This Ungoverned Haitian City Is Fighting to Stay Alive

OZY.com

Mona Augustin stands on land near the Village Grace de Dieu in Canaan, Haiti, with some of the 126 families who have been together since they met in a tent camp called Mozayik after the 2010 quake. After being evicted from Mozayik in 2012, they bought title to this property. The group was later forced to move from the land by armed men who claim their own title to that land. / Allison Shelley

A short drive north from Haiti’s overcrowded capital of Port-au-Prince, a metropolis is rising from a previously desolate landscape. Some 250,000 people have flocked to Canaan in the eight years since an earthquake ravaged Haiti, destroying 100,000 homes. Born out of a disaster, it’s a city without a government, and for many, it’s an experiment in self-determination. But its future is increasingly uncertain.

Built from scratch by people in poorly governed, disaster-stricken Haiti, the city is emerging as an alternative model of urban existence — and its struggle is holding out lessons for similar future pockets that spring up in the aftermath of disasters.

Read the feature story and see photography by Allison Shelley at OZY. Reporting for this story was made possible by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

50 years a tourist in Haiti

Vocativ

Vocativ

One Wisconsin couple have been vacationing in troubled Haiti for 50 years, and they reckon it’s high time you made the trip

January marks the 5th anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. The country’s leaders are trying to move the nation past the “recovery” phase and into the future as a middle-income nation that attracts tourists and their money. Across the border in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, tourism is the No. 1 driver of GDP, and Haiti wants a piece of the action.

Beset by a string of misfortunes and natural disasters, Haiti isn’t many people’s idea of a fun Caribbean getaway. But one Wisconsin couple have been vacationing there for half a century, through all the troubles, and they just can’t figure out why they’re a rarity.

Read the full story at Vocativ.

Hurricane Tomas floods quake-shattered Haiti town

Associated Press

A man walks in a flooded street during the passing of Hurricane Tomas in Leogane, Haiti, Friday Nov. 5, 2010. (AP / Ramon Espinosa)

LEOGANE, Haiti – Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country’s capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.

Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of Port-au-Prince that was near the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and was 90 percent destroyed. Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp carried their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read “Welcome to Leogane.”

“We got flooded out and we’re just waiting for the storm to pass. There’s nothing we can do,” said Johnny Joseph, a 20-year-old resident.

The growing hurricane with 75 mph (120 kph) winds battered the western tip of Haiti’s southern peninsula and the cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes.

At least three people died trying to cross swollen rivers, Haiti civil protection officials said. The hurricane had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean.

Click HERE to read the full Associated Press article as it appeared at the Boston Globe.

Johnbern Thomas: Jazz in Exile

JazzTimes Magazine
Haitian drummer, displaced by the earthquake, makes his way across the border

Caribbean jazz drummer Johnbern Thomas remembers the dates that changed his career much like any other musician. He remembers the Sunday in 1999 when, at the age of eight, the pastor of his church pulled him aside to say “God has a project for you,” asking him to play in what would be his first ever public performance. He remembers January 28th, 2010—the day he left the only home he’d ever known to try and earn a living in a country where he didn’t even speak the language.

And he remembers how, two weeks earlier, on January 12, he was concentrating so hard practicing riffs from a West African Roots book by Royal Hartigan that he didn’t notice the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that would postpone his dreams of becoming a jazz star in Haiti.

Listen to clips of Thomas performing and demonstrating an African-based rhythm he incorporates into his jazz music:

Click HERE to read the full article as it appeared at JazzTimes.

Jazz in Post-Earthquake Haiti: (Re)building a Musical Culture

JazzTimes Magazine

On a rainy Sunday night in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, jazz instructor Claude Carre sits down with his guitar on a small stage alongside two of his students, playing drums and bass. The audience of 15 or so wealthy Haitians and foreigners at Café des Artes don’t seem to notice when the house music gives way to the sounds of Carre and his trio playing a soft acoustic number.

Ever since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti last January —leaving some 230,000 people dead and displacing 1.3 million more to tent cities—Haiti’s musicians have struggled harder than ever to find audiences. In addition to the immediate human suffering, the earthquake also put a long-term dent Haiti’s fine arts culture, including its delicate jazz scene.

“I don’t know if after that, the jazz scene is going to expire,” Carre said.

Check out the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival

Click HERE to read the full article as it appeared at Jazz Times.