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Image of Hell in Haiti – Global Issues

“I spent most of my childhood in the south of the capital, in Cité Plus, from the age of 10, until I got married 16 years later. Back then it was a peaceful neighborhood, but it has been turned into a lawless zone, a hellish zone.

We didn’t grow up rich, but always had enough to eat, and my parents (my father was an electrical engineer and my mother was a shop owner) made enough money to send me and my three siblings to a private school. I went on to study philosophy at the University of Haiti, as well as law and economics.

Then I learned to be a multimedia journalist and joined UNDP in 2014, initially as a volunteer and two years later as an employee.

A crowded sidewalk with many items for sale in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

© UNDP Haiti

A crowded sidewalk with many items for sale in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

Constant insecurity

The positive side of working at UNDP is the fact that we get to meet principled, resilient people who believe in a better future with a strong community spirit who work hard only, in the absence of basic public services.

And, in our office, I work with extraordinary colleagues who remain professional and productive, despite the many crises affecting their personal and work lives.

However, we all work with a nagging sense of insecurity and fear that people will find out where we work.

Many people believe that all UN staff are rich, and this breeds jealousy and even hatred among those who do not have the opportunity, in a country with a very high unemployment rate. high.

With the alarming increase in the number of kidnappings we have seen recently, this feeling of insecurity is increasing.

A life-threatening commute to work

I know that, as an employee of an international organization in Port-au-Prince, I will only be able to live in certain neighborhoods and will have to be careful with who I tell about. my job.

During the past year, as the security situation worsened, I also had to be careful which way to get to work. This is the case with me and other colleagues who live in areas like Carrefour, Mariani, Merger, Gressier or Léogâne.

My wife and I are obliged to stay with family in Port-au-Prince for the week, even though we have built a family home in Gressier. Our two children are going to school there, and we can only hope to see them over the weekend, if we can make the journey.

Otherwise, we can only communicate by phone, as if we were living in another country.

Traveling is too dangerous. Authorities have lost control of the Martissant-Fontamara road, and Gangsters are looting the population, raping women and shooting at passengers on buses or cars.

A young woman sells souvenirs on a wall in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

© UNDP Haiti

A young woman sells souvenirs on a wall in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

Horror on the road

Traveling by road means you will drive over dead bodies, left on the side of the road to be eaten by dogs. I suspect that those killed in Martissant are even included in the official death toll statistics.

Things are really different before. During my childhood, Cité Plus was like many other neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince. There are many poor families, single mothers and children whose parents cannot afford to feed them or send them to school, but crime is less.

Today in Haiti, ideas like freedom of choice, freedom of movement, and security are becoming increasingly out of touch with reality.

‘I feel as if I’m in a country that’s slowly dying’

A man walks in Delmas, Port au Prince, Haiti.

© UNDP

A man walks in Delmas, Port au Prince, Haiti.

The future of Haiti is very uncertain. We are living in a state of failure. I don’t feel that we have leaders in positions of authority to restore order.

It was a situation of complete terror. I felt as if I was in a country that was slowly dying.

No matter what happens, I will fight to survive, no matter what. But to survive, you need to survive, and I worry that insecurity is getting closer and closer to me.

Many of my acquaintances have been victims of violence and kidnapping, directly or indirectly. I fear that my wife and children are targets for criminals.

Given the current situation, many people have already left the country, and many more are contemplating leaving. Even the intelligentsia, who have a decent quality of life, are migrating.

I want to stay in a Haiti that has organizations that work for its citizens, without any discrimination, where inequality is reduced and every citizen has access to basic services .

I don’t think Haiti is necessarily dead. We can find a way out of this mess, as long as there is a collective awakening, and a large number of decisions get us back on track. But this will require a lot of sacrifice and a willingness to act for the collective good.

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