Saturday, February 04, 2012

A day in the life: no glass houses, just tarps or ciment

When I went for a walk around town this morning, I ventured into one of the slums -- one of the slums where we're doing some great work.

Here is a pic of one of our houses under construction:On the left side of the photo you see an example of what most houses look like in the Makandal slum. Though using a tarpaulin for their roof isn't all that bad. There are also houses that in which both the roof and walls are made of tarps. Some have a footprint as small as 10' x 15', yet have a dozen people living in it!

It's upsetting to say the least. But at least we're making progress. HHF has already made 50 houses in what is probably one of the poorest neighborhoods in the world.

And here are some pix of those finished houses with the family already returned:With their new home, they now focus their limited resources on commerce. The small buckets of charcoal you see are the family business. They'll buy a sack of charcoal for about 200 Haitian gouds, then split it up into these buckets that sell for about 35 Haitian gouds. With the exchange rate at about 40 gouds to 1 dollar, it doesn't take a mathematician to know these people are living in poverty. But again, they now have one of their biggest expenses covered: housing.One thing is for sure around here. You can be certain that no one here will be throwing stones in glass houses. Most people live in houses made of tarps and rusted, corrugated tin... and a few lucky ones -- the poorest of the poor -- are the beneficiaries of some beautiful new cement houses, replete with elevated floors to keep the street garbage from coming in the house during floods.

Tim White

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