Tag Archives: downtown Port-Au-Prince

Definitely not up to code [Photo]

I was feeling nostalgic about Haiti this evening and was looking through the folder on my computer’s hard drive containing all the pictures from my Haiti trip. Believe it or not, it is the first time that I’ve looked at that folder since shortly after I got back to the states mid-June. I made a facebook album with my favorite pictures (162 of them), and have looked at that album about 50 times, but never the original folder. My computer is kind of a black hole…

Anyway, I found a lot of interesting pictures that have different meaning now than they did then. Here’s the one that struck me the most:

This is a picture taken in downtown Port-Au-Prince. You can see the tight clusters of houses clinging to the mountainside which, as my stepmother explained, is “where the poor people live”. Pictures taken in the aftermath of the earthquakes show that this area was pretty destroyed, with tons of pancaked buildings. After I took this picture out the car window while driving through the area, I remember looking at it and thinking, “Crap, too slow. That building is in the way of the full view.” But now that I look at it, the building up front is the most interesting thing about it.

This mid-construction building probably eventually became someone’s home. As you can see, the walls are merely concrete bricks stacked on top of one another in a haphazard manner. If you look at the wall on the right, under the white towel hanging to dry, you can see they’ve started going over it with a gray mixture, probably concrete-based, to fill in the gaps. A building like this would  have been effective in providing shelter from the sun and rain, but it has virtually no structural support. Looking at this, it is not hard to understand why the earthquake damage is so extensive.