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Hair Salons, Movie Theaters Open In Haiti Tent Cities

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Tens of thousands of Haitians have been living in tent cities since the January earthquake -- many of them are not even homeless, simply afraid to sleep indoors with the threat of aftershocks.

Since many have nowhere else to go, and aid agencies can only provide tent city residents with "wheat grain and oil," many Haitians are selling their skills or resources to their neighbors.

NPR reports:

The biggest tent city in Port-au-Prince includes a full-service beauty salon.

"It don't matter which condition your life is in, you still have to keep yourself clean and look good," Yolene Samard, the proprietor, says while working on a customer's toenails.

Samard's big square tent is made out of tarps and bedsheets. She and her husband sleep in one half; the other half is the salon. It's clean and bright, with a shelf stacked with beauty supplies and a bench where customers wait.

The hair salons, rice and bean stores, and even a makeshift cell phone charging station and movie theater, provide a brief sense of normalcy for thousands of Haitians whose lives are anything but.

NPR reported this story as part of a partnership with PBS Frontline. A new series on PBS on the struggle in Haiti, "The Quake," premieres on March 30.

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