night, and for once enjoy a little more than the bare minimum needed to survive.

I look at Richard, who looks like he's leading a full-on aerobics class. A swarm of five- to seven-year-old schoolgirls are imitating his dance moves. One of those little girls, in Sunday dress, grabs both my hands. We dance and dance and dance. She's like a little white butterfly. I make her twirl and twirl, but she always grabs my fingers right back tight with her tiny fingers at the end of each turn. She will not let me go. Finally, I invite some of her little girlfriends into the circle so we can all dance together.

We're getting towards the end of the set and Richard Morse from RAM signals us to join in during the last song. We climb back on stage, one by one, as soon as we notice the call. As I join in, dancing with the women on stage, I turn around to see that the rest of the guys have each been handed a big rara carnival horn. Tonight might as well be carnival, I'm thinking, as the show ends on this blissful, high-spirited note.

Instantly, people start to go home. Little Miss Butterfly runs back towards me. Her older sister is behind, dragging her by the arm as she's still trying to grab me. I find myself standing in the middle of the fast-emptying field with the rest of the band and PIH staff, all covered in dust, eyes sparkling, reflecting on the beautiful night that has just happened. Miss Butterfly has sneaked back again. I tell her sweetly in rusty Creole that she should really go back, or else her sister will be very worried. She doesn't say a word, but keeps hovering around the adults. Oh, tiny night-time butterfly! It is definitely past children's bedtime. I wait a few minutes more, then switch to, "Cherie, you have to go find your sister now, or she will be very angry!" This new wording seems to resonate with her. She hurries away.

Although, in my heart I never believed it, I had wondered at times if all that excitement could have turned into trouble once the night was over, but I watch thousands of spectators file out in the most serene fashion. Once the field has cleared a little, one man who had come on a motorcycle does a couple of stunt turns for his peers. I worry for a second as a Haitian security guard approaches, reaching in his pocket, only to take out a cell phone and start filming the acrobatics with one hand while shooing curious children away from danger with the other. Stuntman's flamboyant departure sends out the last clamour and clouds of dust into the night. After that, everybody goes home and the town becomes quiet.

I wonder how far people came. I heard some of them drove for hours, although most seem to have come by foot. But where are they now?

They all vanish into the mountains. Those mountains which, more than two centuries ago, cradled the Haitian dream for liberty and provided shelter for the brave rebels who categorically refused to live in slavery, sparking the Haitian revolution – the only successful revolt of its kind in history.

Outside the gates of Cange, there is a newly built road that now leads all the way from Port-au-Prince. Thousands are walking to their mountain dwellings in peaceful silence and the only sound I hear is a lonely nocturnal rooster. A distant echo. In the rural mountains the moonlight seems thinner than usual, but Haitians have long mastered the art of finding their way in the dark.


(Channel 6) - By BNO News

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Seven people are still missing after search and rescue teams located 11 survivors following Tuesday's small shipwreck off the Haitian coast, officials said Wednesday.

The boat, which was traveling from the island of La Gonave to Arcahaie, both part of the Ouest Department of Haiti, was carrying 23 people and a number of goods, including bags of charcoal and bananas, Nadia Lochard of the Haitian civil protection told

Lochard said the shipwreck was probably caused by rough waves and strong winds before making it to Arcahaie, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince.

Inspector of the Police Nationale d'Haiti, Arsene Charmant-Saint-Jean, confirmed the number of survivors and missing people. Among the survivors was an 8-year-old boy who made it to the coast after holding on to a bag of charcoal. His mother, however, was among the fatal victims. A source from the Haitian coastguard told the media outlet that the chances of finding the seven missing people were slim.


(Counter Currents) - By Bill Quigley & Jocelyn Brooks

“We women demand!…” sang out a hundred plus voices “…Justice for Marie!” Marie, a 25 year old pregnant mother, was injured by government agents when they slammed a wooden door into her stomach during an early morning invasion of an earthquake displacement camp in Port au Prince. The government is using force to try to force thousands to leave camps without providing any place for people to go. The people are fighting back.

The people calling for justice are residents of a make shift tent camp called Camp Django in the Delmas 17 neighborhood of Port au Prince. They are up in arms over injuries to Marie, one of their young mothers, and repeated government threats to demolish their homes. Despite the 100 degree heat, over a hundred residents, mostly mothers, trekked across town to demand the government protect their human right to housing.

At their invitation, we followed them back to the place they have made lived since the January 12, 2010 earthquake that left hundreds of thousands homeless. In a sloping lot smaller than a football field, two hundred fifty families live in handmade shelters made out of grey and blue plastic tarps/tents, scraps of wood and mismatched pieces of tin. The tarps under which they live are faded from a year and a half of sun but still show brands of USAID, World Vision, Rotary International, UNICEF, UNFAM, Republic of China and others. Outside the camp, big green trees with flame orange flowers provide color and shade.

Inside, babies and little children peek out of tent openings that reveal mats on the ground and beds and boxes. Families live inches from their neighbors. They buy water outside and carry it back to their tents. Four topless wooden boxes with blue plastic UN tarps are the showers where people can wash themselves if they bring their own water and soap. Hole in the dirt toilets are few, full and pungent in the 100 degree heat. They are surrounded by razzing flies. When it rains, rainwater flows into tents and the mess from the toilets spreads all over.

