iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Jeroen Swolfs

GET UPDATES FROM Jeroen Swolfs
 

A Homecoming And A New Friend In Haiti (VIDEO)

Posted: 05/11/2012 7:00 am

It was clear from the start that Haiti wasn't going to be an easy country to visit. And that was even before the devastating 2010 earthquake.

It wouldn't be a very smart idea to walk the downtown streets of Port au Prince alone with a big camera and white skin. The town is full of squatters. This is why I contacted the Dutch Red Cross Red Crescent. I told them about my photography and offered to photograph their projects in return for some help taking pictures in Port au Prince. They liked the idea very much. So I went to Haiti to see what there was to see.

I saw a lot.

I arrived just before Carnival. I thought that my timing was a good idea because I want to show positivity, but it turned out that Carnival was just about the most dangerous time to go downtown. I had to postpone taking the photo and photograph the water sanitation, cholera and HIV projects. I assumed I'd have better luck next time.

When I returned in April, things had quieted down. I started driving around with the RCRC driver, Jean Baptiste.

Jean Baptiste didn't want to hang around in one place to long, but we found an interesting street corner where a family was frying chicken -- or something -- in front of their small hut. They had been living in it since the quake, frying their chicken and waiting for the return to a real house and the normal life they used to know.

After talking for a while and being offered some of the chicken, which I shouldn't have taken, we became friendly and I was allowed to take photos.

The next day I asked Madame Poelle, as I learned to call my subject, if I could also make a short film about her and her family. It turned out that this was the last day they would be frying chicken in there shack. The next day, after two years, they were finally moving into a more permanent home.

 

Follow Jeroen Swolfs on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeroenswolfs

FOLLOW TRAVEL