Jalousie from afar. Photo: Jim Wilentz


Just so everyone can see the hypocrisy of the Jalousie paint job I wrote about earlier, here’s a picture my brother, a cardiologist who has been working in Haiti, took from the rue Panamericaine  a little more than a month ago.

To the left, the nicely painted, festive, cheerful, postcard-ready slum of Jalousie.

To the right, the continuation of the hillside, Jalousie adjacent slums, as they truly are, without the rouge and mascara.

The perky houses on the left, painted by the municipality of Petionville, a town just up the hill from Port-au-Prince, can be seen from the new Royal Oasis hotel, built with post-earthquake loans from the World Bank and the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.

The honest, unpainted, nonbotoxed true shantytown cannot.

Here’s what Haitian slums often look like when you’re in them:

unicef haiti

Shantytown on the ground. Photo: Alice Smeets


To be clear, the shantytown pictured just  above is not Jalousie, nor is it a hillside bidonville like Jalousie. In the flatlands, water from runoff and rain causes this kind of flooding. But as a hillside slum with no water system to speak of, Jalousie has its own dangerous problems with rainfall, and certainly, while being spruced up with paint, was not seismically retrofitted to withstand another earthquake.

As I’ve said from the beginning of my engagement with Haiti, it’s always wise to use a wide-angle and also to take the long view.

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