A teenage boy clad only in his underwear soap washes himself in between tents. A middle age woman sits under a banana tree nursing a dollar bill size patch of open wound on her foot, a quake injury that demands a skin graft she cannot afford. A family has an aluminum pan filled with grey water and skinned bananas. Camp leaders tell us their community contains over 375 little children including 20 children whose parents died in the earthquake.

“We are earthquake victims,” the women and men of the camp tell us as they show us around. “We have a human right to live somewhere. We do not want to fight for the right to stay in these camps. It is very hot here and we cannot stay in the tents in the middle of the day. But we all search and search and there is no other place to go. Until we get housing, these homes are everything we have.”

There are nearly a thousand such camps of people across Port au Prince. Some house thousands, many like Camp Django, housed hundreds.

A government myth says people gather in the camps only to receive food and water and medical services. The truth is that many, many camps, including Camp Django, get no water, food or medical services. They are there, they tell us, because they have no other place to go.

We visited Marie (not her real name for her protection) in her boxlike tent. She lies on a bed writhing in pain. She has been vomiting and bleeding and was surrounded by other residents of the camp. They were taking turns propping her up and drying her forehead. They explained to us that she had been assaulted by men who entered their camp at the order of the Mayor of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas.

Last Saturday, a group of five men, some armed with guns, stormed into the camp and threatened the residents. Four of the men were wearing green t-shirts that read “Mairie de Delmas” (The Office of the Mayor of Delmas).

The Mayor’s men told the people that they would soon destroy their tents. They bragged they would mistreat people in a manner worse than “what happened at Carrefour Aero port,” referring to the violent unlawful eviction of a displacement camp at that location by the same mayor and police less than a month ago.

The Mayor’s men pushed their way through the camp, collecting the names and identification numbers of heads of household and marking tents with red spray painted numbers.

When the men pounded on the wooden door of the tarp covered shelter where 25-year-old pregnant Marie lived with her husband, she tried to stop them from entering. Marie tried to explain that her husband was not home. But the leader of the group, JL, violently slammed open the wooden door of her tent into her stomach, causing her to fall hard against the floor on her back.

Three days later, Marie remained in severe pain and bed ridden, worried sick about her baby.

When one of Marie’s neighbors protested JL’s brutality, JL became enraged and threatened to kill him. Onlookers in the camp feared his words, particularly when they noticed a pistol tucked into his belt.
When the government pushed their way into the camp, residents called human rights advocates from Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and asked them to come at once.

Jeena Shah, a BAI attorney, arrived at Camp Django while government agents were still there. Jeena asked JL who had sent his group to Camp Django and why they had marked the tents with numbers. JL was evasive, repeating over and over that “the government” had sent him. Finally he stated that “the National Palace,” a reference to current President Michel Martelly, had sent him. As of the writing of this article, the President had neither confirmed nor denied authorization or participation in the threatened eviction.

Camp Django residents rightfully feared that their camp faced the same fate that so many displaced persons had since the earthquake more than 18 months ago—violent eviction, exacerbation of their already vulnerable situations and homelessness.

Camp Django is but a small example of what is going on in Haiti. The International Organization on Migration estimated that as of April 201, 166,000 homeless earthquake survivors were facing imminent threats of eviction, one fourth of the displaced population. The evictions have been carried out by the government or with the government’s tacit approval despite rulings by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ directing to the Haitian government to place a moratorium on evictions and create adequate measures to protect the displaced population from unlawful forced evictions.

It is still unclear whether the Mayor of Delmas encouraged or condoned these specific acts of violence against the residents of Camp Django, but the Mayor’s stand on forced evictions is well known. After leading a rampage of violent unlawful evictions last month, he recently stated on Haitian television that he will continue forcing displaced communities out of their tent camps, even though they still have nowhere else to go.

President Martelly, who has refused to publicly condemn the violent forced evictions perpetrated by the Mayor of Delmas, is responsible for any threats and harm that befall the community of Camp Django and Haiti’s thousand other displacement camps.

The women sing out for justice. “The rich,” they tell us, “use force against the poor in Haiti.” They demand justice for Marie. And they insist their human right to housing be protected. They are organizing. Their voices are strong. Their passion is pure. Their cause is just. They inspire us to join them.

Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. Contact Bill at

Jocelyn Brooks is an Ella Baker associate at CCR working at Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. You can reach Jocelyn at


(Reporters Without Borders) -

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ernst Joseph and Wolf “Duralph” François, hosts of the programme “They said it” on Radio Prévention in the southwestern town of Petit-Goâve, who have been detained ever since their arrest during an appearance at the public prosecutor’s office on 22 June.

According to Petit-Goâve public prosecutor Alix Civil, they are charged with defamation, disturbing public order and destruction of public property. Officials have confiscated the transmitter and other equipment from the radio station, which is owned by Joseph.

Guyteau Mathieu, the secretary-general of the Les Palmes Regional Media Association, told Reporters Without Borders that Joseph and François went to the prosecutor’s office after getting a summons in response to a complaint by several civil society representatives and local officials, including mayor Justal Ronald, about information and opinions voiced during their programmes.

A group of supporters accompanied the journalists to the prosecutor’s office, while the mayor arrived with his own group of supporters.

Clashes ensued, stones were thrown at the prosecutor’s office and people were injured. The prosecutor ordered the arrest of Joseph and François while they were in his office. Joseph Guyler C. Delva, the secretary-general of SOS Journalistes, said the prosecutor apparently blamed them for the actions of some of their supporters.

A justice of the peace placed a seal over the entrance to Radio Prévention the same day after removing its equipment in a police car. Joseph and François have been transferred to the main police station in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Carrefour.

Contrary to the general trend in the Americas, Haitian legislation still provides for jail sentences in cases of defamation. This violates international media freedom standards and the jurisprudence set by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Aside from the defamation proceedings, the other arbitrary charges against these two journalists constitute an abuse of authority and a form of censorship. As well as their immediate and unconditional release, Reporters Without Borders calls for an impartial investigation and the return of the confiscated equipment.

Three other journalists, Eddy Jackson Alexis, Josias Pierre and Jacques Innocent, are currently facing defamation charges which were brought against them by Télévision Nationale d’Haïti director-general Pradel Henriquez after they were fired in April.


(Defend Haiti) - By Samuel Maxime

PORT-AU-PRINCE - A team of lawyers and politicians have begun to put together the amended Constitution of Haiti in preparation for its publishing into the official journal of the executive, Le Moniteur.

A team of experts from the executive and legislative branches began on Tuesday, what is being described as a careful task of correcting text that was published not in accordance with the minutes of the National Assembly, in accordance with video recordings of the session and to confirm the accuracy of the articles amended, deleted or modified.

The Constitution of 1987 was amended by a vote in the National Assembly on May 8 and 9. The document was published to the official journal, Le Moniteur, by former President Rene Preval.

Political actors and law experts found that the published version was not in accordance with the votes that were passed in the National Assembly on May 8. These findings prompted the President, on June 5, to declare that the text published by the former president on May 13, had to be annulled due to the irregularities.

The Senate has opened a Commission of Inquiry to shed light on the cause of the erroneous text that was published into the state journal. The commission has called to order Parliamentary members who were involved in the commission for the amendments and the former President Rene Preval for questiong, among other people.


(Defend Haiti) - By Samuel Maxime

PORT-AU-PRINCE - President Michel Martelly wants a more noticeable presence of MINUSTAH alongside the Police Nationale d'Haiti to combat banditry.

The President of the Republic, H.E. Michel Joseph Martelly, received Wednesday morning at the National Palace, the new head of MINUSTAH, Chilean, Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, who is replacing Guatemalan diplomat Edmond mullet.

The President urged Fernandez to work for and demonstrate a more noticed presence alongside the PNH, to cope more effectively with banditry in the territory.

Insecurity and dismantling criminal networks would be the task for the UN mission and Martelly demanded that the mission meet frequently with the Haitian National Police.

The President reiterated the sentiment of his predecessor Rene Preval and expressed to Mr Fernandez the necessity of channeling the resources and means of MINUSTAH to the effort of development and reconstruction of the country.

The Chilean diplomat informed the Head of the State of the availability of a Fund for "intensive labor work", which will enable the mission to respond immediately to certain expectations of the President and pledged to assist in the development and reconstruction.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

photos - home rebuilding - part 7

At the midway mark a "centure" (spine) was added which is a rebar frame to reinforce the walls. This steel reinforcement should give the walls more strength through an earthquake.

Once the "centure" was set the rest of the wall was laid.

We planned to do a poured roof. In Haiti's construction practices of the past roofs were cement block laid. A poured roof is stronger.

We walked in the rebar to where Yonel's house is.

Here is the narrow corridor where he lives. Most of his neighbors houses were also destroyed during the earthquake.

photos - home rebuilding - part 8

Once the roof forms were in place we were ready to pour the roof!

The process of pouring a roof in Haiti means a lot of helping hands. First step was to stock up on cement. The Coram Deo cement crew helped at loading the sacs of cement.

Pastor Pierre was the supervisor.

Once we reached Yonel's neighborhood we offloaded the sacs and then wheelbarrowed/carried to the work site.

Jn. Eddy jumped down, ready to work!

photos - home rebuilding - part 9

We arranged with someone who had water to buy gallons of water for mixing the cement.

We hired a few of the young guys in the neighborhood to give them some work for the day.

The last of the rebar was tied in.

One of the guys laid down to show that it was strong enough to support his weight!

Here is the Coram Deo construction crew posing.

photos - home rebuilding - part 10

Here is a roof-top view.

The process of roof pouring is done one bucket at a time. We rented a dozen buckets for the day from the construction rental store.

This worker is carrying the first bucket!

A ladder which reaches to the roof is manned by a few guys and the buckets are raised from the ground to the roof hand to hand.

Once the buckets are emptied of their mortar the bucket was passed through the rope and slid down the rope to the guy on the ground who was holding the other end of the rope.